Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Tribunal washes its hands of case

A Telford solicitor has welcomed a tribunal ruling that upheld a decision to sack a baker for failing to wash his hands.

John Mehtam is the employment law specialist at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Euston Way, and he said the experienced baker should have known better.

“The case involved well-known bakers Greggs who sacked the employee after he failed to wash his hands before returning to a food production area. He had claimed that their actions were too harsh, but the tribunal threw the case out, saying he could not now be trusted to follow hand-washing rules and so he posed an unacceptable risk to the company’s customers and reputation.”

The baker admitted he was aware how important it was to wash his hands, and confirmed that staff training and the company handbook had made it very clear.

“For Greggs, it was obvious that taking a zero-tolerance approach was a reasonable and sound decision because in their industry an outbreak of illness traced back to them could have serious consequences for their reputation and success as a business.

“And given that the baker had 11 years’ service in the job – and experience in the food industry of over 25 years – he really should have known better.”

Mr Mehtam said the tribunal’s decision reinforced the need for companies to have clear and robust procedures in place, as well as the importance of ensuring all staff understood their responsibilities.

“In this case, it was the company’s hygiene rules that were broken, but similar circumstances would arise if it was a breach of a company’s health and safety procedures too.

“Workplace legislation is constantly changing, and it’s vital that employers ensure their policies and procedures are up-to-date. This is easier said than done though, given the pace of change, and the time pressures business owners face, so taking professional advice can be crucial.

“Our experts have a wealth of experience in this area and we can review a company’s existing systems and practices, and help draw up a plan moving forward that will ensure both staff and your company’s reputation are protected.”

Friday, 16 September 2016

Employers pick up legal tips

A Telford law firm has been praised for its informative and topical approach to delivering employment law advice to local companies.

The experts from Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford held their latest Top 10 Employment Blunders seminar at their offices in Euston Way, welcoming more than 20 employers.

Hosted by the company’s Employment Law specialist, John
Mehtam, the event was open to employers from a wide range of businesses, and the response has been extremely positive.

John shared his advice for employers about how to tackle some of the most common workplace and HR issues and, more importantly, how to avoid them and protect your business.

“We were very pleased with the response from our delegates who were full of praise for the way we delivered the presentation, and for the knowledge and expertise that we shared. At Martin-Kaye, we’re committed to delivering effective and appropriate advice that really does make a difference to local employers, and our short sharp lunchtime seminars are designed to get right to the point.

“We set the record straight and help employers to learn from the mistakes others have made, helping them to tackle employment law issues in the right way and helping them to understand how to avoid falling into the most common traps.”

John said keeping up-to-date with ever-changing legislation was practically impossible for employers who were already battling with a packed schedule.

“That’s why our seminars are proving so popular as we deliver clear, concise information in a time frame that suits our delegates.”

The seminar covered a variety of tricky areas including sickness absence, dismissals and poor employee performance.

The Martin-Kaye Employment Law team are now planning future seminars including joint events with other professional services companies across the Midlands.

Pic: At the latest Martin-Kaye Solicitors event are, from left, Jason Round, Amrik Chote and Kay Gill (from Monaco Insurance Services Ltd), Cllr Mak Singh, and Rakesh Saini

Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Pregnant women need a fair deal

Pregnant women and new mothers are getting an increasingly rough deal in the workplace, a Shropshire solicitor has warned.

John Mehtam leads the employment law team at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Telford, and he said shocking statistics showed complaints of discrimination against pregnant women had soared in the last decade.

“Figures revealed by the Commons Women and Equalities Committee suggest that more than one in ten pregnant women and new mothers were either dismissed, singled out for compulsory redundancy or left their job because of poor treatment in the workplace.

“The research showed that the number of women forced to leave their job because of pregnancy discrimination or concerns about the safety of their child had doubled over the past ten years to 54,000.

“This is just not acceptable and it’s clear that steps need to be taken to offer more protection to women who find themselves in this situation,” said John.

He welcomed the news that the Committee had proposed a new system that would ban employers from making new mothers redundant unless there were exceptional circumstances.

“The Committee also said the Government’s current approach to tackling pregnancy discrimination lacked ‘urgency and bite’, and they will be unveiling a new plan to improve working rights within the next two years.

“This is excellent news because there are record numbers of women in work across the UK and if the Government fails to address the discrimination issue now, the economy could suffer.”

John also praised the Committee’s recommendations to extend the right to paid time off to attend antenatal appointments to casual, agency and zero-hours workers, and to double the time limit on launching a pregnancy or maternity discrimination case from three to six months.

“Pregnant women and new mothers should not have to deal with the threat of having to choose between their job or their child, and a strong focused approach to handling these issues will go a long way towards easing their worries.”

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Employers - the buck stops with you

Employers who bring in a recruitment agency to fill a key vacancy have been warned they could face tough financial penalties if things don’t work out.

Gemma Workman is an employment lawyer at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Telford, and she said an employment tribunal ruling had brought home the extent of an employer’s responsibilities towards candidates.

“The tribunal ruled that an employer must pay out damages to a candidate after the company withdrew a job offer made by a recruitment agency acting on their behalf.

“And so they had no choice but to pay out £3,000, as the candidate had verbally accepted a job offer made by the agency.”

