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Employment Litigation

Our market-leading team has decades of experience in advising companies, LLPs, partnerships and senior executives in pursuing and defending complex and high value employment claims in the Employment Tribunal, High Court, appeal courts, and in arbitration. We offer a results-oriented and rapid-response service to businesses dealing with competitive threats.

Our employment litigation group is led by partners Toni Lorenzo and Michael Anderson who are widely recognised as leaders in the field of disputes involving unlawful competition, team moves, the protection of confidential information and post-termination restrictive covenants.  The team is experienced in working on high profile cases carrying reputational risk, many of which are resolved before reaching a public hearing. 

Employee competition

When competitive disputes arise, we take a robust and pragmatic approach.  We can advise businesses on the best strategy to minimise the threat of executives leaving to compete (individually or in a team), including taking urgent court action where necessary.  We also advise individuals considering competition, as well as their new employers, in strategies for minimising the risk of defending litigation.  Our work covers:

  • advising executives on strategies before joining a competitor and businesses on contentious hiring;
  • obtaining, resisting or enforcing various types of injunctions, including acting in the leading reported case on springboard injunctions;
  • advising on notice periods and garden leave;
  • claims involving breaches of restrictive covenants and fiduciary duties;
  • advising individuals and businesses (including recruitment agencies involved in placing candidates) on team moves; and
  • claims involving the protection of confidential information and trade secrets.

Contractual disputes

We also work with employers, employees, partnerships and members to negotiate exit packages and deal with any disputes that arise on termination.  We have extensive experience in bringing and defending bonus and other contract claims in the Employment Tribunal, High Court and in arbitration.  These disputes regularly involve related issues around leaver provisions, constructive dismissal, wrongful dismissal, whistleblowing and discrimination.

Recent reported cases

  • Nissan Motors (GB) Ltd and another v Passi [2021] EWHC 3642 (Ch) – securing injunction against former Nissan GC with High Court ruling confidential documents were retained in breach of contract. You can read the full judgment here.
  • Alesco Risk Management and others v Bishopsgate and others [2019] EWHC 2839 (QB)successfully defending a number of insurance brokerage firms in a high-profile case involving an alleged team move and claims of conspiracy. The Defendants were awarded £3.1 million in costs. You can read the full judgment here.
  • Chess Limited & Anor v Henderson [2019] 7 WLUK 69 – obtaining an interim High Court injunction in favour of an ICT solutions technology company against former employees to protect confidential information and preserve evidence pending trial
  • Forse and others v Secarma Ltd and others [2019] EWCA Civ 215 – acting for a cybersecurity technology company in the Court of Appeal in resisting a challenge to the appropriateness of a High Court springboard injunction (now the leading case on springboard injunctions)
  • Wass v Boots and others (2018) – acting in a claim for declaratory relief against a high street retailer in relation to the enforceability of restrictive covenants
  • DDB UK v Lovell and another (2018) – acting for an advertising agency to enforce restrictive covenants against a departing employee setting up in competition
  • Alvarez & Marsal v FTI Consulting (2018) – acting for a professional services consultancy firm seeking declaratory relief in relation to a competitor’s restrictive covenants
  • AstraZeneca v Miels (2017) – acting for a large pharmaceutical company in respect of its enforcement of garden leave provisions against the leader of its European business seeking to join a competitor

Related items

Partner, David Samuels comments on BBC news article: New CBI boss starts job as crisis continues

27 April 2023

David Samuels, an employment partner at law firm Lewis Silkin, said: "[New CBI boss, Rain Newton-Smith] has a big task on her hands because the CBI clearly has a lot of cultural change to be put in place and they need to regain the confidence of the public and their members."

Contract breaking up is never easy

When can a termination discussion be without prejudice?

15 December 2022

For a discussion to be “without prejudice” there must be an existing dispute between the parties. A recent EAT case helpfully clarified when a grievance will count as a dispute for these purposes.

Toni Lorenzo and Alistair Hayes provide practical observations on the High Court's decision in Nissan Motor’s case for the Solicitors Journal

01 April 2022

Background: Ravinder Passi was previously employed as Nissan’s Global General Counsel based in Japan. His employment was terminated in November 2020. Mr Passi brought two Employment Tribunal claims, including allegations of whistleblowing, detriment and victimisation (one during – and one following the end of – his employment). On providing his disclosure in connection with these claims, Nissan realised Mr Passi had removed and retained hundreds of highly confidential and privileged documents.

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A requirement to offer or accept a minimum amount of work is not a prerequisite of worker status, says the Court of Appeal

10 March 2022

In this latest employment status case, the Court of Appeal considered if an individual can be a worker without there being any commitment to offer or accept a minimum amount of work. The Court concluded that such a commitment is not a requirement of worker status and that a panel committee member was, therefore, a worker entitled to paid holidays.

Deal; Handshake

High Court grants injunction to restrain employer’s ‘fire and rehire’ exercise

18 February 2022

The High Court has granted an injunction preventing Tesco from “firing and rehiring” employees in order to remove a contractual entitlement to enhanced pay. While the facts of this case were unusual and it is unlikely to lead to a flood of similar cases, with the practice of “fire and rehire” coming under increasing scrutiny, we consider the implications for employers.

High Court orders ex-employee to return confidential documents kept for taking legal advice

16 February 2022

The High Court has issued an injunction against the former Global General Counsel of Nissan, ordering him to return the confidential documents he kept after his employment ended. It did not matter whether the documents were kept for the purposes of taking legal advice.

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