Coca-Cola legal takes back employment work

Coca-Cola & Schweppes Beverages is appointing a legal manager to supervise employment issues and handle litigation.

The move is part of a decision to take over control of employment work from its human resources (HR) group.

The company says that the newly appointed lawyer will continue to liaise with HR.

Paul Meadows, vice president, legal director and company secretary at Coca-Cola & Schweppes Beverages declines to comment on the reason for the sudden change in structure.

The news of the reshuffle comes only three months after the company explained its reasons for hiving off employment work At the time Meadows told The Lawyer that: “What we aim to offer in the department is a full service, the only exception being employment law and HR related matters. Those are dealt with through the HR function directly.”

He added: “I think you do tend to get a split [in legal departments]. Either the in-house department does absolutely everything or, if things are split off it is the HR side that is split off most often, in my experience.”

Most in-house legal departments give control of employment matters to their HR department.

For example WH Smith Group assigns authority to its HR area and only outsources large employment issues to Manches.

But Ian Houghton, company secretary and director of legal services at WH Smith Group, is considering merging the employment function with the legal department in the future (The Lawyer 25 October).