Corporate Governance

Employment Policies – What We Need and Why We Need Them

  • Digital Event
  • April 14, 2021 @ 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm UTC-1

How relevant and up to date are your employment policies? The aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic will lead to a re-writing of policies in certain areas, especially regarding home working and absence. You will probably have updated your data protection policy in response to GDPR. High profile events often prompt a complete re-write. But what about the ones you haven’t looked at for years? Have they stood the test of time? Do they contain old-fashioned language, once deemed acceptable but now seen as offensive? Are they policies designed for your business of ten years ago but less relevant to how you work today?

For many organisations, the policies manual has traditionally been something that has grown over time and has rarely, if ever, been reviewed. For many years, having out of date policies carried little risk.

But the business and social environment has changed. Companies are now held to account over policy questions by employees, shareholders and the media. They are now far more likely to be called upon to define, explain and justify the values and the detailed provisions that are embedded in the policies that they apply within their organisation.

This session and the accompanying report will revisit the entire concept of employment policies and their use in organisations from both a legal and a social perspective. How are they used – and what do they tell us about the employer brand? What legacy policies might come back to bite us?

We will consider:

  • What employment policies should a company have?
  • What should they cover?
  • Who owns them?
  • What do you do with them when you’ve got them?
  • What is the legal status of your policies?
  • What are the implications of making them contractual or non-contractual?
  • What is their purpose – to police / to encourage / to manage risk / to ensure fairness and consistency?

The Covid-19 pandemic will be a catalyst and opportunity to review employment policies that may be based on outdated working practices and patterns.

We will look at how employment policies need to evolve and how to revise them in a way that will both remove risk and strengthen your employer brand.


Elizabeth Graves

Employment Partner, Eversheds Sutherland

Elizabeth is an employment partner in the Human Resources Practice Group at Eversheds Sutherland. She joined in 2011 having worked in the employment, pensions and benefits team at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP for over 10 years. Elizabeth co-leads Eversheds Sutherland’s Global International Life Sciences sector team. She is described by Legal 500 as “a leading light in cross-border employment matters … clients describe her as ‘an exceptional lawyer – dependable and commercial with high emotional intelligence and good regulatory insight”. She is also ranked as an Acritas Star Lawyer. Elizabeth acts predominantly for clients in the life sciences, financial services and technology sectors. She is highly experienced in managing the employment aspects of cross-border M&A transactions and in managing day-to-day international employment advice for clients in multiple countries as well as major international projects. Her contentious workload involves the management of complex high-value employment tribunal litigation, often involving discrimination and/or whistle blowing. Elizabeth has also acted in a number of cases involving transfers of undertakings, including a £50m claim for failure to inform and consult. Elizabeth has completed secondments to two financial institutions and to one global media company as VP International Employment law. She is regularly quoted in the press and media and is the co-editor of Bloomsbury’s Financial Services – an Employment Practitioner’s Guide. She is a keen supporter of diversity, acting as a Gender Network Champion for Eversheds Sutherland.

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Steven Toft

Consultant and Business Writer

Steven is a writer, business consultant and award-wining blogger, and was previously with the consulting practice of PricewaterhouseCoopers. He has written for The Guardian, The New Statesman and Prospect, and featured on People Management’s list of the Top 20 social media influencers.

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Martin Warren

Industrial Relations Expert and Employment Lawyer

Martin is a recognised industrial relations expert and employment lawyer with significant Board and Human Resources experience gained at law firm Eversheds Sutherland (International) LLP for over 30+ years. Martin was responsible for the strategy of the firm’s labour law/ industrial relations group and for supporting a portfolio of major clients.

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