Martha McKinley

Employment Law Solicitor and Senior Associate


Martha is a senior associate solicitor in the employment law department.

After graduating from the University of York with an english degree in 2004, Martha completed the law conversion course and then the legal practice course in Manchester. Martha began work as a paralegal at Stephensons’ Manchester office in 2009. The following year she began her training contract and worked in Wigan, Bolton, St Helens and Leigh before qualifying into the employment law team in 2012. In 2017 Martha was appointed a senior associate of the firm.

Martha is based in our Wigan office and deals with all aspects of claimant and respondent work. She is supervised by Philip Richardson.

Martha frequently advises claimants in relation to the following areas:

  • Advice on bringing and defending a wide range of claims for unfair dismissal, including claims relating to redundancy, alleged gross misconduct, “whistle-blowing” and raising health and safety concerns;
  • Assist employees who have not been paid the correct wages or who have had money taken out of their pay without their agreement
  • Provide guidance to employees undergoing disciplinary and grievance procedures
  • Advise employees and workers who have been unfairly treated, discriminated against or harassed in the workplace
  • Assist employees when the identity of their employer has been transferred (known as “TUPE” transfers)

Martha also advises extensively on settlement agreements (formerly known as compromise agreements) and provide ongoing HR advice through our Workplace Assist and Workplace Plus packages.

Martha often comments on employment law issues in the media. She has recently appeared on BBC News, BBC Radio 4 and BBC London News. She has also recently made comment in the following titles: The Guardian, The Daily Mail, The Evening Standard

Cases of Interest

1) The claimant was employed to fit stair lifts by a large regional company. He had been employed by the respondent for a number of years and suffered from a severe nervous system disorder and spine condition. He was dismissed due to frustration of contract as the respondent concluded he could no longer carry out his duties.

Following an interim hearing in which she advised the employment judge of the circumstances of the dismissal, in particular the respondent’s failure to obtained medical evidence or consider any reasonable adjustments, the respondent settled the claim for the sum of £10,000.

2) Martha acted on behalf of a care home facing a claim from an employee who had been employed for less than four months and, following serious concerns about her conduct and performance, had been dismissed. The employee in question claimed that she had been discriminated against on the grounds of her sex and pregnancy as she alleged she had informed the respondent of her pregnancy some hours before she was dismissed.

We were able to provide evidence to support the respondent’s case that concerns about the claimant’s conduct had been ongoing throughout her probationary period and that this was the true reason for her dismissal. Shortly after she advised the claimant that her claim was weak, she withdrew her claim at an early stage of the proceedings.

3) Martha acted on behalf of an employee of a large charitable organisation who alleged he was unfairly dismissed following a flawed investigation and disciplinary process. The claimant was accused of bringing the respondent’s name into disrepute by making obscene comments in public regarding the respondent and threatening a service user.

The tribunal found in favour of the claimant in a claim where the evidence was finely balanced and the claim was settled for £9,000 before the remedy hearing took place.

4) Martha acted on behalf of a security guard dismissed by his employer on the grounds that it was no longer safe for him to carry out his role due to his age. At no point during the claimant’s eight years of service had his ability to carry out his role ever been criticised by his employer.

In correspondence with the tribunal the respondent admitted that it would not have treated a younger employee in the same manner. The respondent refused to attend the final hearing, at which the employment judge was heavily critical of the respondent’s actions. The claimant won the sum of £22,500 as a result of the unfair and discriminatory conduct of the respondent.

5) Martha assisted a claimant from a Romany gypsy background who suffered racial and sexual harassment in the workplace. Martha advocated strongly in our client’s favour and the Judge was extremely critical of the Employer’s conduct and defence to the claim. Racial and sexual abuse had plagued the claimant throughout her life, however she had hoped that in a professional environment she would have been protected from this kind of treatment. When the employer and its management conducted its racial and sexual harassment of the claimant, this had a profound, adverse effect on the claimant provoking flashbacks to the previous abuse she had suffered together with crippling anxiety and panic attacks. Relying on this context, after weeks of negotiation, we were able to achieve a rewarding settlement for the client.

6) Martha represented a claimant in respect of an unfair dismissal claim in the employment tribunal. In this case, the claimant, who had given 11 years’ service to the company with a clean record, was dismissed for gross misconduct for failing to report an accident. The claimant had a fall at work and reported this to two managers who had declined to record the incident. The Judge found that the claimant had made reasonable attempts to report the incident and had never sought to conceal it. It concluded that the employer’s decision fell outside the band of reasonable responses and the dismissal was “unfair”. The claimant subsequently received a settlement which adequately compensated him for the loss he had suffered.

What others think

"The whole experience of working with the Martha my solicitor from Stephensons was excellent. She gave great advice and was open and honest with her responses. She responded quickly and worked hard at trying to get a resolution for me."
View from a satisfied client

"Thank you for everything that you have done for me. I suppose this process could be one of the most stressful, but I must admit your calmness and assuredness, helped me to feel that all was under control and I need not worry. For this reason I cannot thank you enough."

View from a satisfied client

“Just wanted to drop you a note to express my appreciation of the way that one of your team dealt with my case recently, Martha McKinley. I was impressed by her approach and attitude.”

View from a satisfied client

“Firstly I would like to thank you for your professional and considered appraisal of my case and the efficient way it has been handled.”

"I wanted to thank you very much for all your work on my behalf. I would not hesitate to recommend you to family or friends should they ever need legal help.Your professionalism and kindness helped me through the difficult process and I am much obliged to you."

"I need to thank you for your help and kind words of enthusiasm over the past 11 months... I know you were doing your job, but you have been great, whether talking on the phone or sending updates by email. Thank you also for constant reassurance and advice. I feel that a huge weight has been lifted"

"I am very happy with the service that I have received from Stephensons."

View from a satisfied client

From the outset my queries were dealt with quickly and efficiently – many other firms that I contacted took much longer to get back to me, and were difficult to reach.

Martha provided good advice and allayed my fears when I had certain queries that were worrying me. She also provided services that were above and beyond that expected, helping me to redraft my letter, and providing me with help and guidance every step of the way.

Needless to say, I received a favourable outcome on my case, and I believe it was all down to the professional and reliable service that Martha provided.

I would highly recommend Martha and Stephensons if you have an employment case that you need to resolve."

View from a satisfied client