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Category Archives: Business Employment

CORONAVIRUS – Legal Update from our Employment & Litigation team

CaptureIn this update we focus on how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted on the workplace and we highlight the legal developments that you and your business should be aware of in these unprecedented times*.  *Advice correct as of 1 April 2020.

To see the full update from our Litigation and Employment team – click here.

If you need advice on the new coronavirus measures, help with furloughing staff, making redundancies or any other legal problem, we are still here to help.

For more information and advice please contact our office by telephone or email.

 

Also posted in Employment, Legal Briefs, North Ainley News | Comments closed

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19) – Office Update

NA Logo squareWe regret it has been necessary to close the door of the office, not only to ensure the welfare of our clients but also that of all our dedicated staff.  Some personnel are designated as ‘key workers’ at North Ainley because they are dealing with, for example, Wills and Lasting Powers of Attorney and also looking after our elderly and vulnerable clients.  They will work behind closed doors but most others will work from home.  We can be contacted by phone, email or letter so that there is minimum disruption to our services.

If it is absolutely essential that you see a member of staff, please ring this number (0161 624 5614) now and you will be given guidance whilst outside the office.  In all other cases, please email us or ring one of the numbers below depending on the nature of the service you require.

We very much appreciate your support and understanding in these challenging times but will do everything possible to provide help where necessary.

Family Department – 07796 603649

Employment & Litigation  Department – 07990 154164

Residential Property Department – 07468 294547

Private Client Department – 07391 024695

Commercial/Corporate Department – 07392 718704

Also posted in Commercial & Corporate, Commercial Litigation, Employment, Family, Litigation Disputes, North Ainley News, Private Client, Probate & Estate Adminstration, Property Development, Residential Property | Comments closed

CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)

NA Logo squareWe wish to assure all our clients and professional contacts that we will continue to provide the best possible level of service in these challenging times.

We are naturally concerned for the welfare and well-being of our clients, staff and their families and it would be advisable to avoid face to face meetings at the moment.  If it is considered necessary for you to attend the office, please alert us beforehand if you are showing any symptoms of the virus or have been in contact with anyone displaying symptoms.  We can then make alternative arrangements and hopefully deal with your matter over the telephone or by email.

The office remains open and calls, emails and voicemail will be dealt with promptly.  We very much appreciate your support and will do everything possible to avoid any disruption or interruption to our services.

Please visit our website frequently for further updates.

Also posted in Commercial & Corporate, Commercial Litigation, Employment, Family, Litigation Disputes, North Ainley News, Private Client, Probate & Estate Adminstration, Property Development, Residential Property | Comments closed

Workplace Bullying

This week saw our female Home Secretary facing multiple allegations of bullying and Sir Phillip Rutnam resign from his post as Home Office Permanent Secretary claiming constructive dismissal.  This ‘news’ highlights that nobody is above the law and that bullying can be perpetrated by anyone, against anyone.

bullying

What is it?

Bullying is any behaviour from an individual or group that makes someone feel intimidated, uncomfortable or offended such as:

  • humiliating or undermining someone
  • making fun of someone
  • spreading rumours
  • singling someone out for unfair treatment
  • Isolating someone
  • Denying training or promotion

Bullying can happen in person, in writing, on social media or even over the phone and can be either a pattern of behaviour or just a one off incident.

Is it illegal?

It’s not against the law to ‘bully’ someone unless the bullying is linked to a ‘protected’ characteristic.  Section 26 of the Equality Act 2010 protects people from unwanted behaviour related to their age, sex, gender re-assignment, sexual orientation, pregnancy or maternity marriage or civil partnership, disability, race, religion or religion or belief.

If you are being bullied or harassed because of one of the above ‘protected characteristics’ then you could potentially bring a claim for discrimination in a Employment Tribunal.

What to do if you are being bullied at work?

