Ensuring our clients have access to expert and affordable legal advice on all aspects of employment law as and when they need it.
Over 30 years experience
At Optimal, we understand that all employers face a multitude of legal risk when dealing with its employees, and that from time-to-time it may be necessary to seek legal assistance to ensure that this risk is addressed and minimised.
Our in-house legal team has a wealth of experience in dealing with all aspects of employment law and the practical application of legal principles in the day-to-day operation of organisations of all sizes and in both the private and public sectors.
We aim to provide;
- A friendly and approachable service;
- Accessible, comprehensible and jargon-free advice;
- Practical and workable solutions to problems;
- Swift response times.
Advice & Support
Our in-house legal team is available to offer support, guidance and advice to employers in the following areas;
- Drafting of contracts of employment and senior Service Agreements;
- Implementation of internal policies and procedures;
- Handling complex disciplinary or grievance cases;
- Dealing with sensitive or substantial discrimination allegations;
- Whistleblowing issues;
- Maternity, paternity and other family friendly rights;
- Flexible Working requests;
- Business transfers, mergers and acquisitions;
- Implementing large-scale redundancy programmes;
- Wide-ranging business restructures and reorganisations;
- Negotiating exit packages for senior staff;
- Drafting Settlement Agreements.
Employment Tribunal Representation
Optimal can also provide expert legal representation for businesses in the defence of Employment Tribunal claims, covering matters such as;
- Unfair dismissal claims;
- Constructive dismissal claims;
- Discrimination claims;
- Whistleblowing claims;
- Equal Pay claims;
- Claims for Redundancy payments;
- Holiday pay claims;
- Deductions from wages claims.
We recognise that employers may be fearful of potential legal costs. At Optimal we strive to ensure that our clients have a range of options to manage their incidence of legal fees, and that they receive true value for money.
We offer fully flexible fee packages for business clients, including attractive hourly rates, fixed fees, capped hours arrangements, and annual retainer agreements.
Our business clients can also take advantage of legal expense and Tribunal awards insurance cover which is available from our selected insurance provider.
If you have been offered a Settlement Agreement (sometimes called ‘a Compromise Agreement’ or a ‘Package’) by your employer, you need the best advice possible to maximise your compensation and ensure that the deal you are getting is right for you.
A Settlement Agreement (known as a Compromise Agreement until July 2013) is a document that allows an employee to agree with their employer not to pursue an Employment Tribunal claim, and not to initiate legal proceedings in the future.
This document can effectively and efficiently bring an end to an employment relationship and, through successful negotiation between advisers, can usually bring about a mutually beneficial and amicable solution for both parties.
A Settlement Agreement is often used to record the terms of an employee’s departure from their employment where, typically, they receive a termination payment (up to £30,000 of which may be tax-free) in return for the waiver of current and potential statutory or common-law claims against their employer.
For a Settlement Agreement successfully to waive those rights, certain statutory conditions must be met:
- The Agreement must be in writing
- The Agreement must relate to a “particular complaint” or “particular proceedings” – in other words, the claims waived must be identified
- The employee must have received independent legal advice on the agreement and, in particular, on its effect on their ability to pursue the statutory rights/claims that are intended to be waived
- The Adviser must be identified in the Agreement
- The Adviser must have insurance in relation to the advice
- The Agreement must state that the legislative conditions regulating Settlement Agreements have been met
Whilst a Settlement Agreement is a very useful tool, it can’t be used to compromise an employee’s claim for accrued pension rights, claims for latent/future personal injury, or claims to enforce a Settlement Agreement under breach of contract.
If you are offered a Settlement Agreement you must seek legal advice from a solicitor or other suitably qualified adviser before the Agreement can become binding. The solicitor may be required to sign the Agreement, or a separate Certificate, to confirm that you have received independent legal advice.
Often employers will make a contribution to the cost of you seeing a solicitor to discuss a Settlement Agreement. In many cases a solicitor will be able to recover from your employer the full cost of taking legal advice.
Since July 2013, employers have also been allowed to have what are commonly described as “Protected Conversations” with employees.
This allows the employer to discuss with you the possible termination of your employment (under the terms of a Settlement Agreement) without fear that the conversation will be referred to in an Employment Tribunal. It is worth noting that the legislation describes these conversations as “Pre-Termination Negotiations” and this point is not always fully understood by employers.
Unless termination lies at the heart of the conversation it will not be “protected” and the conversation may later be referred to in an Employment Tribunal. The regime of Protected Conversations is never available in cases involving alleged discrimination.
For more information about how we can help you with a Settlement Agreement, or for a free no obligation discussion with one of our employment solicitors, please contact us on 0330 0881857 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Our Employment Legal Lead
Our in-house legal team is led by Matthew who as an employment solicitor has a wealth of experience and skills to help our clients.
What our clients say
Optimal People and Business are experts in all things HR. We worked successfully with them to produce a series of information videos to help businesses during the Corona lockdown. We are looking forward to working with them again in the near future as we grow our business.
We personally dealt with Vici at Optimal and she was a delight. She was open and honest and gave great advice and guidance. She helped us deal with what could have been a very difficult dismissal with a problematic member of staff. I would not hesitate to recommend Vici to any business for their HR.
Can’t thank Mel and the team enough. Really helped my business in a crisis. Looking forward to working with you and the team.
Brilliant service, friendly staff, lovely team
Amazing service and support from extremely knowledgeable people, who also take great care in the standard of their work. Can't fault them, thank you so much!
5* all round, Mel was extremely helpful and answered all my questions, very friendly and professional. Recommended to others and would definitely use again. Thank you again Mel and Helen.
Mel and her team are fantastic, help me all along the way with some complex issues. Couldn't recommend more.
I've used Optimal PBS on a couple of occasions now to assist with due diligence on an acquisition i've been working on and also to provide contract and handbook production. Cannot fault the support or advice provided.
We love this company and Mel is a god send to our business, she sorted everything for us from employee contracts to helping us source the right accountant, she is at the end of the phone whenever I have any HR questions (even when on holiday) can not fault her commitment. Keep up the good work!