employment

Category Archives: Employment

New Employment Laws – Are You Ready?

employment2020 brings with it 5 key changes to employment law that will impact both employers and employees – make sure you are ready for when many of the changes come in force on 6 April 2020 by taking advice now.

1. New right to a written statement of terms

Current law

Employees who’ve been employed more than one month must be given a written statement of the terms upon which they are employed within 2 months of starting work.

New law     

All employees AND workers will have a right to a statement of written particulars of employment on the very first day of work.

Action  

Employers need to consider whether they want to recruit workers or employees and should prepare the statement of particulars of employment during the recruitment stage to be able to supply this on day one.  They should review current contracts and recruitment policy to ensure everything is in place for new starters and be prepared for when existing staff request a statement.

2. Changes to Holiday pay calculations

Current law

Complicated calculations for those working variable hours or earning a variable wage,  using the previous 12 weeks as a reference period to work out a ‘week’s pay’.

New Law

To even out variations the new reference period will increase to the previous 52 weeks (or number of complete weeks worked if less than a 52) discarding any weeks not worked or where no pay was received.

Action

Employers need to consider who this new reference period will be relevant to and have systems in place ready to implement the new rules, particularly as the change falls at just before the Easter holidays when may will want to take leave.  The rules comes in force from April 2020 but employers will need to ensure records from the previous year are up to date and ensure data is accurately recorded going forward.

3. Parental bereavement leave

Current law

There is currently no law giving parents the right to time off in such circumstances.

New law

The Parental Bereavement Leave and Pay Act 2018 is expected to come into force in April to give employed parents the right to 2 weeks leave if they lose a child under the age of 18 or suffer a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy and to claim pay for this period (subject to eligibility criteria).

Action

Employers should communicate the change to staff ideally by way of written policy but should be alert to potential race or religious discrimination and avoid applying a blanket policy given different religious and cultural approaches to bereavement.

Employers should be aware of bereaved mother’s existing rights to maternity leave, which is not lost if a child it lost after 24 weeks of pregnancy.

Finally, employers need to be mindful of the long term affect such a loss can have and deal with performance issues and absence requests carefully.

4. Changes to Agency Workers Rules

Current law

Agency workers are already entitled to the same pay & basic working conditions as direct recruits once they’ve completed 12 weeks’ continuous service in the same role BUT the ‘Swedish Derogation’ provides an exemption to this right if the worker is employed directly by the agency under a permanent contract rather than the agency acting as a middle man.

New law

The Swedish Derogation employment model is being abolished.  Agency workers will not be able to enter contracts with Agencies that remove their rights and will be entitled to the same pay as those on permanent contract directly with the employer after 12 weeks of service.  Further, agencies will have to provide agency workers with a ‘Key Information Document’ detailing the type of contract, the minimum expected pay, how they will be paid and by whom.

Action

Employers should consider the additional costs to business arising out of the enhanced rights and before 30 April 2020 agencies will have to inform any workers whose existing contracts contain a Swedish Derogation provision that it will no longer have effect.

5. Changes to IR35 (tax evasion) rules for the private sector

IR35 is a law that allows HMRC to collect an additional payment where a contractor is an employee in all but name (i.e. a contractor may technically be performing work for an end client via an intermediary like a limited company but if it were not for that intermediary they would be an employee of the end client and should be treated as such for tax purposes).

Current law

It is the intermediary’s/middle man’s responsibility to determine whether IR35 applies.

New law

The new off-payroll rules will require medium and large businesses who engage contractors to assess the employment status of those workers i.e. shifting the onus onto the end client rather than the middle man.

Action

Medium and Large sized business should review their current workforce and consider who the new rules may apply to, speak to their contractors and put new systems in place to determine if the rules will apply to future relationships.  The Government ‘Check Employment Status for Tax’ service is available online.

How can we help?

The main thing you can do to prepare and comply is to review and keep reviewing, your workforce, working practices and contracts.

If you would like advice or assistance on compliance with employment law, please get in touch to discuss how we can help you.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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World Mental Health Day

World mental health dayAs Employment and Family Law Solicitors we often witness first-hand the huge impact that mental health issues can have on a person’s home and working life.  Today is about raising awareness of those issues – it’s time to start looking, listening and understanding more.

Mental health problems are a growing public health concern.  They are prevalent not just in the UK, but around the world.

  • Mental health problems are one of the main causes of the overall disease burden worldwide.
  • Mental health and behavioural problems (e.g. depression, anxiety and drug use) are reported to be the primary drivers of disability worldwide, causing over 40 million years of disability in 20 to 29-year-olds.
  • Major depression is thought to be the second leading cause of disability worldwide and a major contributor to the burden of suicide and ischemic heart disease.
  • It is estimated that 1 in 6 people in the past week experienced a common mental health problem.

