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Finalists: Anjarwalla & Khanna (highly commended); Fasken Martineau; Hogan Lovells; PLMJ, Law Firm.

ENSafrica’s handling of a tough cross-border retrenchment programme earned it the Employment Law Team of the Year title.

The situation was compounded by the fact the firm’s client had never laid off any staff before, instead giving its workers paid special leave when business dried up so they could easily be reinstated when the market improved. Yet with an uncertain industry backdrop and a significant slowdown in its order book, the client had to significantly reduce headcount to survive. ENSafrica was tasked with ensuring the downsizing process was carried out fairly and with as little disruption as possible.

Due to time constraints and contention over traditional voluntary severance packages, employees selected for retrenchment were given the chance to accept additional compensation on top of their redundancy payment, in exchange for waving their rights to challenge the decision. Out of the 248 individuals that were made redundant, only one contested the outcome, allowing the client to cull its workforce by more than a third.

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