It’s always worth trying to sort out things informally first by having a chat with either the person concerned, your line manager, HR or a Trade Union Rep but if you can’t or this doesn’t work you should lodge a formal complaint using your employer’s grievance procedure.  Your employer then has a duty to deal with your complaint appropriately and accordance with ACAS guidelines as  a bare minimum.

What employers should do?

All employers have a legal duty to protect staff whilst at work and this includes preventing bullying and harassment and dealing with bullying issues appropriately when they arise.  It’s good practice to have anti-bullying and harassment policies in place making it clear what is not acceptable behaviour and how employees can raise issues and how bullying will be handled.

Constructive Dismissal

If you are being bullied to the point of feeling like you have no choice but to leave your job (perhaps because your employer has done nothing about your complaint’s or perhaps because you feel like you can’t complain to your boss because they are the problem) then you might be able to claim Constructive Dismissal in an employment Tribunal.

Constructive Dismissal is a form of Unfair Dismissal but is where you leave your job because of your employer’s conduct rather than them dismissing you.  Your employer must have seriously breached the contract between you both and wholly undermined the relationship of trust and confidence.

If you want to claim constructive dismissal you must have at least 2 years’ service with your employer and you must resign immediately to make it clear that your resignation was in response to your employer’s actions or omissions.

You have 3 months from the date you resigned to submit a claim to the Tribunal and must notify ACAS of your claim before this time in order to engage in Early Conciliation to try and resolve your claim without proceedings.

For a successful Constructive Dismissal claim the Tribunal can award:

  • a ‘Basic Award’ equivalent to Statutory Redundancy, plus
  • a ‘Compensatory Award’ of up to a year’s salary (capped) depending on how long it takes you to gain alternative employment, plus
  • award for Loss of Statutory Rights (i.e. the requirement for 2 years’ service to bring an unfair dismissal claim)

There is no fee for bringing a claim but constructive dismissal is difficult to establish and we would always recommend taking advice before resigning.

Take Advice

Bullying or harassment can have a huge impact on a person’s wellbeing and lead to problems far beyond someone’s working life.  If you are struggling you can call the ACAS helpline for advice and there is excellent guidance for employers online at www.acas.org.uk.

If you are an employer or employee dealing with bullying or harassment at work, we are also here to help.  Please contact a member of our employment team for advice.

 

Also posted in Employment | Comments closed

Charity of the Year

Every year at North Ainley we have a Charity of the Year whereby we raise funds for the chosen charity with various fundraising events.  During the course of 2019 our chosen Charity of the Year was Maggie’s Oldham.

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For those that do not know, Maggie’s is a place where people who have been diagnosed with cancer and their families can find practical advice about benefits and eating well; a place where qualified experts provide emotional support; a place to meet other people; a place where you can simply sit quietly with a cup of tea.

Every day they welcome up to 70 visitors to the centre.  Each time somebody walks through the door it costs £20.00 for them to provide them with the immediate advice and support they need.  They rely solely on donations and fundraising to enable to them to be there for people with cancer and their families, when they need them most.

Throughout the year we have taken part in various fundraising events for Maggie’s; their Kitchen Table Day; the Culture Crawl and the Go Outrageously Orange Day.  We also raised money for them last Christmas with our annual Christmas hampers.  In total, we raised a total of £1,222.00.  The money raised by us would have funded 60 people walking through the door which is amazing.

As well as Maggie’s being our Charity of the Year for 2019, we have also partnered up with them to run a free Wills clinic at the centre for their visitors and their visitor’s friends, family and carers.  The clinic allows visitors of the centre, or their loved ones, to prepare a simple Will at no cost to them whatsoever.  The clinic is run on the second Tuesday of every month between the hours of 2pm-5pm.  The clinic has been running for over 12 months now and is proving to be a great success and extremely rewarding for our fee earners, Jennifer Kitchener and Danielle Judge who run the clinic, being able to support local people in a time of need.

