Starting a new business is an exciting time, but you can also find yourself pulled in many directions. It can be difficult to know what advice you need, when you need it, and who you can trust to provide it. 
We can make the Employment Law side of business simpler, so you can focus on getting on with building the rest of your business. 


When starting your business, time and finances can be stretched so you need to choose wisely where your resources are used. If you’re starting small, especially if you’re working with people you already know and trust, you might think employment law advice is something that can wait until your business has grown. But getting legal advice early on can be a valuable investment that ends up saving you a lot of money long-term by avoiding disputes. We’ve supported small businesses and even family businesses where relations have turned sour between friends and relatives due to the lack of clarity. 
When you are ready to grow your business by employing a team, you won’t want unnecessary delays while you get your contracts, policies and procedures in place. Getting everything in order early on will allow you to move swiftly as your business grows. 
You might be tempted to use standard, one-size-fits-all resources to try to save money, but these may not be suitable for your individual business. They may even be outdated. Seeking advice tailored to your business will give you invaluable peace of mind that you have protected your business interests, are up to date with the latest legal requirements and have done all you can to avoid the unexpected cost of a legal dispute. 


Employment Contracts 

Many firms make contracts too complicated, meaning employees and even managers skim read them or don't understand the full impact. This results in unnecessary dispute, which could be avoided with well written contracts. 
We will consult with you about your business needs to ensure that your contracts address any areas of concern. We provide standard level, senior and director level contracts, and can advise you on what you might want your contracts to cover. We’ll also make sure you understand the effect of the contracts before implementing them, so you can act with confidence that you are meeting your side of the agreement. 

Employment status 

You may plan to employ workers or contractors rather than employees, to give your business more flexibility while it finds its feet. However, it is not enough to simply state a title in your contracts - your working relationship must reflect this status. Getting this wrong could lead to large pay-outs if you are found to have denied staff their rights.  
It is far better for your business to fully understand the type of staff it needs and properly budget for your obligations to them, than to be ordered to pay large, unexpected amounts in future. 

Restrictive covenants 

When you’re starting a new business, it is vital to protect your unique selling point or differentiators while you’re building up a loyal customer base. One way to do this is to include restrictive covenants in your employment contracts to prevent staff taking sensitive information or practices to your competition. Legal advice is important when drafting restrictive covenants, as the court may refuse to enforce covenants that are overly restrictive or poorly drafted. 
You should also consider the impact of any restrictive covenants your staff are bound by, especially if they have joined you from a competitor. Even if they aren’t prevented from working for you, their restrictions could limit the work they can do for you or the contacts they can work with. If an employee breaks a restrictive covenant, businesses often try to sue the new employer, as they have more resources to pay damages. This kind of payout could be extremely damaging to a new business. When employing staff who are subject to restrictions, legal advice can ensure you act legally. It may help you defend against such claims if you can show you followed legal advice. 

Policies and procedures 

You might think your start up doesn’t need staff handbooks while still in the early stages, but too many employers wait until they are facing disputes to see the value in well written policies. Clear, easy-to-read policies can help you avoid misunderstandings that lead to disputes. When disputes do arise, a good handbook can help in the defence of claims against you, as Tribunals often look at employers’ policies and practices when making decisions on whether good practice has been followed. 
It’s never too early to start setting foundations for the company culture you want, and a good handbook can be integral to this by setting out how you treat staff, what standards you expect, and how grievances or disciplinary matters are dealt with. Policies that demonstrate your workplace culture can even help you to recruit talented, like-minded staff. If you wait until your company has already grown, you may find it difficult to change the culture that has grown without guidance. 
It’s valuable to invest in handbooks that are tailored to your business needs, for the peace of mind that they truly reflect your company culture and your business interests. 

Data protection 

Most people think of General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and the Data Protection Act 2018 in terms of marketing and using customers’ data, but it also applies to how you use and store staff data. The data protection legislaton gives your staff significant rights in relation to their personal data, and you could face substantial penalties for failing to observe these rights. 
You should know what personal data you hold about employees, why you keep it, where you keep it, what you do with it, and what information you provide to employees. We can help you to draft compliant contracts, and to ensure your handling of employee data is legally compliant. 

Avoiding Discrimination 

The Equality Act 2010 applies more widely than other employment rights, as it also protects workers, contractors, job applicants and apprentices during their employment. It also applies from day 1 of the working relationship. Discrimination law can be complex so even if you intend to treat your employees fairly and legally, misunderstanding the law could leave you facing legal claims for discrimination. Discrimination claims are especially costly financially as damages are not capped and could damage your reputation before it is strong enough to recover. 
It is always a good investment to seek legal advice early on to ensure you meet your obligations and give you peace of mind that your actions are lawful. We can help you to look at your employment practices and pinpoint anything that puts you at risk of allegations or claims of discrimination, and how to address the risks that may arise. 

Health and safety obligations 

Your health and safety duties also apply more widely than other employment rights. You have a duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of employees and others on your premises, including workers, contractors, temps, and apprentices, so far as reasonably practical. And your duties aren’t limited to physical health and safety, they also apply to mental health and wellbeing. 
You should get advice on your obligations whatever industry you are in


Great service 

As specialists, Employment Law is the heart of our business, not just one of many services. We’ll be focused on every detail of your employment setup. 
We believe our clients deserve the best legal advice. That’s why we’ve built a team of experienced solicitors who not only know about employment law but are also committed to excellent service. We understand that legal processes can be difficult and so we will help you to understand your options to get the best solution for you, as painlessly as possible. 

Clear on costs 

You don’t need to pay a costly retainer for time you might not use. You just pay for the support you need, when you need it. We help you keep in control of your costs by providing clear information on fees, so there will be no hidden costs to budget for. We even offer advice on how to work with us efficiently to keep your costs under control

Business experience 

We are experienced working with business of all sizes – including startups, SMES and sole traders. Our solicitors also have a wide range of business experience, including secondments in business, training and experience in the HR sector, and sitting on disciplinary panels. We’re also used to working with employees and will bring this experience on board to help you understand how employees approach their employment law rights. 
Birmingham, our home, has been named the regional start-up capital for 7 years running as home to more UK start-ups than any other city outside London.  
Spencer Shaw was founded in 2007, when our Principal Solicitor was working as a sole trader, so we still remember the challenges of being a start-up and understand the entrepreneurial growth mindset. 
At a tricky time, your advice was vital and allowed us to tread more confidently into the world of business. And for a brand new business that is priceless. 
Danny G 


Do you have a legal matter you'd like to discuss with us? Get in touch using the details below or use the form here and a member of our team will be in touch to discuss your enquiry. 
Phone: 0121 817 0520 
Address: Spencer Shaw Solicitors Limited 
St Mary's House, 68 Harborne Park Road,  
Harborne, Birmingham, B17 0DH 
Opening hours: 
Monday - Friday 9:00AM - 5:00PM 
Saturday, Sunday & Bank Holidays - Closed 
Keep in touch 


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