With the final gender pay gap reporting regulations around the corner, and a host of other employment law issues set to come to the fore in 2017, we were delighted to welcome a packed audience and distinguished speakers from Google and consultants Mercer to our recent November employment seminar hosted by the Baker McKenzie London Employment team.

We were keen to ensure that the seminar reflected our clients' key HR / employment law concerns and so we began the event with a short film where 3 of our clients kindly spoke to our theme of "What's on your mind?"

Having set the agenda, we began with a summary of key employment trends to be aware of both now and in the future. Discussions included the potential risks and benefits for employers of the "gig economy" and the current trend towards new models of flexible staffing / working patterns.

Brexit, an issue front-of-mind for all our attendees, was unsurprisingly on the agenda and we offered some practical steps that employers could take at this stage to navigate the current employment uncertainties. A poll of our attendees revealed that the majority currently employ over 20% of EU27 workers who will potentially be affected by Brexit.

The ability to monitor employees' activities in the workplace is often crucially important for employers, particularly in the context of investigations into potential misconduct. Our second session pinpointed the steps that employers can take to ensure that legally-compliant systems and processes are in place, including a quick-view checklist for HR and legal teams. The session also considered the wider implications for employers of the new EU General Data Protection Regulation.

With mandatory gender pay gap reporting for larger employers set to come into force in 2017, our third panel session was devoted to exploring the legal and practical implications of this new reporting requirement. We summarised the effect and scope of the current draft proposals, highlighting areas where the final regulations are expected to differ. Allison Brown, Google’s Director of Legal–Employment, shared insights from an employer's perspective, whilst Chris Charman, Principal at Mercer, highlighted steps that employers could take to manage risk areas in relation to gender pay disparities.

Our final session took attendees through a fictional workplace dispute case study aimed at highlighting recent case law and best practice on handling disciplinaries and dismissals, including the practical issue of ensuring that the role of HR goes no further than appropriate during a disciplinary process.

Our Annual Employment Update is just one of an ongoing series of invitation-only events that we hold throughout the year at our London office. If you are interested in attending future events by the London Employment team please contact Carina Salem.

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