Although 2020 will see a new Charity of the Year for us, we are proud to say that the Wills clinic at Maggie’s will be continuing in 2020.  The clinic usually gets booked up a couple of months in advance so any visitors to Maggie’s, or the friends, family and carers of any visitors are free to contact the Oldham Maggie’s centre to book an appointment at one of the clinics.

We are extremely proud to have supported Maggie’s throughout 2019 and are looking forward to continuing our partnership with them as they are a wonderful charity.

For more information on how they can help you or a loved one, please visit their website at https://www.maggiescentres.org/our-centres/maggies-oldham/ .

Moving into 2020, we are excited to announce that our Charity of the Year will be MIND and we are proud to be supporting them this year to support the brilliant work they do.

Also posted in Commercial & Corporate, Commercial Litigation, Employment, Family, Litigation Disputes, North Ainley News, Private Client, Probate & Estate Adminstration, Property Development, Residential Property | Comments closed

Settlement Agreements

settlement-agreementSettlement Agreements are legally binding agreements where an Employer provides a severance payment in return for an Employee agreeing not to pursue a claim in the Tribunal or Courts.

Importantly, the employee must have received advice on the terms and effect of the agreement from an independent solicitor (or another adviser specified in the Employment Rights Act 1996, such as a properly certified trade union official). That adviser must be clearly identified in the written agreement and their advice must be covered by insurance.

A settlement agreement is usually used in connection with ending the employment, but it doesn’t have to be.  A settlement agreement could also be used where the employment is ongoing, but both parties want to settle a dispute that has arisen between them.

Whether you want to explore settlement with an Employee or have received an agreement from your Employer, we can help!

Also posted in Employment | Comments closed

Oldham Law Association Dinner

OLAA brilliant time had by all at the Oldham Law Association annual dinner, thank you to the organisers and to the The White Hart Inn at Lydgate for top notch food and service as always.

For over 100 years, Oldham Law Association has represented solicitors working or living in the town and surrounding area.  The Association lobbies Government and other stakeholders on issues that affect the profession, it provides training opportunities and social networking events.

Also posted in Commercial & Corporate, Commercial Litigation, Employment, Family, Litigation Disputes, North Ainley News, Private Client, Probate & Estate Adminstration, Property Development, Residential Property | Comments closed

International Day for Tolerance

toleranceWe might not strike you as the most tolerant bunch but actually, as lawyers it’s part of our job to treat everyone the same.

We work in a richly diverse town and are proud to advise and act regardless of race, creed, colour or gender – we invite you to strive to do the same.

For anyone who requires advice for you or your business, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our team.

Also posted in Commercial & Corporate, Commercial Litigation, Employment, Family, Litigation Disputes, North Ainley News, Private Client, Probate & Estate Adminstration, Property Development, Residential Property | Comments closed

Absent without leave

employmentThere are lots of genuine reasons why an employee might not turn up for work without permission but it’s easy to assume the worst & make a rash decision to dismiss.

Being AWOL can be a fair ground for dismissal but there is a lot to consider before doing so if you want to avoid a Tribunal claim.  It is important to take legal advice on the rights and responsibilities before taking action.  North Ainley Solicitors provide this advice to both you and your business.

For more information contact Laura Campbell in our Dispute Resolution Team.

Also posted in Employment | Comments closed

Bullying at work

bullyingIt can happen to anyone and whilst it isn’t against the law, it’s obviously never a good thing for someone to feel intimidated, degraded, humiliated or offended.  Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and so it’s important for employers to take such matters seriously.

We advise both businesses and individuals on bullying and harassment issues so please do not hesitate to contact us for more information and advice.

Also posted in Employment | Comments closed

Business Advice

bus adviceWe were delighted to be invited and attend yesterday’s ‘Business Start-Up Café’ at University Campus Oldham as part of their ‘Employability Week’ which is running from Monday 21 October t0 Friday 25 October at Oldham University.  Two of our Partners were on hand to provide free legal advice and guidance to budding entrepreneurs looking to start a new business.  We provided both legal and practical advice on the matters and issues to look out for when starting a business and hopefully some good tips!

