Joy Drummond Joins Anthony Gold

Anthony Gold is delighted to announce that Joy Drummond has joined the firm as a non-member Partner in the Employment team. She joins a growing specialist department at the firm, led by Aneil Balgobin and based out of the London Bridge office.

Joy Drummond Joins Anthony Gold

Drummond has a wealth of experience, having practiced employment law for almost 40 years, with expertise in employee/trade union and industrial law. She delivers strategic and legal advice, assisting unions and professional associations and their members, non-union employees, managers and senior executives. She joins from Simpson Millar where she was a Partner for over 18 years and established an enviable track record of successfully resolving employment disputes.

Since 2000, she has been consistently included in the Chambers and Legal 500 rankings.

The 2023 Chambers and Partners Guide, where Joy is recognised as a Band 2 lawyer, says:

“Joy Drummond is considered a go-to adviser by a number of major trade unions, which rely upon her for an array of disputes. She is known for her strength handling issues of industrial action, unfair dismissal, whistleblowing, discrimination and breach of contract.”

Client testimonials from the 2023 Legal 500 rankings, where she is now recognised as a Leading Individual, include that:

“Joy Drummond is highly experienced, pragmatic and a street-smart operator who finds every opportunity for a better outcome.”

Drummond joined Anthony Gold on 1 December 2022 and the move sees Anthony Gold building on its current employment offering to businesses and private individuals. The firm already enjoys a high market profile as litigators on complex discrimination claims, and in particular stress at work cases.

Commenting on the appointment, Head of Employment, Aneil Balgobin said:

“I am delighted to welcome Joy into our progressive and ambitious team at Anthony Gold at a time when I am confident there will be many opportunities to assist both employers and employees in the current climate.”

Managing Partner, David Marshall, said:

“This appointment demonstrates our commitment to look out for opportunities to grow our Employment Law offering. Joy brings a wealth of experience to the firm and will further strengthen our expanding Employment team.”

Dealing with Employees with Disabilities

Our Commercial Team have recently published some insight into the effects of The Mental Health (Discrimination) Act 2013 and how it affects companies and the termination of company directorships. In short, it is not straightforward. Similar issues can be found in the employment arena and we have previously posted about what protections are offered to employees with disabilities.

Just like directors cannot be removed automatically by reason of ‘incapacity’ neither can employees who are more junior to that. This will apply to both directors and employees generally but please bear in mind that this is solely from the employment perspective and terminating an office appointment will require a separate process under the Companies Act 2006 on which our commercial team can advise.

It is important to note that even if a company has concerns with regards to a person’s mental health or even their physical health, it is not for the company to determine whether they are fit to continue work or not and so medical advice on that must be sought from a qualified professional.

So, let’s take a scenario where an employee with disabilities struggles with their mental health and has therefore been absent from work for a while on long-term sick leave. It is understandable that the company wishes to know whether the employee can return to work, when they might be able to return to work and what changes they may need to implement in order to accommodate the employee’s return to work. This is where the sickness absence policy will be most appropriate:

  1. Invite the employee to attend a meeting where the company can check in with the employee. This does not need to be overly formal format, but the employee should have advance notice of the meeting and who will attend and you may need to accommodate a remote meeting, for example, if the employee is not yet able to attend the office. The meeting will usually be with the line manager at least and usually it is appropriate to have an HR person present, if the company has a HR function;
  2. At the meeting, the employee should have an opportunity to discuss how they have been feeling, what helps they may have sought or feel they could benefit from and whether they think that the company could help them with any of that at all. This should be within reason, of course, but it is worth considering what efforts the company can offer;
  3. After the meeting, the company should consider whether there is benefit in having a medical report regarding the employee. This might be appropriate to have a note from the employee’s GP or, more often than not, a referral to occupational health (Please note that many companies shy away from Occupational Health because they are not large enough to have a direct contact, but there are companies that can accept referrals for Occupational Health on an ad-hoc basis and that is appropriate in the circumstances). The purpose of this referral will be to obtain medical advice to supplement the information from #2 above and guide the company in their next steps;
  4. Once information has been obtained on if, when and how the employee might be able to return to work, the company should look to implement those changes that have been recommended where it is possible. For physical disabilities and ailments this may be more obvious, but adjustments for mental health purposes could include more flexible working in terms of hours being work, how many breaks can be taken, the frequency of the breaks or even a hybrid working with some remote working to assist the re-adjustment to the workplace; and
  5. If the medical advice is inconclusive about the employee being able to return or when that might happen, the company can consider whether it is possible that the employee’s employment simply cannot continue and could proceed with a process of terminating employee’s employment on the grounds of capability (which is one of the fair reasons under Section 98 of the Employment Rights Act 1996). This process will require some more meetings and discussions with the employee and must be handled fairly, but also delicately with a careful balance of the business needs vs the employee’s mental, physical or emotional needs.

