Michelle specialises in employment and partnership law. Michelle acts for SME and PLC employers predominantly in the financial services, professional practices and media sectors and senior executives at boardroom level, celebrities and those in the media in complex and sensitive employment and partnership matters, which often involve discrimination and where the stakes in terms of monetary value and reputational risk are high.
Michelle’s practice focuses on high-end City work. Michelle’s experience in acting for both sides makes her a formidable negotiator and litigator and enables her to achieve the best possible results for clients, often exceeding their expectations. Michelle’s specialist litigation expertise encompasses class action discrimination claims, restrictive covenants and injunctive relief, sexual harassment, whistle-blowing, employment-related FCA matters, internal investigations and bonus disputes.
Michelle provides tailored strategic and tactical advice to employer clients on challenging HR issues, including disciplinary and grievance matters, family-friendly issues, managing under-performance and handling long-term sickness absence and stress.
Michelle has also acted for a number of foreign (predominantly U.S.) parent companies setting up a presence in the UK.
Michelle also specialises in contentious partnership issues and regularly advises partnerships, LLP’s, individual partners and members on team moves, restrictive covenants, garden leave, reducing partners’ notice periods, protection of confidential information, discrimination and whistleblowing claims, managing out under-performing or misbehaving partners, partners’ retirement terms, advice on becoming an equity partner and advising equity partners about the impact on their status where their firms have been acquired by private equity businesses.
Michelle is the past co-founder and co-Chair of the Association of Professional Working Parents and the past founder and Chair of the Professional Parents Network.
Examples of recent experience include:
- Acting for a financial services company on a High Court injunction against an ex-employee and her new employer for breach of confidentiality and post termination restrictive covenants. Successfully obtained interim injunction.
- Acting for a senior female banker in a sexual harassment Employment Tribunal claim against her employer and line manager.
- Conducting a sensitive internal investigation for an employer in the music sector into allegations of sexual harassment made by a senior female member of staff against a non-executive board director (NED) appointed by the private equity investor in the business. As a result of the internal investigation, the NED was removed from the Board and the employer avoided a sexual harassment Employment Tribunal claim being brought against it.
- Acting for an employer in the medical sector on a disciplinary matter regarding fraudulent expense claims and a grievance regarding bullying & harassment from a long standing employee on long term sickness absence with stress.
- Acting for a senior executive in the IT sector on long term sickness absence following cancer treatment regarding his potential redundancy & grievance.
- Advising a large international insurance company on various sensitive employee relations matters including a senior female employee on maternity leave in relation to her potential redundancy and grievance.
- Acting for an Eastern European headquartered financial services company on the Brexit-related closure of its UK office. Dealing with the redundancy process and subsequent termination of employment of UK employees by way of settlement agreements, to avoid Employment Tribunal claims arising from termination.
- Successfully defending a number of sensitive and potentially high profile discrimination Employment Tribunal Claims on behalf of a regulatory body involving senior management up to Board level. Involved in redressing and resolving the grievance culture and high long term sickness absence figures which had arisen within the organisation. Advised the regulator on internal restructuring and re-organisations.
- Advised a female FOREX trader at an investment bank in connection with equal pay and pregnancy/maternity-related discrimination in connection with her pay and bonus.
- Acted for an FX investment banker in connection with gross misconduct allegations for breach of personal account trading rules and failure to notify a conflict of interest to compliance. Dealing with FCA issues in relation to approved person status.
- Acted for a U.S headquartered, international financial services software company regarding conducting a sensitive internal investigation into allegations of sexual and racial harassment and equal pay issues.
- Advised a large U.S law firm on poaching a partner and solicitor team from a U.K law firm competitor.
- Acting for a senior partner in a UK law firm on her exit to join a U.S law firm as an LLP member. Advising her on the terms of and drafting of her retirement deed from her former firm and helping her to negotiate her contractual terms as a member of the U.S LLP.
- Acted for a global media corporation in relation to negotiating and drafting the contractual terms for their new CEO.
- Acted for a U.S based green energy company in connection with harmonisation of contractual terms between the U.S, the U.K, Ireland and the rest of Europe.
- Acting for talent agencies, sports media rights companies, sports media distributors and global investment companies focused on the sports and media sectors. Experience acting for senior journalists and senior executives in the newspapers and digital print industries.