Case Studies

Below are case Study examples from our previous clients

Grievance Investigation

Our client, an international high profile organisation that operates within the entertainment industry was faced with internal conflict that involved a number of film crew working on location.

Due to time constraints and limitations on available internal resources, we were appointed to investigate a complex grievance that was raised by a member of staff against his managers. The complaint implicated a number of individuals who were long serving and crucial to the business, and related to allegations of malpractice, bullying and intimidation.  Read More

Before conducting the investigation, it was necessary for us to review and evaluate a considerable amount of documentation that related to a prior grievance which had been raised by another member of staff against the claimant.

The investigation itself involved:

  • interviewing the complainant to clarify allegations that he had made
  • identifying actions/incidents which could be corroborated
  • interviewing other members of staff/management who could potentially support/deny allegations made
  • obtaining information from Managers against whom the complaints were made.

The investigation had to be conducted within as short a timeframe as possible because of production scheduling requirements.  Because the issues had become very personal with the integrity of individuals being questioned, the investigation also had to be carried out as sensitively as possible.

Our recommendation on completion of the investigation was that there were insufficient grounds to uphold the majority of the allegations that had been made.  However, some serious management inefficiencies were identified that needed to be addressed.

Disciplinary Investigation

Our client, an international organisation with a multi-site operation in the UK, suspended a senior manager following an internal investigation into a complaint made by one of her subordinates regarding certain aspects of her management style and working practices.

Due to the nature of the allegations and other ongoing situations which had been highlighted during the internal investigation, we were appointed to conduct a transparent, full and independent investigation into the allegations which had led to the suspension.  Read More

In preparation, a considerable amount of background information and documentary evidence was provided including the report of the internal preliminary investigation and comprehensive submissions – both financial and operational – from a number of departmental heads within the organisation.

Having reviewed all the background information and identified and summarised the allegations, a list of witnesses was drawn up and appropriate lines of questioning compiled.

Each allegation was fully investigated and statements obtained from the individuals involved in the incidents referred to in the allegations. The senior manager in question was also interviewed as part of the investigatory process.

Upon completion of the investigation, it was determined that there were a number of performance and conduct issues which could be substantiated and warranted some form of disciplinary action being considered. Consideration was also given as to whether there had been an irretrievable breakdown in the working relationship. The final report also made a number of recommendations in terms of alternative actions that could be considered, and detailed the processes applicable to each option.

Reorganisation / Redundancy

Our client, a large retail group, wished to reorganise its business by taking out one level of management in each of its 320 stores.

This involved over 300 people being either declared redundant or offered alternative positions, the bulk of which were at a lesser grade.

Initially, our client had considered that all 320 stores would constitute a single establishment and that the 90 day consultation period applicable to collective redundancy situations involving 100 or more employees should apply. We determined that, in fact, each store was a separate establishment and consequently there would be no need for such a lengthy consultation process.  Read More

We compiled an action plan and timetable that covered initial notification to affected employees through to the appeals against the resultant dismissals, and drafted all accompanying documentation that the client then used to administer the process.

A year later, there was a regional reorganisation affecting stores and the regional support team. Again, we provided a timetable for the process and comprehensive guidance to conducting the consultation.

Out of some 200 people declared redundant, there was only one associated Employment Tribunal claim brought against the group.

Job Descriptions

Our client, a leading international transportation group with over 30,000 employees, asked us to produce and develop full job and person specifications in respect of a proposed management structure for the delivery of major rail services. The documents were to be incorporated into a billion pound bid for a seven year franchise.

Due to a very tight timescale, five consultants worked on the design and content of over 170 job descriptions that were required to satisfy the needs of the tender process. Job descriptions were required for functions such as Finance, HR, Customer Services, Engineering, Operations and Health & Safety.

We completed the project within 3 weeks.

Review of HR and Payroll Functions

Our client, a public sector travel services organisation with 400 employees, asked us to conduct a review of its HR and Payroll functions with a view to streamlining, and possibly integrating, the respective systems which ran independently at the time.