The important thing to note is that employment can be terminated when an employee’s health is affected in the long-term to such extent when they are not able to perform their role properly or at all. This is not a decision that should be taken lightly at all and, in the first instance, the company should consider how they might be able to support the employee back into work (paragraph 3 above) but where that has been concluded to be improbable or impossible then other avenues can be considered.

We appreciate that this is a grey area and one that should be considered carefully. Our expert Employment Team are on hand to provide you with further advice and consider the options with you, as appropriate and relevant to each instance. Please do contact our team here on 0207 940 4000

Carillion – what happens now?

Carillion is, or was, the second largest construction firm in the UK.  It’s collapse on Monday 15 January 2017 was confirmed when the High Court ordered the compulsory liquidation of the various companies in the group.  It employed 20,000 people and the projects of the business included the HS2 rail project, Battersea Power Station redevelopment, military contracts and the maintenance of schools, prisons and hospitals.  So, what happens now?

Carillion outsourced projects to a significant number of smaller businesses and spent £952million with local suppliers in 2016.  The construction giant stated that this demonstrated its commitment to generating economic growth and development. Many of these firms are now waiting in the wings to learn if they will be paid.  It has been suggested that the small suppliers are already out of pocket due to being made to wait 120 days for payment.  For small business owners, extending this sort of credit may put the entire business at risk.

The BBC reported on 16 January 2017 that Cabinet Office Minister David Lidington said there would be Government support for public sector contracts. This means that employees will be paid.  However, this will only extend to two days and does not extend to companies working on private projects.

It was well known that Carillion was experiencing financial difficulty.  Last year, the company issued three profit warnings, had debts of approximately £1billion and a £600million pension deficit.  Richard Howson was the company’s chief executive until he stepped down in July 2017, after the first profit warning was issued.  He will continue to be paid until October this year fuelling increasing criticism about executive pay.  It will be interesting to see whether this leads to greater shareholder engagement regarding director’s pay, particularly in companies which are not performing well.

The Government is also likely to come under scrutiny as it encouraged small businesses to get involved with Carillion and continued to award several billion-pound contracts to them, even after substantial financial issues were reported.

Accountancy firm PwC is overseeing the liquidation and made the following statement:

“Unless told otherwise, all employees, agents and sub-contractor are being asked to continue to work as normal and they will be paid for the work they do during liquidations.”

Contrary to this, there have been reports where workers attended projects and were told to go home.  Redundancies have also already begun, for example, Flora-tec is a landscaping services company which Carillion owes £800,000.  They were forced to make 10 people redundant when the collapse was announced.

It is PwC’s job to sell Carillion’s assets, and to try to satisfy the many creditors to which debts are owed.  It is not clear whether this will prevent suppliers becoming insolvent, which may depend on whether the debts are secured and if insurance for such an event was in place.  As with all liquidations, it is highly unlikely that there will be sufficient funds available to pay everyone what they are owed.

If you are an SME, or an employee of a business, that has been affected by Carillion’s demise, please contact Elaine O’Connor on 0207 940 4000 or at

* Disclaimer: The information on the Anthony Gold website is for general information only and reflects the position at the date of publication. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be treated as such. It is provided without any representations or warranties, express or implied.*