Friday, 29 September 2006

"Digging for Gold" Warning

Financial advisers from across Shropshire are set to learn more about how to protect their clients from crippling divorce settlements.

Nadia Davis, who leads the Family Team at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, is hosting a seminar at the company’s headquarters at The Foundry, in Euston Way, Telford, on October 26.

“This year has seen some high profile divorce settlements running into millions of pounds, and professional people need to be aware of what kind of impact divorce can have on their business,” said Nadia.

“The landmark cases have changed the way settlements are dealt with, and this has led to the phrase ‘digging for gold’, or ‘greedy wife syndrome’.

“We have decided to invite representatives from the accounting, banking and financial services sectors to our seminar, and share our knowledge to help them learn more about the consequences divorce can have on a person’s finances

“By providing them with key information on this ever-changing subject, we hope it will put the financial specialists at a distinct advantage when they are dealing with clients who are dealing with the fall-out following the breakdown of a relationship.

“Our Family Team have been advising people and guiding them through complex divorce and relationship problems for many years, and in particular, wealthy individuals and business people.

“The Law in this area is very complex and sometimes unpredictable, and the two landmark decisions this year have made legal history, moving the goalposts yet again.

“Our seminar will explain how assets can be legitimately protected, and we will also be sharing information which we are sure will be of benefit to clients in the future.”

Bullying must be stopped

Shropshire employers must protect their staff from bullying in the workplace or face substantial compensation claims.

The warning comes from John Mehtam, Employment Law Specialist at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Telford.

“There have been several high profile cases lately where employers were found to be guilty of failing to protect staff from ongoing bullying, and the employees involved have received large amounts of compensation.

“It’s important that employers are on their guard for any signs of bullying in the workplace, as cases like this raise the profile of the issue, and it’s likely that there will be an increase in the number of claims against company bosses.”

John said under The Protection from Harassment Act 1997, employees also now had more time to launch a case.

“Under discrimination laws, employees have to bring a claim within three months of leaving their job, and for many people this is just too soon and they feel unable to take action because they are mentally and emotionally drained.

“But under the 1997 Act, employees have up to six years to bring a claim, and so employers may find that an incident they thought had been forgotten rears its ugly head in the future.”

John said employers should take steps within the workplace to try to avoid such incidents occurring in the first place.

“Try to create a working environment where it’s clear to everyone that bullying is not tolerated, and train your management staff to make sure they realise such behaviour is just unacceptable.

“If your workforce are constantly at odds with each other, and working in a difficult environment where they don’t feel comfortable, your business will soon start to suffer.
“Tackle bullying before it starts, and you should be able to protect your staff and your company, and ensure your business remains competitive and successful at the same time.”

Friday, 22 September 2006

Overtime ban for Shropshire workers

Shropshire employees will now be banned from choosing how much overtime they want to work, according to a European Union ruling.

John Mehtam, Employment Law Specialist at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Telford, said the guidelines had been issued by the European Court of Justice.

“The Department of Trade and Industry tried to give British employees the freedom to choose their hours of work, while still respecting the EU’s working time directive.

“But this decision means thousands of workers will no longer have the option to work more than 13 hours in a day, or work through all seven days of the week.”

Currently, the employment rules in Britain state that employers must make sure workers can take their rest, but they are not required to make sure they do.

“The court ruling said the British guidelines were incompatible with the European rules, as rest periods were considered essential to protect workers’ health and safety.

“So now, British employers must ensure workers take at least 11 hours of consecutive rest in any 24 hours, and no less than 24 hours’ consecutive rest in any seven days.”

John said several categories of employee were exempt from rules, including most managers and executives, emergency services, and workers in vital public services.

“The ruling means that businesses must ensure the welfare of their staff is paramount, and that they insist their workers stick to the rules – no matter how keen they are to work extra hours.”