Eversheds layoff programme ‘unfair’ to male associate

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  • Let this be a warning to law firms. Another point to the associates I think!

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  • Another point? That makes one, right? Or maybe 0.5...

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  • Upon the basis that this story didn't come from me it appears Eversheds PR dept think the firm needs some spin in this regard.

    "...our decision to act to ensure an employee on maternity leave was not disadvantaged."

    An employment partner early in the redundancy process stated to me that the firm was acting on a risk mangagement basis so as not to give a woman on maternity leave any chance of taking legal proceedings against them.

    There were only the two of us in the redundancy pool and the issue of lock-up could have been approached fairly in many ways. However the risk mangement process seemed to dictate that was not relevant.

    Eversheds then belatedly tried to shore-up the fairness of their risk management policy by a highly improbable interpretation of s2(2) SDA.

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  • John, can you lend me a tenner?

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  • John, save it for the appeal, mate.
    You are one - nil up at half time. Best not to give them any ammunition

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  • Hi John! Are you back in Coventry?

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  • I'm glad that John has won the case and wish him well in the appeal. There are many who are in his position, I'm sure. I was also sacked from a firm because the partners didn't dare risk sacking the female partner. Unlike John, I didn't have the energy and courage to challenge them.

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  • John, I have to ask:

    - might the fact that the female on maternity leave was cheaper to employ than you have had a bearing on the decision to load the dice in her favour? (brace for moans of disapproval from the politically correct lobby).

    I ask this nevertheless because of the statistical evidence of an upswing in female recruitment by firms as they look earnestly to acquire good quality CPE lawyers on the cheap?

    My point isn't that females don't deserve advancement - quite the contrary, there is ample evidence that their advancement is often merited - but they deserve to be advanced on the same money as their male counterparts.

    This is "cheapskating" masquerading as a genuine push for diversity and fairness and you're right to challenge it.

    Good for you son!

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  • Why doesn't this surprise me one bit....

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  • It just demonstrates yet again what an absurdly complex minefield employment law has become.

    An employer is damned if they do and damned if they don't.

    Eversheds can easily afford a £123,000 payout and the legal fees of hiring a QC, but this would bankrupt most small employers.

    Even if they could have afforded top legal advice - which presumably Eversheds took - they would still have ended up in Eversheds' position.

    There needs to be a root and branch reform of employment law to make it a lot easier - at least for small businesses - to hire and fire, and free employers from the fear of employing people and the tyranny of such completely unpredictable employment law.

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  • There is no "damned if they do and damned if they don't" here. If it is true that there were only two employees being considered (or even if there were more), the fair approach was not to give one a maximum score - to prevent an accusation of sexual discrimination in the other direction or otherwise - but to either exclude that particular criterion or, better still, choose criteria upon which everyone involved could be assessed equally and fairly, even if they weren't present for a particular period. It's not rocket science.

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  • Generally redundancy schemes are a very difficult and complex decision-making process. I wonder could the drawing of straws been deemed unfair in any way?!?!? Sometimes arbitrary can be good... is there any law advising against such a scheme?

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  • If a law firm cannot get it right...

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  • City Gent - one of the classic traits of a lost argument is any surrounding attempt to throw up an irrelevant smokescreen: the idea being to stir up so much dust and confusion that everyone forgets how the argument began in the first place and which allows the loser to slink away into the shadows unscathed.

    Now we are expected to see Eversheds' plight as the plight of the small businessman?

    To see Eversheds as the champion of the corner shop employer?

    Give me a break.

    You lost because you were weighed, measured and found wanting - not because "the man" had it in for you.

    Infamy, infamy...they've all got it in for me" - pathetic!

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  • and pray tell me what would have happened if the man would have been on paternity leave?

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  • Melanie - I guess if John has been on paternity leave he would also have received top marks for lock-up and would not be in this position now.

    Does anyone know if the draft grounds of appeal have been sent to the EAT?

    John - I wish you all the best in your appeal.

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  • Maybe Eversheds should have made them both redundant.

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  • Im delighted for John and his result, having suffered at the hands of Eversheds myself and their weird scoring matrix that changed from office to office and where the scores were decided over 6 weeks before the decision to "put me at risk of redundancy", but that somehow a conclusion on that basis was not foregone.... I have since moved on to a great job and never looked back, but it was a terrible undermining time and very draining - I'm sure John deserves every penny of that award and I do hope that the appeal fails.

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  • I could not believe this story when I read it - it seems 'slam dunk' to me.

    Surely the most sensible (and fair) option, given that there were only 2 people for up consideration, would have been to have disregarded the "lock up" metric for the purposes of the scoring?

    Awarding maximum points to the employee on maternity leave is a bit like awarding maximum points to a football team who can't fulfil a fixture.

    Would you go to Eversheds for employment advice now?

    Deary dear me.....

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  • I would like to know if Mr. de Belin’s had a representative ( or representatives) in this action, and if so, who? Also, does anyone know what happened to the government plan to make ET decisions available online ? I thought they were going to introduce that a long time ago.

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