For more information and advice visit the World Mental Health Foundation website by clicking here.

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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.

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Employment rights

New research suggests that at least a million people across the UK are being denied their rights – with employers most likely to breach their obligations in respect of minimum wage, providing payslips and holiday entitlement.

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By law, all workers have a number of rights that have been carefully laid down to ensure that all individuals are treated fairly by their employers.  These rights, which have been given under statute are called statutory rights.

While statutory rights form the basis for fair treatment in the workplace, your specific employee rights may vary slightly depending on the type of job you are hired to do and the arrangement you have with your employer along with a few other variables.  Your exact rights at work will ultimately be derived from a combination of your statutory rights and your employment contract.

As a worker, you may have some rights that are set out in the terms and conditions of your employment or your contract, other than those required by law.  These are known as contractual rights.

The terms of the contract may vary the terms of your employment and may award you additional rights beyond the statutory minimums.  For example, an employer may offer maternity and paternity leave at full pay.  However, this is not obligatory by law and is at the discretion of the employer.

An important point to note regarding contractual rights is that an employment contract can offer you additional rights but they cannot offer you fewer rights than those offered by law.  In other words, contracts of employment cannot forcefully restrict your statutory rights.  They can only limit your rights with your consent.  For example, if you agree, of your own will, to opt-out of the maximum 48-hour working week or you agree to work on Sundays, it overrides your statutory rights regarding these terms.

Once the terms of the employment contract have been agreed upon, your employer must abide by them.  If they do not, they could be held liable for breach of contract.

If you’re concerned, call our Employment tean for specialist employment advice.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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”.

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When can you suspend employees?

In any contract of employment, there is an ‘implied term of trust and confidence’ between employer and employee.  But does this mean that an employer can’t suspend someone pending investigation in case they breach that term?

Judgement

The tribunals say not.  In the recent case of London Borough of Lambeth v Agorevo, a primary school teacher was suspended after being accused of using excessive force against a child with special education needs.  Her claim failed as the question was not whether it was ‘necessary’ to suspend her but whether there was ‘reasonable and proper cause’ to suspend.

For employment information and advice contact our Employment law team.

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New payslip rights

Big changes to the Employment Rights Act 1996 in force from next Monday 6 April 2019, mean that ALL employees and workers (starting jobs after this date) will have a statutory right to a detailed written, printed or electronic wage slip including a breakdown of hours worked where pay varies by the time worked.56606352_2256108941328223_1516984931438297088_n

Employers currently only have to provide wage slips to employees and remarkably, don’t have to tell workers what they have deducted for tax, NI and pensions!

For employment information and advice contact our Employment law solicitors.

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Employers take note: Personal Injury compensation paid in Employment claim

Hailing a new approach, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) recently awarded personal injury compensation for failure to provide rest breaks under the Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR).Judgement

Rights: Under the WTR 1998 all workers are entitled to an unpaid rest break of 20 minutes when working for more than six hours per day (Reg 12).  For workers carrying out monotonous work (i.e. a production line) further ‘adequate’ rest breaks must be provided to avoid a health and safety risk.  These rights are enforceable by bringing an employment Tribunal claim.

If an Employment Tribunal finds that the WTR have been breached, Reg 30 provides that it may award such compensation ‘as is just and equitable in all the circumstances.  However, in a previous case (Gomes v Higher Level Care) the EAT had confirmed that this would not include compensation for pure injury to feelings; which was only available in discrimination cases.

The facts:  In Grange v Abellio, the Claimant was employed as a ‘Relief Roadside Controller’ regulating and monitoring bus services.  He brought a claim alleging that his employer had refused him rest breaks but the first Tribunal dismissed his claim as there was no evidence of a deliberate refusal by Abellio.  Mr Grange appealed and the EAT held that the refusal did not have to be an active response to a positive request; here it was the arrangement of Mr Grange’s working day that had prevented him from taking his rest breaks. His claim succeeded.

Personal Injury: Mr Grange gave evidence that due to a bowel condition, the lack of rest breaks had caused him discomfort that was ‘more than a minor inconvenience’ and so, the Tribunal awarded compensation for personal injury.  His employer appealed, relying on Gomes.

The decision: The EAT rejected the appeal and confirmed that Tribunals are permitted to award damages for personal injury under Reg 30 of the WTR.  Further, that medical evidence and reference to injury guidelines was not necessary as the Tribunals should be able to deal with cases on a common-sense basis.

