SME reorganisations, restructuring and rationalisation

Mark Serby, director and head of employment law at Wake Smith looks at the scope of work covered by the team and what is taking priority for its portfolio of clients.

“Practical and effective advice on employment law and HR best practice is key for any business.

“Our aim is to guide our clients through the processes and the emotional difficulties involved in an employment dispute, without making things unnecessarily complicated.

“The core of Wake Smith's employment practice still remains the SME market in Sheffield and South Yorkshire Region. However, we continue to enhance our reputation and offering by acting for high net worth employees. Work has included representation on settlement agreements attracting a notable amount of individual claimant clients with some interesting discrimination and/or whistle blowing cases.

“The sectors range from health, education, not for profit, manufacturing, technology and engineering and we continue to receive instructions and referrals from local solicitors, some of whom outsource their HR and employment issues to the team.

“A particular feature of the last 12 months has been the number of SME reorganisations and restructuring we have dealt with, which includes not only redundancy support, but general advice on changing terms and conditions.

“The local sector continues to require support on restructuring and rationalisation.

“Disputes over the enforceability of restrictive covenants, whether acting for employer or employee, has also been on the increase.

“Both myself and fellow director Holly Dobson have advised on a large number of Settlement Agreements with a marked increase in Settlement Agreements for Directors and Shareholder Directors involving significant settlement sums.

“Holly has also dealt with a number of highly paid public executives including those with statutory responsibilities who have been negotiating terminations of their employment.  Her work also sees her regularly deal with advising employees of the NHS and other public sector executives involved in disciplinary processes often involving her appearing for employees where appropriate at internal or regulatory hearings.

“Additionally Holly has acted for a number of employee executives regarding negotiated exit packages. Some of these have involved disputed share rights dealing in conjunction with John Baddeley in our Commercial team.

“Our joined up working means we assist the corporate team here with corporate employment support including employment related advice and TUPE advice on mergers and acquisitions.

“Aside from this, our regulatory practice continues to develop. We have handled several cases involving the Health and Safety Executive and have been involved with representations to the Financial Ombudsman’s Service, the Solicitor’s Regulation Authority, for the Diocese of Sheffield and acted on a health care sector regulatory matter.

“To date the team continues to act in tribunals for individual claimants including acting with the approval of legal expenses insurers, as well as for respondents.

“Promoting our expertise has been key with the team displaying considerable skills in training, seminars and conferences and this continues into 2018.  Recent conferences have included social media, data protection and preparing for the General Data Protection Regulation.  Loyal followers of the employment law team’s training sessions go beyond the Wake Smith client base and include many HR and MDs.

“The team continues to receive instructions from a number of regional and national clients and has numerous long standing and loyal clients.”

The team actively sends out regular employment law updates and HR event invitations to clients containing opinion, comment, know how and contributes to the firm’s newsletter as well as to other professional publications. To receive this information please sign up via our online form here.


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