Helen is regularly instructed in complex discrimination, equal pay and PIDA (whistleblowing) claims. Her practice also includes unfair and wrongful dismissal, TUPE, maternity and paternity rights, victimisation on the ground of trade union activities, failure to consult on collective redundancies and TUPE, working time, deductions, negligence claims relating to employment issues, contractual disputes and deductions claims.
Helen represents Claimants including Claimants supported by their trade union, and a wide range of Respondents including local authorities, police authorities, educational institutions, health service bodies, and commercial and financial organisations.
Helen has experience of a huge range of discrimination claims. This includes handling claims where there is a long history of attrition between employer and employee. For example she represented a local authority Respondent in a disability discrimination claim which included more than forty different allegations of disability discrimination which were alleged to have occurred over more than three years. Helen also has represented a GP practice in defending a claim for discrimination because of religion. Helen is particularly interested in discrimination cases exploring the relationship between UK law and EC law. This was one of the important themes in Rhys-Harper v. Relaxion where Helen represented Ms Rhys-Harper throughout the appeal process up to the Supreme Court.
Helen also has experience in claims for discrimination on grounds of trade union activities and blacklisting.
In equal pay cases Helen undertakes drafting, advisory and advocacy work including multi-party claims. She has been instructed in several claims involving local authorities. The issues in these cases include compliance with the grievance procedure, identification of comparators and possible use of a hypothetical comparator, whether “Agenda for Change” (a job evaluation scheme in the NHS is discriminatory). Helen has represented claimants in cases relating to the material factor defence such as the investigation of different types of bonus, whether the particular bonus can be justified on the ground of productivity benefits for an employer and whether the extent of the differential in pay is proportionate.
Helen represents Claimants and Respondents in protected disclosure (whistleblowing) claims. The subject matter is very broad including a claim relating to safety in motorway maintenance and a claim raising alleged accounting fraud.
In TUPE cases Helen has experience of representing Respondents and Claimants in multi-party claims. She recently represented a group of print workers in a claim that included issues of whether there was a TUPE transfer, whether dismissal was transfer related, special circumstances defence, failure to consult on redundancy and failure to consult on TUPE. Helen also represented the successful Claimants in the failure to consult on redundancy claim of Leicestershire v Unison where Leicestershire terminated contracts and offered new contracts of employment.
Helen advises and represents parties in employment-related disputes in the County Court and the High Courts. She successfully defended a trade union in a claim relating to alleged negligent advice relating to an employment matter.
Helen is a member of ILS, ELA and ELBA. She undertakes pro bono work through the EAT ELAAS scheme.
Discrimination and Equal Pay
- Rhys Harper v. Relaxion IRLR 484 HL, 460 CA, 810 EAT – discrimination claims after termination of the employment contract;
- Haq v. Audit Commission EWCA 1621; IRLR 203. Equal pay, material defence and justification;
- Dattani v. Chief Constable of West Mercia Police – IRLR 327 burden of proof and whether inference should be drawn from inaccurate response to questions not in the form of a statutory questionnaire;
- Catherall v. Mchelin Tyre plc IRLR 61 whether DDA applies to constructive dismissal;
- Vernon v. LBHF EqLR 527. Race discrimination failure to promote and victimisation relating to communications to ACAS.
Failure to consult
- Leicestershire County Council v. Unison – IRLR 810 CA and IRLR 920 – failure to consult on collective redundancies – effect of EC law;
- Optare Group v. TGWU IRLR 931. Failure to consult on collective redundancies. Whether volunteers for redundancy included in the requirement for a minimum of 20 redundancies.
Procedural issues and bias
- Khudados v. Leggate IRLR 540 principles relating to applications to amend appeal in EAT;
- De Haney v. Brent Mind ICR 348 composition of the EAT – whether parties should be advised of status of member if not a full panel;
- Swansea v. Honey UKEAT/0030/08/RN. Bias and procedural irregularity;
- Ippoma v. BFAWU UKEAT 0007/13/RN. Inadequate Tribunal reasons in unfair dismissal case.