Various stories have hit the headlines recently of law firms holding departing partners to lengthy notice and garden leave periods. While this may have advantages from a cashflow perspective (as it enables firms to hold on to partners’ capital contributions for longer), it is rarely advisable from an HR, morale or partnership law perspective.

This article suggests a practical way forward for firms faced with partner departures. It also offers tips for recruiting firms on how to avoid disputes with new partners’ former firms.

Before 31 January 2014, when changes to TUPE came into effect, a dismissal was automatically unfair if the sole or principle reason for it was the TUPE transfer itself.  If the reason for the dismissal was not the transfer itself but was connected to the transfer then it was automatically unfair unless it was due to an economic, technical or organisational reason entailing changes in the workforce (known as an ETO).

The Court of Appeal has recently given guidance as to the level of ‘injury to feelings’ award which should be made to Claimants bringing discrimination claims. In Kemeh v Ministry of Defence, the Court of Appeal applied the so-called “Vento guidelines” which were set out in the case of Vento v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police, and which have been subject to inflationary increases as set out in Da-Bell v NSPCC.

Employment Tribunal fees were introduced in the UK on 29 July 2013. The new fees mean that the cost of pursuing a single claim in the Employment Tribunal can be up to £1,200, depending on the category of the claim that is being brought.

UNISON recently applied for a Judicial Review to challenge the lawfulness of the new Employment Tribunal fees. UNISON argued, amongst other things, that the introduction of fees makes it excessively difficult for individuals to exercise their EU employment rights and that the fees are discriminatory, because they have a disproportionately adverse impact on protected groups, such as women.

Rowstock Limited v Jessemey

The Court of Appeal has recently clarified the position in relation to an employer’s liability for victimisation of an employee after he/she has left his/her employment. This most usually occurs when a poor or no reference is given for employees who have brought discrimination claims.

For many years it was well understood that employees were entitled to bring victimisation claims in such circumstances, but the Equality Act 2010 (specifically Section 108(1) and 108(7)) brought about considerable confusion. The language is impenetrable and many thought, just wrong. Fortunately, the Court of Appeal has agreed.