Mike Hibberd

Solicitor | Reading

Mike Hibberd Photo

Mike is an employment and data privacy law expert advising both organisations and senior individuals on a wide range of human resources and related issues.

Mike specialises in helping employers prevent and defend complex and high-value discrimination, unfair dismissal, employment status, equal pay, TUPE, and whistleblowing claims. This sees him regularly in the Employment Tribunal. He also advises clients on data protection issues and specifically helping organisations in a wide range of sectors including hospitality, construction, hotel and leisure, legal and healthcare. Mike helps clients understand their obligations and achieve compliance with both the GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018. Much of his work in this area involves helping clients create a culture where the knowledge of privacy requirements is embedded throughout via GDPR policies and frameworks as well as tailored training. 


Key areas of work include - 

Tribunals - Mike has represented clients at numerous hearings, seeing through cases from start to finish. He also advises organisations in ACAS Early Conciliation to determine what their steps should be at the outset of a claim. His experience of acting for both organisations and individuals provides an excellent insight into the likely tactics and strategies, which many lawyers working solely for employers don’t have experience of, and also enables him to advise individuals more effectively and strategically than lawyers not frequently working with employers. 

Standout results achieved for clients at tribunal hearings include:

  • Successfully striking out a complex disability discrimination claim at a preliminary hearing by arguing the case had “no reasonable prospects of success”.
  • Successfully defending an unfair dismissal and whistleblowing claim and obtaining a substantial costs award against a litigant in person.
  • Obtaining a 100% contributory fault award against a Claimant in an unfair dismissal claim.
  • Obtaining settlement damages for a Claimant of over £1 million in a disability discrimination case. 

In addition to these, through focussing on the bigger picture for clients, he has achieved a number of settlements for organisations which factor in their commercial and practical requirements (including where claims are brought by individuals still employed by the organisation when claiming). 


TUPEs and collective redundancies
- When there is a business takeover (whole or partial), or a change in service provider for services, there could potentially, subject to meeting certain legal requirements, be a transfer subject to TUPE legislation, which provides protection to employees and their terms of employment. Mike regularly advises on TUPE matters for a range of businesses, including at the TUPE consultation stage (including where the existence of a TUPE situation is contested by either party) and representing companies for claims brought in tribunals. 


Employment contracts and handbooks
- While employment contracts are a legal requirement for employers to provide to employees, for all organisations, having policies and handbooks in place is imperative for governing their expectations for staff. Mike has drafted numerous contracts of employment and employee handbooks tailored to suit the needs and size of the business and regularly advises organisations on implementing changes to existing employment terms and conditions. He also advises on post-termination restrictions and their enforceability on behalf of businesses to protect their commercial needs and acted for individuals in response to letters received seeking to enforce post-termination restrictions.


Settlement agreements
- Settlement agreements are frequently used by organisations looking to avoid tribunal or court proceedings by offering an agreement to employees. Mike has considerable experience of drafting and negotiating settlement agreements for employees leaving a business, including for senior executives of major companies. Having advised both employers and employees, Mike is able to suggest favourable terms and is aware of the commercial and practical considerations for both employers and employees in agreeing such terms. 


HR support
- Mike regularly provides clients with day to day HR support, including advising on conducting disciplinary hearings, capability and ill-health hearings, complex grievance investigations and appeals, as well as implement performance improvement plans. 

Data processing agreements and privacy notices - The GDPR’s settling in period is coming to a close and the ICO is becoming increasingly active. During this time and in the lead up to the GDPR, Mike has regularly negotiated and drafted key data protection documents for clients, including data processing and data sharing agreements required under the GDPR. In the negotiations, he has been able to successfully protect clients’ interests, including in agreements negotiated against major sporting organisations such as Premier League football clubs. Mike also regularly drafts privacy notices for businesses to ensure that key information required by the GDPR on personal data being processed by the organisation is clearly set out. He is also a specialist trainer in this area. 

Data subject access requests and other rights of access - The right of access – often referred to as subject access request or DSAR, gives individuals the right to obtain a copy of their personal data as well as other information. It helps individuals to understand how and why organisations are using their data, and check that it is being done lawfully. Mike regularly advises people on exercising these rights of access under the GDPR (and accompanying rights), as well as organisations on how to respond.  


ICO complaints
- With the number of complaints to the ICO rising following the implementation of the GDPR, Mike has been increasingly busy responding on behalf of clients to the ICO. He has assisted clients in liaising with the ICO and responded directly on their behalf to complaints received. Mike also advises on the best way to engage with the ICO to reduce the risks of fines or penalties arising from data breaches. 


Data protection impact assessments
- With data protection  impact assessments (DPIA) needed by organisations to help identify and minimise the data protection risks of projects especially where processing is likely to result in a high risk to individuals, Mike has been particularly busy advising clients on producing and completing data protection impact assessments to ensure organisations remain accountable for their data protection obligations. This includes advising on the format for assessments as well as analysing assessments completed by clients.  


General data protection support
- Mike provides day to day data protection support for organisations and individuals. He regularly advises clients on key aspects of their day to day running of businesses, including the lawful bases on which they may process data, how to decide and implement any data retention periods, how to respond to a data breach and mitigate the impact of such breaches, including whether individuals and/or the ICO need to be notified and whether an organisation should be categorised as a data controller or data processor (and their resulting obligations). 


Training
- Recent training sessions Mike has led include courses on individuals’ data protection rights (and best practices for organisations to respond), organisations’ obligations under the GDPR and how to ensure lawful processing of personal data and bespoke training to HR teams on their handling of personal data in their day to day work.

Experience and qualifications

  • Qualified in September 2015 
  • Specialist in employment law since 2015 


Education and professional memberships

  • University of Durham: Bachelor of Laws (LLB (Hons)) 
  • College of Law: Legal Practice Course (Distinction) 
  • The Law Society 
  • Employment Lawyers Association (ELA) 


To meet Mike's Reading colleagues please click here

To meet more of Mike's employment law colleagues please click here 


To get in touch with Mike, please phone +44 (0)118 951 6765, email him at mhibberd@doyleclayton.co.uk or go to LinkedIn.


For the firm's latest employment law news please click here, thoughts about recent cases click here and insights click here.


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