All events are free & open to the public so pop down to gain some useful information and advice this week.

North Ainley Solicitors in conjunction with Oldham Business Enterprise Trust supported this event to help pass on our valuable experience to the students and public of Oldham.

Also posted in Commercial & Corporate, Employment, North Ainley News | Comments closed

Thomas Cook

Sad news this morning for the UK’s oldest travel group Thomas Cook who has ceased trading after talks failed to produce a lifeline for the ailing travel company, placing around 9,000 jobs at risk and triggering a huge repatriation effort to bring home around 150,000 UK holidaymakers overseas.

Thomas Cook

The Civil Aviation Authority announced on Monday morning that the world’s oldest holiday company had gone into liquidation and that all flights and bookings had been cancelled.

If you have been affected by the collapse and need information and advice on your rights, please do not hesitate to contact our Dispute Resolution Team.

Also posted in Commercial Litigation, Employment, Litigation Disputes | Comments closed

Good news for local Solicitors

The ‘Legal Service Consumer Panel Tracker Survey 2019‘ revealed that 77% of legal service ‘users’ chose small local ‘high street firms’ to deal with their matter, with 79% of users saying ‘reputation’ was the most important factor in their choice and 84% being satisfied with the service they received.

NA external sign

The survey also highlighted that shopping around for the cheapest isn’t a good thing – 77% of clients found price information direct from lawyers easy to understand but that fell to just 38% in those trying to compare prices between different providers.

At North Ainley Solicitors we pride ourselves on combining a local, friendly, personal service, with city professionalism from all our high calibre lawyers and support staff.  Our ethos is to provide straight forward advice, using everyday terms that can be understood.  Our strong reputation has resulted in new business throughout the year and combined with our competitive and cost effective solutions we are seeing a surge in new business.

For more information and advice, either for you or your business, please do not hesitate to contact a member of our team.

Also posted in Commercial & Corporate, Commercial Litigation, Employment, Family, Litigation Disputes, North Ainley News, Private Client, Probate & Estate Adminstration, Property Development, Residential Property | Comments closed

When it is too hot to work?

We don’t want to jinx it but, if we really are in store for a heat wave, many of you might be wondering how hot it has to get before you can leave work and head for your back garden/nearest beer garden…

The law

It’s not good news – whilst the law sets a minimum working temperature of 16°C, remarkably there is no upper temperature limit.  Perhaps it’s because we don’t have this problem too much in England!

Employers still have to comply with Health & Safety at work legislation which requires them to provide clean and fresh air and to keep a ‘reasonable’ temperature.  ‘Reasonable’ is of course open to interpretation but the Health & Safety Executive suggests that an acceptable ‘thermal comfort’ zone is between 13°C (56°F) and 30°C (86°F) for ‘work rooms’.

Further, employers should not only monitor air temperature but radiant air temperature, air velocity, humidity, clothing insulation and metabolic heat when considering thermal comfort or thermal stress i.e. environmental and personal factors.

But what if you’re melting?

Tell your employer you are uncomfortable.  Employers should respond to such complaints pro-actively and should consider carrying out a ‘thermal comfort risk assessment’ if a significant number of people complain of being too hot.  When the mercury is really rising The Trades Union Congress (TUC) has suggested employers should temporarily relax their dress codes, provide fans and even cold drinks to keep employees comfortable.

Working outdoors? 

The TUC also recommends that employers of outdoor workers consider accommodating extremely hot weather by re-arranging working hours so that the midday heat can be avoided where possible.

For further advice on Employment law matters, contact Laura Campbell at our office.

Also posted in Employment, Legal Briefs | Comments closed

Oldham Enterprise Trust

Great to join Oldham Enterprise Trust at The Old School BBQ Bus for the launch of the ‘Oldham Enterprise Network yesterday’.

OET

The Oldham Enterprise Trust provides a one stop portal to start-up and growth companies to access the wide range of business funding that is available as well as free business advice and support.