Gemma said the tribunal decided that given the seniority of post the claimant had been offered, it was only reasonable that he should receive the equivalent of one month’s salary.

“This is because any written contract at that level in the organisation would have a minimum reasonable period of one month’s notice. But as the employer terminated the contract without notice by withdrawing the job offer, the candidate was entitled to damages equal to a month’s salary in lieu of notice.”

Gemma said the employer had appointed the recruitment agency to identify suitable candidates for vacancies as maintenance engineers, and although there was a dispute as to exactly what was said, the tribunal accepted the man’s claim that he was offered, and accepted, a post.

“The employer though denied a job offer had been made, and the candidate brought a claim for damages for breach of contract which the tribunal upheld – ruling that the employer should pay one month’s salary of £2,708 plus tribunal fees of £390.

“Employment law is a minefield that’s changing all the time, and business owners need to be sure of their responsibilities. Even though the company felt they were handing responsibility over to the recruitment agency, ultimately the company themselves were responsible for the process of taking on new staff.

“It’s clear that there was some dispute over what was said and what offer was made, but employers need to take professional advice to ensure they don’t get caught out in the future.”

Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Multi-million pound deals for Telford firm

Property lawyers at a Telford firm are celebrating after completing deals worth over £150 million since the start of the current financial year in April.

The conveyancing team at Martin-Kaye LLP Solicitors, in Euston Way, have been inundated with new business and handled 600 completions in the last few weeks alone.

Lead Partner Mrs Nita Patel said the team had beaten all their previous record figures and it had been a remarkable period of business for the firm.

“We’ve had amazing years before when it comes to valuable transactions but the last few weeks really have absolutely eclipsed anything we’ve achieved previously.”

Nita said the team had performed so well thanks to their dedication and commitment, but also thanks to the way they had maximised the use of the very latest technology.

“Technology enables us to deliver speedy transactions, and we’re always working hard to meet and exceed the expectations of our clients. But the key to our success is not just the quality and speed of service we deliver – it’s thanks to the personality of our team members who consistently receive high ratings for their customer service skills.

“We never lose sight of the fact that we are dealing with people and that for many, buying or selling a house is one of the most important transactions they will conduct in their lives. Our team’s ability to lighten the mood where we can, combined with a calm and organised approach, ensures our clients are reassured at every stage in the process.

“And the hard work we have put in has paid off with clients now stretched far and wide across the UK – we are also seeing an increasing number of national brokers who regularly recommend our firm to their clients too.”

Pic: Celebrating their success – the conveyancing team from Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford

Wednesday, 17 August 2016

Commercial team expands in Telford

Commercial law experts at a Midlands legal practice have welcomed a new face to their rapidly expanding team.

Jagdeep Kandola is the latest lawyer to be appointed at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Telford, and she will join the firm’s commercial property service.

Eliot Hibbert, who is the head of the Corporate Commercial department, said Jagdeep’s appointment was excellent news for the firm. “It’s great to welcome Jagdeep to our growing team, and her experience will be an invaluable asset in handling commercial property matters for existing and prospective new clients.”

Jagdeep was born and raised in the West Midlands and after graduating she completed a Masters in Commercial Law in Birmingham. She has worked in a High Street practice for several years dealing with residential and commercial property, and landlord and tenant issues, before gaining more commercial law experience at law firms outside the region.

“I’m very pleased to have joined the Martin-Kaye team as they’re a legal firm with a great reputation, and I’m looking forward to building on the extremely strong relationships they have with their diverse range of clients,” said Jagdeep. “It’s a fantastic opportunity to return to the Midlands and work with a team who are real experts in their field.”

Jagdeep will advise both sellers and purchasers on all kinds of issues from the property aspects of large corporate restructuring deals to the sale and purchase of small business premises. She will also advise on financing and re-financing, environmental considerations, auction sales, licensing, and the formation and transfer of management companies, as well as acting for both landlords and tenants in leasehold cases.

Pic: Jagdeep Kandola is the latest recruit to join the Martin-Kaye Solicitors Commercial Department

Friday, 12 August 2016

Tori takes the first step

A trainee solicitor has a firm foot on the career ladder after being awarded a contract by a Telford law firm.

Tori Shepherd initially joined Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford as a Legal Assistant in the firm’s employment law team.

Now she has begun her training contract with a six-month placement in the residential property department, which will be followed by six months with the corporate/commercial team and a further six months in the family division.

Tori said: “I’m really enjoying my role in residential property and I’ve already completed a number of files, with many more to follow. The training contract is an excellent opportunity to learn about the wider aspects of Martin-Kaye as a business, and to experience working in different departments with knowledgeable and experienced teams.

“I’m keeping my options open at the moment as I haven’t yet decided which area of law I would like to specialise in, so to work with several teams across the Practice will help me narrow down the areas of law that I enjoy the most.”

Senior Partner Graham Davies said: “Victoria has made a real impact since she joined our firm and we’re delighted to be able to offer her the opportunity to complete her training as a solicitor with us.

“The aim of the training contract is to enable her to learn more about the diverse areas of law that we cover, and to learn from our specialist lawyers who all have many years of experience in their chosen sectors.”

Pic: Tori Shepherd has been awarded a training contract at Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford