Vanessa James



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Vanessa is a Partner in the Employment Team with vast experience in all aspects of employment law. Vanessa qualified in 2002. 

With over 15 years of practice, Vanessa covers the full remit of employment law support and advice with particular focus on protection of confidential information, enforcement of post termination restrictions, senior staff/executive/director moves and complex employee relations matters.  

Vanessa is experienced in supporting employers and high net worth individuals through the complex areas of workplace disputes and business protection. With a reputation for strong, clear, pragmatic advice and high success rates, Vanessa advises her clients across all elements of the employment relationship with specific areas of expertise being sex and disability discrimination, equal pay, wages issues (National Minimum Wage, holiday pay, bonus disputes), working time, TUPE, whistleblowing, Director/shareholder disputes, business protection (post-termination restrictions, protection of confidential information and clients), union issues and managing high level team or senior executive transitions (either exits or arrivals). Although Vanessa advises across the full spectrum of businesses and organisations she has expert sector knowledge in housing, homelessness, healthcare, contract/travel caterers and insurance brokers.

Relevant experience

  • A global engineering firm: Supported a global company who design, build, finance and operate with the restructuring of their recent acquisition of a well-known architectural practice. This included negotiating and finalising terms of exit for the senior management team (including the CEO of the acquired business) followed by the restructure of the wider workforce as part of a significant efficiency programme extending over 12 months. As the acquired business was so well known the client (as the acquirer) had been demonised in the construction industry press which increased the complexity of the advice and support that were required at every level.
  • London based housing association specialising in homelessness: Supported the Chair of the Board of Trustees to address complex and serious allegations involving the executive team in a challenging post-merger environment. Advice covered whistleblowing, employee relations and wider issues of governance and trustee removal. As a consequence of Vanessa's support the Chair was able to fully address all and any issues of whistleblowing appropriately and maintain strong governance boundaries to ensure that the senior executive were not needlessly undermined and disbanded during a very difficult transitional period for the organisation.
  • National AIM listed provider of care services for adults and children with learning disabilities: Successfully defended an AIM listed employer against High Court injunctive relief and damages proceedings by the former employer of a newly appointed Director.
  • Female Director (international executive search/recruitment): Acting for the Operations Director of an international recruitment consultancy covering matters of sex discrimination and Equal Pay from the initial tactical advice on addressing the issues internally though resignation and the eventual negotiation and agreement of a substantial settlement package.
  • National AIM listed provider of care services for adults and children with learning disabilities: Successfully defended a national care provider against a County Court claim of negligent misstatement in a reference including the full recovery of legal costs from the Claimant.
A very responsive, efficient and personal service, a very pragmatic lawyer with a good commercial awareness.

Chambers and Partners