Employment Client Stories

BHP Law take a fresh approach to each of our matters but hold true to traditional values. If you have employment issues that require our support, please contact a member of our team. on the details below.

Hudson Catering Limited story

BHP Law successful in TUPE case

Anthony Willis, Solicitor in our Employment Law team, successfully acted for a local business with an employment tribunal claim regarding the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE).

Background

In 2013 our client, Hudson Catering Limited (Hudson), an independent contract catering company, entered into an agreement with the North East Ambulance Service NHS Foundation Trust (NEAS), to provide catering and hospitality services  at Bernicia House in Newcastle. In doing so, it acquired two existing staff arising from TUPE (the Claimants), who had worked at the site for the predecessor employers.   

Following several changes in 2019 to the catering arrangements, Hudson decided to give three months’ notice to NEAS in November 2019 and withdraw from the site. Throughout December 2019 and January 2020, the parties exchanged numerous emails discussing whether NEAS would continue with the services and consequently whether TUPE would apply, i.e. that the incoming service provider would inherit liability for the Claimants employment.

It was NEAS’ position that TUPE did not apply – a contention that Hudson rejected. Unable to obtain the identity of, or information about, the successor organisation, Hudson advised the Claimants that they should seek independent legal advice, and contact NEAS and the replacement caterer and assert their continued employment.

Hudson vacated the Bernicia House site on 7th February 2020, and, days later, a new catering company, Nu to Go Limited (Nu), commenced trading from the NEAS headquarters on 17th February 2020. 

Nu refused to accept that the Claimants had transferred into its employment. Instead they alleged no knowledge of, or responsibility for, the Claimants; and later, that they had been dismissed by Hudson. 

Left without employment the Claimants lodged separate Employment Tribunal claims against Hudson and Nu in May 2020 citing:

  • Unfair dismissal
  • Redundancy pay
  • Holiday pay
  • Notice pay

Outcome

We are delighted to confirm that, following a public preliminary hearing in April 2021, wherein Anthony conducted his own advocacy, the Employment Tribunal Judge agreed that there had been relevant transfer (both a transfer of an undertaking, business or part of an undertaking or business; and a service provision change) under regulation 3 of TUPE.

The Tribunal agreed with Anthony that, despite certain differences, the Claimants had been a stable economic entity that transferred to Nu and retained its identity.

Read more about this case here.

BHP Law secure a high exit payment

Alexander Millward, Associate (Legal Executive), in the employment team found himself acting for a repeat client that he had assisted several years ago. Our client held a senior position within the company but had been offered, rather abruptly, a settlement agreement for him to exit.

The client supplied Alex with the settlement agreement which offered a paltry sum for him to sign away all his rights and exit the business. 

As the matter involved shares, Alex reached out to Dermot Winters, Partner, in our commercial department who assisted with these matters. Together, Alex, Dermot and the client put together an alternative proposal and sent it to the company.

The company and the team here at BHP engaged in constructive negotiations which resulted in our client obtaining an increase to his settlement agreement of circa £56,900, which equated to circa 117% of his original offer. The final offer, therefore, was over twice as much as the original offer made to our client.

As part of the negotiations, the team secured an increase to the legal fee contribution meaning our client incurred minimal costs of less than £500 plus VAT. 

 

BHP Law acheive a favourable outcome

We were instructed by a non-executive Director of a local business. Our client was invited to a meeting where, without prior warning, he was informed that the business wanted him to leave via settlement agreement.  Whilst our client considered his options, the business:-

  • Informed his reporting line that he was no longer with the business who went on to inform clients, suppliers and customers
  • Revised the organisational chart, without our client
  • Removed his access to the businesses’ servers.

Dissatisfied with the manner in which he was unceremoniously removed from the business, our client reached out for advice and guidance.

Utilising the facts of the case, we worked closely with our client to negotiate directly with the business and achieve a favourable outcome for our client which resulted in almost quadrupling the ex-gratia payment and a total package of six figures.

Defending a client through disciplinary action

Our client’s employer had utilised a very aggressive disciplinary investigation against them on a number of grounds with the primary aim of increasing the severity of the allegations and ensuring their dismissal.

Our client suspected foul play and supplied us with the documentation behind the investigation.  Working together, we were able to put together a robust defence and grievance against the investigation manager and the organisation’s HR team for failing to comply with their own disciplinary policy. 

Whilst the signs pointing towards favourable outcomes for our client in relation to the disciplinary and the grievance, our client decided that they no longer wished to work for the organisation we therefore assisted in a timely and prompt settlement agreement, allowing the parties to part company. 

Our client therefore avoided what was likely to be a summary dismissal for gross misconduct and instead left the organisation with a secured reference and some money in their pocket.

If you would like to have a chat about your options or how we may be able to help you please contact a member of the team,  contact us directly at your local office.

Your Employment Law Specialists

Anthony Willis

Solicitor

Anthony worked at Browell Smith & Co Solicitors and qualified and worked at Thompsons Solicitors between 2003 and 2016. He joined BHP Law’s Employment…