The Trust can assist you with securing funding including, Grants for those under 25 and low cost loans to over 25.

As part of the ‘Get Oldham Working’ initiative, the Trust was kick-started by a £1m donation from The Stoller Charitable Trust, which aims to help the next generation of entrepreneurs get start-up businesses off the ground and also support young people into employment.

When we heard about how the Trust helps Oldham residents into enterprise and employability we knew we had to support this.  We will be offering free 1-hour consultations for all Oldham Enterprise Trust businesses and start-ups.

Call us on 0161 624 5614 and quote this offer to make an appointment.

 

Also posted in Commercial & Corporate, Commercial Litigation, Employment, Litigation Disputes, North Ainley News, Property Development | Comments closed

Continuing Best Practice following a successful Lexcel Assessment

North Ainley Solicitors has once again successfully secured the Law Society Legal Practice Quality Mark, Lexcel.Lexcel

Lexcel is an optional, recognised accreditation scheme for Law Firms and in house Legal Departments which gives the public the assurance that a Practice meets high Client Care and Business Management standards.  North Ainley originally achieved the standard in 2011 and has successfully retained the accreditation at each annual assessment thereafter.

John Ainley the senior partner of the firm said “we are delighted to have retained the Lexcel Accreditation.  There have been a number of changes to the standards in the last year, particularly in light of the recent GDPR requirements.  It is reassuring to know that our procedures are up to the mark.  There is a lot of choice in the legal services market but being Lexcel Accredited demonstrates our commitment to Client Care and Best Practice.  The best interests of our clients and staff are at the heart of the way we work”.

Also posted in Commercial & Corporate, Commercial Litigation, Employment, Family, Legal Briefs, Litigation Disputes, North Ainley News, Private Client, Probate & Estate Adminstration, Property Development, Residential Property | Comments closed

City litigator joins North Ainley

Long established Oldham firm North Ainley is pleased to announce the appointment of experienced lawyer Laura Campbell to bolster its litigation practice.

DSC_4961-Editv2-B&W

Laura has spent her career to date in Manchester city centre, having trained at a large national practice before moving to top global law firm DWF LLP.  With experience in all areas of litigation, Laura joins the Dispute Resolution team which has provided the people of Oldham and its surroundings with advice on personal injury, clinical negligence, employment, consumer rights, property and commercial disputes for over 100 years.

Laura explains “I’ve acted for all kinds of organisations and individuals from business owners and national companies to prisoners, nurses and athletes which has exposed me to all manner of claims and taken me to the Court of Appeal…you name it I’ve dealt with it”. She added “I’m sure my family would agree that I am a born litigator and I am passionate about what I do which means I will go above and beyond to secure the best result for my clients”.

When asked why she’s moved from the ‘bright lights’ of the city Laura was clear “I was keen to move away from the corporate culture but I didn’t want to compromise on quality and had been looking for an opportunity at a thriving local law firm with a long standing reputation.  North Ainley more than fits the bill and I am keen to use my experience for the benefit of a more local clientele”.  She added “From the moment I met with the partners I knew it would be a good fit for me…it’s a friendly, professional practice and client satisfaction is at the heart of everything they do”.

Managing Partner John Ainley, welcomed Laura, saying: “This is a fantastic appointment for the firm.  Laura brings a wealth of experience and a commercial attitude which will enhance our litigation practice” and her arrival coincides with an exciting time of development for both the practice and the new ‘Independent Quarter’ of Oldham, of which we are a proud part”. Geoff Lamb who heads up the Dispute Resolution team added “Laura is a confident and tenacious lawyer but she is also engaging and approachable which fits perfectly with our aim of combining a local, friendly, personal service, with city professionalism”.

Laura lives locally with her husband and two young daughters where they play an active part in the village and school communities. Laura concluded: “I look forward to being part of North Ainley’s continued success and to helping ensure they remain at the forefront of the local legal community”.