As part of the process, we were required to take into consideration current issues surrounding data control, duplication of effort and staffing structures, as well as future issues in terms of new technology and greater efficiency.

A sensitive and confidential approach was required as our final report and analysis had to identify the shortcomings of the current HR and Payroll systems, suggest ways in which the scope of the systems could be expanded and consider an appraisal framework appropriate to the new systems and working methods we were recommending.

Tupe Transfer

Our client, a major operator in the nightclub sector, acquired the nightclub division of a key competitor which involved the TUPE transfer of approximately 3,000 employees and requested our assistance with all aspects of the transfer.

We gave advice on general matters surrounding TUPE and potential redundancies, dealt with day-to-day issues arising out of the transfer, including the origination and introduction of new contracts and subsequent harmonisation of terms and conditions.

Following this transfer, our own client was subsequently acquired. In total, more than 10,000 employees at 250 venues were affected and we were again involved in this TUPE transfer.  We gave advice and support and implemented revised terms and conditions to help ensure that the transferee complied with the prevailing TUPE requirements.

Staff Turnover Review

Our client, a nationwide uPVC window manufacturer, had major staff recruitment and retention problems. We were assigned to identify the possible reasons behind its inordinately high rate of staff turnover.

Our consultants attended the premises and interviewed those involved in the recruitment, selection, training and supervision of staff. The length, format, content and emphasis of the interviews varied according to the level of each person’s position in that process. Key areas of focus in the interview process were:

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Each interview was conducted on a confidential basis. Our eventual report was based on the results of those interviews in conjunction with our knowledge and experience. Additionally, we considered a variety of statistical information that we had collated, including the number of employees, their respective ages, pay rates and start dates, year-to-date figures for absenteeism and statistics relating to new starters and leavers.

We identified that aside from obvious problems relating to recruitment, selection, induction, training and job design, reasons for high staff turnover could be found in poor or ineffective communication, together with management abilities and styles.

Our report recommended a variety of short and long-term interventions to address the problems.  We conducted a progress review six months later which demonstrated significant improvements in the client’s staff retention.

Grievance Investigation

Our client, a chain restaurant operator operating in 52 locations throughout the UK using several brands, received a formal grievance from an Albanian employee working in one of its restaurants in London’s West End. The subject of his grievance was his French Supervisor.

The complainant alleged he had been discriminated against on the grounds of his race because of a series of derogatory remarks directed towards him and other colleagues who were of various ethnic minorities.

We advised our client to suspend the Supervisor pending investigation, interview all relevant witnesses and prepare witness statements. The upshot of this process was that the Supervisor was then invited to attend a disciplinary hearing.   Read More

During the course of the investigation, it became apparent that the relationship between the Supervisor and complainant had been fraught for some time. The complainant had taken it upon himself to speak on behalf of his colleagues about various misgivings they had about the Supervisor’s management style.

Our client decided that whilst the Supervisor was probably not guilty of race discrimination, his interpersonal style did nothing to endear him to co-workers. He was perceived as being abrupt, aloof and unsociable.

Our client’s provisional view was merely to issue a first written warning against the Supervisor. However, on the basis of his sexuality (he was gay), the complainant’s possible intolerance towards homosexuals and the fact that there was a clear clash of personalities within this particular place of work, we drew our client’s attention to the fact that if things were left as they were in this particular restaurant then the situation would probably boil over at a later date, and that inertia in this regard could risk exposure – not only to further accusations of discrimination, but also to potentially successful claims of constructive dismissal from other employees who had been targeted by the Supervisor. Therefore, in addition to the written warning the Supervisor was relocated to a different site.

By helping our client to clearly identify the issues at hand and anticipate the potential knock-on effects, it achieved an amicable resolution to this situation and also sent the right message out to employees that management was prepared to swiftly tackle genuine workplace grievances. Additionally, we went on to fulfil the training needs identified during this process in relation to management style, equal opportunities and bullying & harassment.