Helen specialises in employment law. She can offer support on all aspects of contentious and non-contentious employment law matters including employment tribunal claims.
She acts for employers and employees bringing with her a wide range of experience in both contentious matters (such as Tribunal claims) and non-contentious employment matters including ad hoc employment queries, corporate support and employment insolvency issues.
The focus of Helen’s approach is on offering prompt, pragmatic and commercial advice in clear language and free of legal jargon. She recognises that understanding clients’ business or individual objectives is a key part of this process.
Helen's clients include multinational companies in a wide range of sectors, financial institutions, SMEs, family-run businesses, educational institutions, charities and senior executives.
Recommendations in the Legal Directories:
Helen has been recommended in The Legal 500 Directory for several years and in the Chambers & Partners Directory, described by clients as being “quick and responsive” having “excellent client care” and as adopting “a highly commercial outlook.
Recommendations from clients:
Helen is detail-orientated and produces outstanding results. I would have no doubt in recommending Helen to represent anyone
We work with Helen on a variety of Employment Law areas and have found her to be calm, thorough and completely professional.
Helen wrote new Terms and Conditions of Employment for us as well as a new Staff Handbook, Contracts of Employment for various roles and at different levels. We found the work was much easier with Helen on board as she made everything so easy to understand so that I could easily run through any changes with our staff and I could supply them with really comprehensive contracts and Staff Handbook. It helped us demonstrate our commitment to running a professional organisation and that we want to communicate properly with our staff from day one.
Helen has given us legal advice as well as examples of how to approach difficult staff situations. We found her to be fair in all instances offering a balanced view from both employer and employee points of view. Her advice is always very professional and this gives me confidence to deal with employee performance issues without worrying that I will get things wrong and end up in a tribunal.
I also find that Helen is much more flexible and easy to work with than solicitors I have worked with in the past as she will give me a reasonable timeframe and gets on with the work, delivering what has been agreed within the timeframe. It is a much more commercial approach with an appreciation of how fast decisions need to be made in businesses. Working with Helen has felt like having our own in house employment law solicitor.
Helen qualified in 1999. She joined Setfords in 2011 having previously been Partner and Head of the Employment Team at a Thames Valley law firm for over 3 years. Helen trained in the City and spent 6 years there post-qualification working at leading employment law firms.
Examples of Helen’s experience:
- Advising many senior executives and employees facing performance management, redundancy and conduct issues at work, including advice regarding settlement agreements
- Advising and representing a well-known national charity in relation to a disability discrimination claim and issues surrounding disciplinary matters and grievances raised by employees
- Advising a PLC regarding international employment and secondment arrangements and drafting employment contracts and secondment agreements relating to these matters
- Advising an educational institution regarding numerous grievance and disciplinary situations
- Advising a multinational communications company throughout a wide-ranging redundancy and TUPE exercise affecting employees in several countries including comprehensive written and telephone advice, drafting the legal documents and correspondence to employees affected
- Advising a foreign bank in the UK regarding a merger and collective redundancy and TUPE issues arising from the merger
- Advising and successfully defending a global IT company in relation to a claim of sex discrimination arising out of his gender reassignment
- Advising an accountancy practice on the employment law aspects of its acquisition of another practice and in relation to issues under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employees) Regulations 2006 (TUPE). Advising them further regarding enforcing restrictive covenants arising on an employee leaving the practice and setting up her own business
- Drafting and negotiating settlement agreements for an international development company
- Advising an IT company regarding the employment law issues surrounding international fraud committed by an employee director shareholder including in relation to the disciplinary and appeal processes and regarding a grievance brought by the director
- Advising a procurement joint venture regarding a large-scale redundancy exercise with TUPE implications including drafting advisory briefing notes, relevant Board minutes, scripts for the collective and individual redundancy consultation meetings and correspondence to send to employees regarding the redundancies
- Advising employers and employees regarding the enforceability of restrictive covenants and practical and tactical issues surrounding their enforcement
- Drafting, reviewing and amending directors’ service agreements, contracts of employment and policies and procedures in Staff Handbooks
- Advising a construction company regarding disciplinary proceedings against an employee in relation to unauthorised absence and misconduct in the office, drafting correspondence to send to the employee and also advising them regarding management of a long term sick employee and potential disability discrimination issues
- Advising and settling a Tribunal claim for a construction company regarding unfair dismissal and holiday pay
- Advising a medical professional regarding her potential claims for whistleblowing and unfair dismissal after she made protected disclosures in her resignation letter and was suspended
- Advising and representing a senior scientist in relation to her claims for constructive unfair dismissal and maternity discrimination after she was overlooked for promotion during her maternity leave and her grievance was mishandled
- Successfully defending a computer data storage company in relation to a sex discrimination claim by a transgender employee
Delivering bespoke training sessions for clients on topics such as the ACAS Code and dealing with sickness absence is another service Helen is happy to offer. Helen has also spoken at seminars on various employment law issues and written various articles for professional publications. Away from work, Helen enjoys yoga and meditation travelling to beautiful, remote destinations and reading about Eastern philosophies.