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Kate Hodgkiss

Partner
Head of Employment, Scotland
Responsive, very pragmatic and helpful. Goes the extra mile to assist.
Head of employee relations and policy
About

Kate Hodgkiss has more than 20 years’ experience advising organisations of all shapes and sizes to address and resolve employment issues and to embrace the constant changes and developments facing employers.

Kate’s broad experience enables her to quickly understand the importance of reaching a solution which meets her clients’ individual needs and to present options to achieve this. Having advised employers in both the public and private sectors, she has the ability to offer pragmatic advice which is uniquely tailored to the organisation’s specific requirements and which is aligned to their values and position. She’s experienced in providing advice on all stages of the employment life-cycle, but has particular experience in providing strategic advice on re-organisations and restructures, complex discrimination and whistle-blowing claims, and senior terminations.

Kate has been involved in complex and high value litigation and took the lead in defending one of the parties at the Employment Appeal Tribunal in a high profile case on the calculation of holiday pay, the implications of which were so important that the UK Government sought to intervene.

She is a regular and engaging speaker on a variety of employment law topics and contributor to articles and publications on issues affecting global companies and local employers alike.

Areas of FocusInsuranceEmployment
Professional QualificationsSolicitor of the Senior Courts of England and Wales

EXPERIENCE

  • Successfully obtained injunctive relief in the High Court for clients in both the insurance and testing sectors where faced with former employees seeking to establish competing businesses in breach of their contractual obligations and removing confidential information for this purpose. The final resolution obtained for one of these claims included securing undertakings for a sustained period far exceeding those experienced by senior counsel.
  • Advised on re-organisations and restructurings including, during COVID, for businesses acutely affected by the restrictions in the hospitality and aviation sectors. Supported hospitality client to fundamentally restructure their operations during the closure period to minimise dismissals but ensure that staffing arrangements were sufficiently flexible when facing an uncertain future. In planning for and executing the project additional challenges arising from conducting a remote process and challenges from the trade unions had to be overcome.
  • Negotiated and drafted contractual provisions in first and second generation outsourcings in both the public and private sectors, and other TUPE transfers for incoming and outgoing service providers. Successfully defended a challenge to the application of TUPE in the tribunal where incoming provider sought to avoid their legal obligations to the transferring employees.
  • Led team in Fulton & Baxter v BEAR Scotland at the Employment Appeal Tribunal in which key principles relating to the calculation of holiday pay were confirmed, and following which the UK Government introduced amendments to period of time for which unlawful deductions claims can persist. Acted in numerous cases arising from the outcome in BEAR Scotland.
  • Conducted a successful defence of a high value claim of sex and race discrimination for a Big Four professional services client and have similarly defended or otherwise resolved matters for other clients facing claims under the Equality Act 2010 from existing and former employees.
  • Has led a number of cases for financial services clients facing potentially damaging and high value allegations of whistle-blowing.
  • Successfully negotiated and advised on Team Move within the Insurance sector, which included advising the incoming employer of their obligations and directing on-boarding arrangements and delivering training to relevant employees on their contractual restrictions during the restricted period.
  • Undertaken and managed investigations for and on behalf of clients into sensitive matters, including allegations of harassment against senior individuals raised by employees or third parties. Also conducted investigation for a major Retail Bank following multi party litigation from former employees arising out of a re-organisation where her report was provided to the Board.
  • Advised on senior terminations, including at Board level, for public and private companies, including during the COVID crisis.
Education
  • Lancaster University, Law LLB (Hons)
  • Nottingham Law School

Publications

Kate is a regular speaker at both external seminars and internal briefings for clients. She has spoken and written on a wide range of subjects relating to the employment relationship. These include all aspects of maternity and family friendly provision; managing difficult employees; discrimination provisions; redundancy and the employment issues connected with restructuring of organisations.

Kate is the former editor of the teams 'Be Aware' publication which is a regular bulletin to brief clients on important developments within the workplace and in employment law.

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