Bird & Bird & SunLaw: Legal Issues for The Big Return

With Governments lifting COVID-19 restrictions and encouraging businesses to reopen, employers are facing a new set of considerations, from the physical challenges of how to maintain productivity whilst also ensuring a safe working environment, to addressing concerns and adjustments for employees returning to the office. Legal considerations will need to be folded into return to office plans, and employers will need to consider both the short-term implications, and the long-term impact of changes in the way they operate as they come out of the pandemic.

To work through some of these issues we hosted a panel event with partner network SunLaw, a US based female in-house counsel network currently expanding into the UK and Europe. This event was principally aimed at in-house counsel with responsibility for HR/employment matters but the discussion should also be of interest to anyone with responsibility for people issues in their organisation.

Our international panel shared their experiences and the risks they have had to address as employment advisers. Topics for discussion included:

  • Vaccination policies
  • Discrimination issues
  • Different working methods including hybrid models
  • Contractual changes
  • Office-based working
  • Resilience/mental health issues for employees returning

Sonia Hadjadj (Director of UK/Europe Membership at SunLaw) introduced the event, which was chaired by Alison Dixon (Partner, International HR Services at Bird & Bird London). Alison was joined by a panel of employment experts including Feyi Obafemi (Senior Director, Global Employment at Qlik); Nicola Whittfield (Global Senior Employment Counsel at Gilead) and Adam Rosenthal (Partner, Labor and Employment at Sheppard Mullin).

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