Sophie Garner Employment

Call: 1990


Sophie is an experienced specialist in employment and discrimination law whose caseload encompasses the full range of employment and discrimination disputes in the Employment Tribunal, EAT and High Court. She particular enjoys claims involving difficult or novel points of discrimination law. Her personable manner and tenacity in against the odds cases are characteristics that make her popular with lay and professional clients alike.

She lectures regularly both in-house and externally on employment and discrimination law and was called to give evidence on behalf of the Discrimination Law Association in November 2012 to the Select Committee on Women in the Workplace.

Her approach to employment and industrial disputes is informed by her extensive experience of voluntary work as a trustee/director, through which Sophie has gained a broad knowledge and understanding of organisational management and governance. She qualified as a company secretary (ACIS) in 2002.

Sophie is a member of St Philips ADR Group and accepts direct public access work.

Sophie was co-founder and is now a patron of Amicus, of the legal human rights charity.

Since 1990 Sophie has used her broad skills base in both law and organisational governance to take on a variety of senior voluntary roles e.g. chair, treasurer, trustee, company secretary. She currently holds positions as a trustee for one charity (DLA), and is director/company secretary of a second voluntary organisation as well as leading the development of a new voluntary organisation dealing with aspects of community cohesion.

Sophie was successfully nominated at one of the Law Societys Pro Bono Heroes for 2009.

What the directories say:

Sophie is recommended in the Legal 500 2011 as technically strong and client friendly.

Recent Cases:

A sample of the types of cases that Sophie deals with on a regular basis:

Successfully argued a foster carer was in employment for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010 arguing European legislation in support of the contention that the Court of Appeal authority on the Employment Rights Act should not be applied across to the comparable discrimination legislation.

Advised on the rights of an employer where in connection with threatened strike action in relation to the legality of the strike, injunctive relief and control of striking employees.

Representing the respondent in a novel claim of perceived disability discrimination where claimant denied she was disabled.

5 day unfair dismissal claim involving multiple and serious allegations of bullying over an extended period.

Claim of extensive disability and sex discrimination over an extended period of time leading to severe psychological injury and full career loss. On going.

8 day disability discrimination claim against public employer where claimant had been seconded to second respondent. Included complex issues relating to the state of employers knowledge.

Advising on the application of equal pay provisions to male employees of a union.

On a frequent basis Sophie advises on terms of severance packages for senior employees, on behalf of employees and employers.

Reported Cases:

Simpson v Intralinks [2012] I.L.Pr. 34; [2012] Eq. L.R. 732 (EAT)- Employee brought claim in UK Tribunal under German contract of employment. EAT considered the allocation of jurisdiction under conflict of laws in cases with overseas employees, where sex discrimination and equal pay claims made.

Owens v Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council [2011] I.C.R. 453 (CA) determination by the Court of Appeal of whether a counsellor working in education qualified as a teacher under the Teachers Pension Scheme.

Mr D Chambers & 8 Others v QCR Motors Ltd (In Voluntary Liquidation), ADAC Paintbox Ltd (2010) UKEAT/0545/09/MW Time limit for presentation of claim where date of transfer had been disputed.

Luke v Stoke on Trent City Council [2007] IRLR 777 (CA) – employers decision to stop pay on employees failure to cooperate with return to work plan following extended period of absence. Necessity of implying a term that the employer need not pay salary in these circumstances considered.

Bell v Governing Body of Grampian Primary School [2007] All ER (D) 148 (Aug) – EAT claim considering the correct application of the rule on reduction of compensatory award for conduct.

Harris v Ralph Martindale & Co Ltd [2007] All ER (D) 347 (Dec) – assessment of the fairness of employer’s redundancy selection procedure and its effect on the amount of compensation awarded.

Barwise v Chief Constable of West Midlands Police [2004] EWCA 1876 (Admin) – inference drawn from conduct as to intention to retire – Police Regulations 2003 SI 2003/527.

Chief Constable of Kent v Baskerville [2003]EWCA Civ 1354 (CA), [2003] ICR 1463 (EAT) – sex discrimination: application of s41(3) of SDA to police as officer holders.

Articles and Publications:

Sophie is a contributor to ‘Discrimination in Employment’ by Tucker and George (Thomson/Sweet and Maxwell) Chapter on Positive Action. Sophie makes regular contributions to the DLA’s ‘Briefings’ publication and is the editor of the local authority employment law section of the website. Sophie has assisted in the drafting of response documents to government consultations on equality law, and took the lead on the DLAs written evidence for the 2012 Select Committee on Women in the Workplace.

Qualifications and Appointments:

LLB Hons (1989)

ACIS (2002)

Accredited Commercial Mediator CEDR (2000)

ADR Group (2009)

Accredited Workplace Mediator, Globis (2011)

Patron of Amicus Charity since 2012


Association of Midland Mediators

Discrimination Law Association (Executive Committee Member)

Employment Lawyers Association

Employment Law Bar Association

Associate of the Chartered Institute of Secretaries


Sophie has specialised in employment and discrimination law since 2001. Her current practice involves employment cases of a more complex nature including discrimination claims; equal pay claims, whistleblowing claims; TUPE disputes; industrial relations; directors disputes; and cases where multiple parties or senior executives/directors are involved. Sophies advocacy work is generally made up of multi-day hearings in the Tribunal and she regularly appears in the Employment Appeal Tribunal. She also undertakes High Court work relating to employment rights, discrimination, restrictive covenants and confidential information.

Her clients come from all sectors and she represents both claimants and respondents. Many of her respondent clients are educational institutions at primary, secondary and tertiary level and public sector employers e.g. probation trusts, local authorities, NHS trusts, and police authorities.

She regularly advises and lectures on all aspects of employment and discrimination law and the application of the public sector equality duty.

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Sophie's main interest lies in the field of discrimination law and she has substantial experience in representing both claimant and respondents in this field. She is able to bring a solid knowledge of discrimination law and practice and combine it with her extensive experience of representing a wide variety of individuals and organisations in relation to discrimination issues. Her practice includes equal pay claims.

Recent notable cases have involved issues such as the application of the Equality Act 2010 to a non-typical category of employee using European law; an EAT claim relating to the applicability of equal pay and sex discrimination legislation to a woman employed outside of the UK; and a disability discrimination claim involving full career loss.

As well as dealing with the usual range of tribunal and High Court employment related work, Sophie also has recent experience of administrative law where it involves employment or discrimination related issues in the public sector and third sector disputes.

Sophie has lectured extensively on most aspects of discrimination law, including the public sector equality duty and other discrimination policy areas, and is able to accommodate requests for lecturing or seminars on this area of law.

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Employment in the High Court

Sophie moved from chambers in London to join St Philips in 2002. She practises exclusively in Employment Law with a particular emphasis on Discrimination Law. Her practice covers all aspects of employment litigation before the Employment Tribunals, Employment Appeal Tribunal, High Court and she has higher appellate court experience.

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