For more information or advice, please contact Laura Campbell at our office.

Also posted in Commercial Litigation, Employment, North Ainley News | Comments closed
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    Jonathan Taylor
    Jonathan Taylor
    16:59 01 Feb 20
    We just wanted to thank North Ainley Solicitors again for... all your help. From the initial conversation with Vinesh explaining the process to Cassie answering my many questions and getting us through the line! It’s always a stressful time moving home and we were so happy when you rang with the good news (and we could tell you were too!) and we have collected our keys for our gorgeous new home. We would most definitely recommend North Ainley to anybody moving house! Thanks for a great service.read more
    Maria Wheeldon
    Maria Wheeldon
    14:21 20 Dec 19
    I have just completed my sale and purchase of homes and... would strongly recommend north ainley to others based on the amazing customer experience I received from Cassie Stafford. Cassie made this whole process simple for me. She was attentive, personable, professional and amazing In all she did Thank you cassieread more
    Faz Sal
    Faz Sal
    10:00 18 Nov 19
    We came to North Ainley on 3 recommendations! Wanted to... say a huge thank you to Jill and Sophie in the conveyancing team. They have provided us a brilliant service and have always responded efficiently in a speedy and professional manner to our questions and emails. Jill and Sophie were very professional, caring and helpful at every stage of the process. Jill provided us with her great knowledge and her expert advice along the way and we really appreciated that. I would definitely recommend them as a team and would 100% use their services again! Thanks Jill and Sophie - we are so grateful for your help and genuine approach. Keep up the good work you are a credit to North Ainley! I would have no hesitation in recommending them and will use the company again for any future legal work I might need doing. Thank you :)read more
    Jason Saxon
    Jason Saxon
    14:05 17 Oct 19
    Would really recommend North Ainley. We dealt with Cassie... who was friendly and helpful throughout the whole process. We experienced challenges with our chain and Cassie always kept us up-to-date, re-assured us and did everything to push things along to completion. I would not hesitate to use them again. Thanks Cassie and co.read more
    Claire Wilmot
    Claire Wilmot
    10:03 16 Aug 19
    I have used North Ainley on several occasions for... conveyancing on investment properties and I cannot recommend them enough. Jill Gregory has been brilliant, she's very efficient and responsive to my emails. Jill replies promptly and made things easy by allowing me to do everything by email so I didn't have lots of paper going back and forth. Thank you Jill, and all the other staff behind the scenes, that have handled everything so well. I will continue recommend you to everyone who needs a solicitor! :)read more
    Lisa Wright
    Lisa Wright
    15:05 25 Feb 19
    Cassie was fantastic throughout our sale and would... recommend North Ainley if selling or buying a house.read more
    Lynn Findlater
    Lynn Findlater
    18:55 01 Dec 18
    I have used North Ainley for a number of years. They have... successfully dealt with my parent's wills and more recently the sale of 2 properties. The staff are exceptional and imparticular Cassie who took care of the whole process from start to finish whilst I was overseas. She diligently chased all third parties and kept me informed at all times. I would recommend North Ainley as they have proved themselves time and again over the last 10 years in all of my family's legal affairs.read more
    Idnan Ahmed
    Idnan Ahmed
    12:57 30 Nov 18
    Excellent service. handled my latest commercial purchase... professionally. Would recommend to anyone who is looking for a solicitors who are proffesional and easy to work with. Top service.read more
    Lucy Hoy
    Lucy Hoy
    16:39 27 Nov 18
    Excellent! Very friendly and fantastic communication... throughout. Nothing was to much trouble. Thankyou Vinesh and Cassie. Would definitely recommend.read more
    Anil M
    Anil M
    15:11 04 Nov 18
    Fantastic Solicitors firm. Very professional. Close to... Oldham Town Centre. Answer all your questions and concerns. Keep you upto date at every stage. I have used this firm for many years in buying and selling property. You can not go wrong using North Ainley Solicitors.read more
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