Philip Richardson

Partner & Head of Employment Law

Phil became a Partner in 2014 and has been the employment law team leader since 2008. He studied law at Lancaster University, spending a year abroad studying law and German at Trier University in Germany. After the completion of his degree Phil went on to attend the College of Law in York before commencing a training contract with Stephensons in 2002, qualifying into the employment law department as a solicitor in September 2004.

Phil remains the employment department’s team leader at its Middlebrook office, servicing clients on a nationwide basis from Stephensons’ offices in London, Manchester, Bolton, Wigan, St. Helens and Leigh. He has particular expertise in advising employers on a range of contentious and non contentious issues. Phil frequently advises companies on the following:

  • Drafting and negotiation of terms and conditions of employment, service agreements and policies and procedures
  • Providing advice on recruitment
  • Advising on performance/capability issues
  • Dealing with grievances
  • Advising on TUPE
  • Dealing with disciplinary matters/dismissal
  • Restructuring and redundancy
  • Defending all types of tribunal claims including unfair dismissal, all types of discrimination claims, wrongful dismissal and breach of contract

Phil provides ongoing advice and assistance to Stephensons’ clients through its tailored HR and employment law packages: Workplace Plus, Workplace Assist and Workplace Connect.

Phil is a regular guest speaker at regional business network seminars and a member of the Employment Lawyers Association.

Phil is also a regular media commentator on employment issues and was most recently quoted in The Times. He was recently involved in an employment media campaign which gained numerous pieces of coverage. 

Cases of interest

1. Phil acted on behalf of a well known retail client. Our client defended a claim brought by an ex-employee who alleged that she had been discriminated against on grounds of pregnancy and discrimination. Notwithstanding the substantive elements of the claim being weak, these claims had been raised by the employee out of time.

Following two preliminary hearings Phil was successful in seeking to have the claims struck out on the basis that the tribunal did not consider it reasonable to exercise its discretion. During the course of proceedings we were able to demonstrate that the employee had sufficient time to be able to raise her claims and that the complications alleged relating to her pregnancy did not prevent her from being able to have issued her claims.

2. Phil acted on behalf of a manufacturing client in defending claims for constructive unfair dismissal and age discrimination. The former employee sought to claim that he had been effectively forced to leave the company under bad terms and that various aspects of the company’s practice were discriminatory. We were able to provide evidence to support that it had always been the employee’s intention to retire and therefore that his claims were vexatious and without merit.

The matter proceeded to a preliminary hearing for further discussion. Shortly after that preliminary hearing, and after being put on notice of costs being awarded against him if he continued with the litigation, the claimant withdrew his claim in full.

3. Phil acted on behalf of a dentistry practice in defence to a claim brought by a dentist. In this particular case the dentist did not have the requisite service to raise a claim for ordinary unfair dismissal and issued claims alleging she was dismissed as a result of raising health and safety concerns or because she had blown the whistle. The employee claimed that she should be entitled to career long losses; her claims for automatic unfair dismissal were vigorously defended and dismissed following trial.

4. Phil acted on behalf of a leading construction PLC in defending a claim for unfair dismissal. In this particular case the client had followed a detailed procedure before dismissing an employee whom they reasonably suspected was impaired by drugs after crashing a company vehicle. The employee was subsequently tested and found to have take cannabis. The unrepresented employee failed to appreciate the significance of continuing with proceedings despite the fact that his claim had little or no merit. We successfully defended the proceedings at the employment tribunal, with the judge observing that the employee’s claim was misconceived.

5. Phil acted on behalf of a local authority in defending claims for unfair dismissal, whistleblowing, disability discrimination and religious discrimination. In defending the claim we acted for seven separate respondents which involved co-ordinating seven separate ET3 and grounds of resistance on behalf of the respondents as well as separate witness statements. This claim involved both tribunal and employment appeal tribunal proceedings and was successfully resolved following mediation between the parties. Phil was involved in all aspects of the claim.

6. Phil acts on behalf of an early years’ provider with over 40 nurseries across England and Scotland. Phil is called upon to attend meetings with trade union representatives where any issues or grievances are raised on behalf of their members. He is therefore fully familiar in terms of trade union legislation and the need to take pro-active steps on behalf of respondent clients where such disputes are concerned.

View from a satisfied client

“I feel Phil Richardson provided an excellent service, keeping me informed at all stages and providing clear and concise advice. He is a credit to your firm.”