Simon Stephen

Simon's approach to employment law issues is hands on and pragmatic. With 14 years' experience at Gowling WLG and four years' experience of working in the Employee Relations (ER) team of a global financial institution he has a real – and unique - understanding of a client's viewpoint, including the need for practical guidance at an early stage in order to have control over risk, cost and commercial objectives.

Whilst working across the whole range of employment issues (including contracts, TUPE, equal pay, business protection and collective consultation), Simon leads in financial services, regulated industries and in the professional services sector. He specialises in high-profile complex employee relations issues, senior severance negotiations and investigations including whistleblowing and discrimination. Here, his in-house experience proves invaluable.

As an ER Specialist he provided advice and training to internal HR and businesses across the whole ambit of employee relations issues from collective consultation to managing mental health in the workplace. He also ran his own diverse caseload of internal and complex ER cases, including grievances, disciplinary investigations, appeals and whistle-blowing cases. He supported internal stakeholders (such as compliance, legal and anti-fraud teams) with investigations and other issues to ensure legal and regulatory requirements were met. He was also responsible for ER internal governance and compliance, including global responsibility for tracking and reporting on ER MI (internally and for external regulators) and working with global reward teams to ensure obligations were met in relation to employee compensation. This gives him a unique insight into the wider internal context of employee relations issues, conduct risk frameworks, culture change and also dealing with regulators and external expectations.

Experience

  • When not undertaking investigations himself, Simon regularly instructs third party independent investigators and supports clients on various investigations and disciplinary matters for senior staff including conducting successful mediations.
  • Carrying out an independent investigation into allegations that an in-house solicitor had mislead a court. The investigation involved complex facts, individuals and regulatory issues.
  • Lead investigator into a cultural and environmental review for a client following numerous allegations identifying potential cultural issues in relation to bullying, sexism and harassment.
  • Advising a financial services client, in conjunction with our financial regulation team, on the employment aspects of cross border working.
  • Advising a law firm client on a broad range of ER issues from TUPE consultations following team moves, partner exits, grievances to employment tribunal and restrictive covenant advice.
  • Advising financial services clients on the application of the Senior Manager & Certification Regime – including advice on contract amendments, regulated references, regulator notifications and conducting conduct rule training.

Career & Recognition

Filter timeline:
  • 2019

    • Career
      July 2019
      Gowling WLG (UK), legal director
  • 2015

    • Career
      January 2015
      Deutsche Bank, employee relations specialist
  • 2014

    • Career
      May 2014
      Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co, associate
  • 2008

    • Career
      June 2008
      Wragge & Co LLP, associate
  • 2004

    • Career
      September 2004
      Wragge & Co LLP, solicitor
    • Qualifications (Year of Call/Admission, etc.)
       2004
      Qualified, Solicitor of England & Wales
  • 2002

    • Career
      September 2002
      Wragge & Co LLP, trainee
    • Education
       2002
      College of Law, LPC
  • 2001

    • Education
       2001
      University of Birmingham, Law and French (LLB)
  • 2000

    • Education
       2000
      Université de Limoges, Diplôme d’Etudes Juridiques