EU and e-smoke - All in a day’s work for an employment trainee
My 'to do' list in employment is always varied. It's the perfect seat for those who are looking for a mix of contentious and non-contentious work and those who want to advise both individuals and businesses.
I arrive in the office at 8.30am, make a coffee, check my emails and prepare myself for the day ahead. I begin dictating some minutes of a grievance investigation I assisted with in Canary Wharf the previous week. The company we act for is considering taking action with regards to an employee's behaviour and the accuracy of the records is crucial.
I pop down to the atrium at lunch to catch up with my fellow trainees. After that I begin drafting some amendments to a settlement agreement that a client has been offered. Our job is to get the best possible outcome for our clients based on their commercial, personal and practical considerations. In this seat you get experience of viewing a situation from both the employer's and the employee's viewpoint which always keeps you on your toes, and requires us to keep adapting our advice and approach.
Next it's time to prepare an e-flash that will be circulated to our clients and placed on the firm's website. Employment law always has developments in terms of the challenges facing employers and the impact of EU law. As a department it's important to keep up to date and pass that knowledge onto our clients. I research a recent tribunal case concerning the use of e-cigarettes in the workplace and summarise how that case has impacted on the policies employers should consider implementing.
I then have various smaller tasks involving negotiating counsel's fees for an upcoming unfair dismissal claim being heard at the Employment Tribunal and updating the client. The partner I sit with then receives a call from a client asking for advice regarding an employee who has had a recurring short term absence issue. I research the client's queries and report back to my supervising partner. We discuss my conclusions and he ensures that I fully understand the legal and practical issues involved, and how my research will affect the advice he gives to the client.
Before I know it it's time to go home and relax after a busy and varied day. Tomorrow I'm playing a witness in a mock tribunal being presented by the employment team at the Higgs offices for a large client - I need to rehearse my witness statement and get into character!
Blog post written by Hannah Bollard