Emma Bufton helps clients to find practical solutions to tricky employment issues in the workplace, from managing long-term sickness absence to complex grievance and disciplinary matters. Emma works with clients to understand their organisation, key drivers and objectives and their appetite for risk, to reach a solution that is not only workable but achieves what they want it to achieve in a smart and commercial way.
Emma enjoys building relationships with her clients, where they pick up the phone to her because they know that she can help them manage the problem that's crossing their desk. A genuine relationship absolutely helps with fitting the pieces of the puzzle together with the client and working to come up with the most viable solutions for them.
In addition to general HR advice, Emma regularly assists clients with managing employment disputes in both the High Court and employment tribunals. Her particular area of specialist interest is business protection. Recent cases have involved safeguarding clients' confidential information in Formula 1 racing, dealing with team-moves in financial services and enforcing post termination restrictions.
Her expertise has also been called on by clients in relation to restructuring and TUPE, dismissals as well as contract and handbook reviews.
- Working on an injunction that was served on our client days before the Christmas break! Our clients were in a difficult situation, but had accepted the hand they had been dealt and wanted to reach a practical solution as quickly and cost-effectively as possible. Between the pressures of the case and the timing it was definitely high tension, but we managed to vacate the return date of the hearing and achieved settlement a month later.
- Acting for our client to defend complex discrimination, harassment and whistleblowing claims brought by a former in-house lawyer in the employment tribunal. This was a hard fought battle but one in which our client was ultimately victorious, securing the withdrawal by the claimant of all of their claims. In light of this success, the client has approached Emma to ask her to act for them again in a further two new claims.
- Investigating a large number of allegations of wrongdoing from a senior lawyer in our client's in-house legal team. We were asked to investigate the allegations made, analyse their merits and report our findings to the client's board. As a number of the allegations concerned alleged wrongdoing in different jurisdictions this required us to work hand in glove with different law firms in producing the report.
Emma also co-Chairs ThinkHouse Foundations, a programme exclusive to Gowling WLG which offers events and resources for in-house lawyers of up to five years PQE.
Financial services institutions and tech clients, both global and UK-based, manufacturing and engineering companies, travel and transport, local authorities and other public sector bodies.
- Preventing an engineer from taking highly confidential information to a rival Formula 1 team by keeping him out of F1 for an entire season;
- acting for a supermarket client in respect of negotiating TUPE schedules with three potential new providers to supply our client's IT services
- negotiating the exit package for a senior employee in our client's business with access to highly sensitive and confidential information
- advising a university on a major restructuring exercise.