What next?: This case suggests that now, Claimants who can prove they suffered ‘more than a minor inconvenience as a result’ of a breach of WTR can be awarded personal injury  compensation.  This makes sense given that the objective of the EU Working Time Directive (as implemented by the WTR) was to protect the health and safety of workers. It could also mean that where a breach of the WTR is alleged, it could be easier to bring a low value personal injury claim in the Employment Tribunal than in the Civil Courts.

For more information and advice contact our employment law solicitors.

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Choosing the right lawyer

It can be a big decision to instruct a solicitor and it could end up costing you a lot of money, so you need to get it right!

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Certainly, it can be tempting to go to the first firm you think of, drive past on the way to work or that has the fanciest offices but there are some things you should consider before parting with your hard earned cash:

Specialism – Often, high street practices try to be a jack of all trades, with the same Solicitor offering advice on all manner of problems. But, if you have an employment law issue why would you want advice from a Solicitor with a background in property law? Do your research and make sure the Solicitor you will see is a specialist in and has good experience in the area you need advice on.

Recommendations – from people you know and trust are always useful but if your friend recommends a firm because they did a good job of selling their business, it does not make them best placed to help you make a personal injury claim.

Attitude – Make sure you are on the same page. If you want to resolve your issue amicably, you do not want an aggressive lawyer who will rack up costs arguing over nothing. Likewise, if you want a robust approach, don’t instruct a wallflower. A good lawyer will explain the options and alter their approach based on your instructions and will be mindful of how their approach will affect your costs; even if that means telling you what you don’t want to hear.

Alternatives – Does the firm promote and actively engage in other ways of resolving legal problems; such as ACAS Conciliation for employment problems or Mediation or Collaborative Law for family matters? Again, a good lawyer who isn’t just interested in taking your money will encourage these approaches where appropriate.

Likeability – Believe it or not, not all solicitors are cut throat so it’s important that you feel comfortable speaking with your legal adviser and that you feel able to build a relationship of trust and confidence. That said, just because you might want to go for a pint with them does not mean they will give you quality legal advice.

Fees – Make sure you have a very good estimate of what it’s likely to cost and when you will be billed. From 6 December 2018, all Solicitors websites must display prices and service information for residential conveyancing, probate, unfair & wrongful dismissals, debt recovery and licensing applications.

Choice – Remember you don’t have to use any firm which may already have been ‘assigned’ to you – perhaps by your employer when handling a settlement agreement or your car hire company when dealing with an Road Traffic Accident.

At North Ainley, we have been advising the people of Oldham since 1901 but that doesn’t mean you will get out of date advice, just lots of experience! Our size allows us to combine a friendly, personal service with city professionalism from a team of specialist Solicitors and legal advisers.

For more information, please call Laura Campbell, a Solicitor in our Dispute Resolution team on 0161 624 5614.

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

New ACAS Guidance: Age Discrimination

Whilst we are all aware of sex, race and disability discrimination, ‘ageism’ is not something that receives as much air time. But, pursuant to the Equality Act 2010, age is also a protected characteristic and as such, treating someone unfairly because of their age is against the law (with some exceptions).Acas

The Act aims to protect people from unfair treatment, harassment or different treatment because of their age, the age they are thought to be, or the age of someone they are associated with. It doesn’t matter if the discrimination is intentional, what matters is how the recipient perceives what is said or done. In practice, this should mean that employers should:

  • Strive for an age diverse workforce.
  • Encourage interaction between age groups (socially and in work based tasks or projects).
  • Judge people on performance or quality of their work/application.
  • Not be asking for age information and years’ of experience when hiring.
  • Not stereotype or make assumptions about different age groups when deciding who to hire, train or promote.
  • Manage under performance regardless of age.
  • Not assume a person will retire or force them to do so, due to their age.
  • Not tolerate the use of derogatory comments related to age.

Whilst most employers are vaguely aware of the issue, until now there has been little by way of guidance on how to navigate the law. As such, it’s no surprise that age discrimination is actually one of the most common forms of unfair treatment at work, particularly with workforces being increasingly age diverse.

The new Guidance from ACAS (The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) which can be found here seeks to educate employers, prevent unintentional discrimination and make a real start at stamping out ageism altogether. All in all a very important read!

For more information and advice contact our Employment law team.

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  • In This Section

  • Thank you Tahirah for all the work you have put in to make our house sale a success, it’s been a pleasure dealing with you.
    Mr & Mrs Williams - Oldham
  • 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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