“It is completely unacceptable that allegations of unlawful discrimination and harassment in the workplace are routinely covered up by employers with legally drafted NDAs,” the House of Commons women and equalities committee said in early June.
“It is clear that in some cases allegations of unlawful discrimination are not investigated properly – or at all – by employers.”
NDAs, harassment and whistleblowing are high on the political agenda and under scrutiny like never before. This highly topical and practical masterclass will examine the whole range of legal, regulatory, ethical and political problems and solutions that have arisen since Weinstein and the rise of #MeToo, such as:
- Should I – can I – in the interests of safeguarding my firm and my client use NDAs?
- To what extent have NDAs been demonised and do they still serve a valid and legitimate commercial purpose?
- Dealing with the fallout if things go wrong
- Key drafting issues on past, present and future NDAs
The masterclass will specifically cover the following topics in lecture and discussion sessions:
- How did we get to where we are on NDAs today and what lessons are there to learn for the future? Recent high-profile cases will be examined
- How to use NDAs legitimately – it’s not all about whistleblowing
- Key drafting issues on NDAs
- Unpicking and redrafting historical NDAs
- Regulatory risk management and NDAs
- Whistleblowing: the deficiencies of PIDA in practice
- How employers should respond to allegations of sexual harassment:
- The investigation, risks, regulatory reporting, appropriate sanctions for the accused, support for the accused and victim
- How to deal with the resolution of allegations and settlement of claims.
- A guide to the Protection from Harassment Act 1997
- When sexual harassment becomes a crime
- NDAs and whistleblowing from a criminal law perspective
- The role of private prosecutions
- Overlap between criminal and disciplinary investigations
- Ethics and NDAs
- Costs and funding considerations in NDA cases
There will be discussion, debate and disagreement, but by the end of the day delegates will leave the event competent to assess their use of NDAs more effectively.
Chairman: Professor Dominic Regan
Dominic is the most prolific speaker on legal issues in the country today. The “lawyers’ lawyer”, he works closely with law firms, international companies and local authorities, to advise on and provide legal training. In addition he provides advice to a number of government departments including the Ministry of Defence and HM Revenue and Customs. He is also a special advisor to the Association of Costs Lawyers. Dominic has advised Lord Justice Jackson on costs budgeting and management. He has also worked alongside HH Judge Simon Brown QC who pioneered active case/costs management. Dominic is Professor of Law at City University, London and a contributor to the New Law Journal and The Times.
Sarah Chilton is a partner at CM Murray LLP and a partnership and employment lawyer with particular expertise in advising regulated firms and individuals on issues relating to discrimination, harassment and whistleblowing. She frequently advises firms and businesses on harassment and conduct issues, including investigations, training and prevention, as well as exiting senior individuals following disciplinary proceedings. She also advises victims and those accused on their rights and remedies in harassment and disciplinary situations. She frequently advises on issues where there is a criminal and/or regulatory issue and works with specialists in these fields to provide complete and rounded advice for her clients. Much of her work has an international element to it, and she is frequently instructed in international and domestic partnership and employment disputes, in the High Court, arbitration and Employment Tribunal.
Jonathan Cohen QC, Littleton Chambers was appointed QC in the 2016 round at just 38 years old. He is one of the pre-eminent barristers in his fields of practice. He is annually ranked by the Chambers & Partners directory as a leading QC in both commercial litigation and employment law and was twice nominated by that directory as employment junior of the year before taking Silk. Jonathan has a wealth of experience in applying for and defending against injunctions for breach of covenants and infringement of fiduciary and confidentiality duties. He is regularly instructed in breach of confidence claims and is recognised to be one of the leading practitioners in these areas.
Beth Hale is a partner with CM Murray, specialising in employment and partnership law and also acts as General Counsel for the firm. She has significant experience advising employers and employees on all aspects of employment law. Beth provides advice on drafting contracts and restrictive covenants, disciplinary and grievance procedures, whistleblowing issues and performance management. She regularly prepares and delivers training to clients and colleagues.
Oliver Isaacs of Old Square Chambers has over 15 years’ experience dealing with commercial and employment disputes. He is particularly adept at dealing with claims involving directors, minority shareholders, restrictive covenants and breaches of confidentiality. Oliver regularly provides advisory and advocacy assistance in relation to whistleblowing. He is instructed by both employees and employers, regarding their rights and obligations following the making of protected disclosures.
Iain Miller is a partner at Kingsley Napley and specialises in legal ethics, investigations, and public law matters. He is general editor of the leading textbook on legal services regulation, Cordery on Legal Services as well as Chair of the Association of Regulatory and Disciplinary Lawyers. Iain acts for a number of large law firms in advising them on SRA-related issues as well as providing advice to law firm partners, including advising them in relation to investigations by the SRA in relation to alleged sexual misconduct in the workplace.
Adrian Lynch QC, 11KBW. Adrian’s practice primarily spans the full range of employment law but also extends into public law. He has appeared at every level of the domestic courts including the Supreme Court and has also conducted cases before the CJEU and the ECHR. He is recognised as an expert in a wide range of employment law areas including equal pay. He is highly experienced in TUPE and its complications, as well as in all forms of discrimination law and employment related pensions issues. In addition, he has also been involved in, and chaired, disciplinary inquiries. Prior to practice at the Bar, Adrian taught law at King’s College, London.
Nick Vamos is a Partner with Peters & Peters. He has nearly 20 years of criminal law experience focussed on international, high-profile and sensitive matters. Nick joined the firm in September 2017 from the Crown Prosecution Service where he was Head of Special Crime, overseeing the most complex casework in the CPS including the Hillsborough disaster, corporate manslaughter, police corruption, deaths in custody, medical manslaughter and election fraud cases. He also has experience in launching and defending private prosecutions
The Central London venue will be confirmed shortly.