During a decade at the Bar, Heather has built an impressive reputation in employment law, discrimination law and related areas. Client testimonials have praised Heather as a “highly competent and reliable counsel” who is valued for her “patient and professional conduct”, her “ability to analyse and grasp detailed information” and her “excellent preparation”. They add that she is a “tenacious advocate” who is “razor sharp both in cross-examination and her delivery”.
Heather represents a wide cross-section of businesses, from multinational corporations to SMEs, as well as public bodies and individuals. She has handled numerous cases before the employment tribunals, the Employment Appeal Tribunal and in the High Court; Heather is particularly in-demand for her expertise in disability, sex and race discrimination, sexual orientation, unfair dismissal, redundancy, stress at work, bullying and harassment, whistleblowing and TUPE. Acting for both claimants and respondents, Heather has successfully obtained injunctive relief in the High Court and has substantial experience in discrimination law. She has acted in several high-value cases for and against large organisations and public bodies, including Primary Care Trusts, schools and colleges, local authorities, housing associations, police forces and major airlines. Her professional negligence practice largely relates to the conduct of tribunal proceedings.
Heather regularly presents seminars, mock tribunals and carries out bespoke training on all aspects of Employment Law. She is the author of a monthly employment law update and a regular contributor to chambers’ employment law newsletter. Heather does pro bono work at the Employment Appeal Tribunal for ELAAS and compiles the Pump Court Costs Reports.
As a barrister, I am a specialist legal adviser and court room advocate. I am independent, objective and trained to advise my clients on the strengths and weaknesses of their case. I have specialist knowledge and experience in and out of court, which can make a substantial difference to the outcome of a case. I am also experienced in negotiations and settlement discussions and can help you define your case strategy.
I am ranked in Chambers and Partners 2014 for my expertise in employment law.
Early advice can often save clients the cost and worry of an unnecessary trial. A high proportion of civil and employment cases are settled out of court, and instructing a barrister can greatly strengthen your hand at negotiation. Even at a trial, a well-argued case and good cross-examination will impress a judge and an industrial jury.
By coming to me directly and by undertaking some preparatory work yourself, you can keep your legal costs to a minimum.
I've been involved in these notable cases:
- Warner v Armfield Retail & Leisure Ltd (Contract of Employment: Frustration)  UKEAT 0376_12_0810 (8 October 2013)
- Oni v NHS Leicester City (formerly Leicester City Primary Care Trust) (Practice and Procedure: Costs)  UKEAT 0144_12_1209 (12 September 2012)
- Oni v NHS Leicester City (2011) UKEATPA/1138/11/LA – costs and list of issues.
- Okoro & Okenwa v Taylor Woodrow Construction & Ors (2011) UKEAT/0319/10/ZT – continuous discrimination and jurisdiction.
- Winchester & Eastleigh Healthcare NHS Trust v Walker UKEATPA/1794/10/LA – basic award, continuous service in the NHS.
- McKinnon v Greater Manchester Police (2011) ET – 15 day race discrimination case brought by volunteer.
- Hose Express Thurrock Ltd v Jacomb (2009) UKEAT 0389_08_3103 (unreported) – disability related discrimination (possible reference to the ECJ) following London Borough of Lewisham v Malcolm  1 AC 1399.
- Henry v (1) London Borough of Southwark (2) South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust (2008) – race discrimination; application for review and new evidence; aiding and abetting race discrimination UKEAT/0520/07/DM (unreported).
- Hamilton v Tesco Stores Limited (2007) ET – Damages of £320,000 for Disability Discrimination; overlapping claims in the County Court for Personal Injury and Professional Negligence
RECENT CASES INCLUDE:
- Defending a claim of constructive unfair dismissal on behalf of a housing association. After she successfully cross examined the claimant and substantially reduced the scope of the claim, the claimant decided to withdraw her claim from the employment tribunal altogether.
- Appealing to the Court of Appeal in relation to frustration of contract and disability discrimination.
- Successful disability discrimination and unfair dismissal agaisnt Tesco Stores Ltd.
- Successful sexual harassment and constructive dismissal claim against a recruitment company.
I have been a barrister since 2002. I am passionate about equality and fairness in the workplace. My first experience of fighting discrimination, aged 10, involved my school uniform policy, which prohibited girls from wearing trousers.
The policy was soon overturned!
I am now an expert in law relating to employment and discrimination. I represent and advise employees who have been discriminated against or unfairly dismissed. I also work for businesses, solicitors, professional clients and from members of the public under the Bar's Public Access Scheme (direct access).
I have a particular interest in discrimination and have acted in high value cases for and against large organisations, large accountancy firms, supermarkets and public bodies including primary care trusts, schools, local authorities and police forces. I have also been involved in cases involving SMEs and have assisted many small businesses without a HR function to ensure compliance with employment and equality and diversity legislation.
What my clients say
"We were quoted over £20,000 by a highly regarded employment law firm to defend a sex discrimination case in the employment tribunal. Heather was able to offer the same service for under £10,000 and we were happy to carry out some of the administration and bundle preparation ourselves." Online Training Company, Hampshire.
"I thank you for your patient and professional conduct in dealing with my legal and health problems". Claimant disability discrimination case, Romford, Essex
"Miss Platt is a highly competent and reliable counsel and a credit to her chambers". Employment Solicitor, NW London
"Miss Platt’s ability to analyse and grasp detailed information is second to none and I believe this is helped by the excellent preparations undertaken in all the matters she is instructed in. Miss Platt is a tenacious advocate who I have no hesitation to say is razor sharp both in cross examination and her delivery". Solicitor, Essex
"Heather, thank you so much for the exceptionally helpful and immediate advice today". Partner at GP practice in Southwest London.
"I would like to take the opportunity for thank you for all your all of your hard work. You really have been incredible. You have an innate ability combine sensitivity and kindness with outstanding professionalism and expertise and I am awe of how you conducted our case. What ever the outcome I know that we have had the very best possible representation and I thank you whole heartedly." Client, sexual harassment case, Farnborough.
"I just wanted to thank you for your invaluable support this week in getting the "job done". I have very high expectations of myself and those I work with, this I know can be frustrating for some especially compounded by my over anxious state of mind". Former director of major supermarket
Professional & academic
The University of Liverpool LLB (Hons) English & German Laws
One Essex Court Prize for Advocacy (highest marks in Advocacy examinations at the College Of Law)
Nominated for Teaching Award 2010, 2011 and 2012
Employment Law Bar Association
Employment Lawyers’ Association
Industrial Law Society
Personal Injury Bar Association
Public Access Bar Association
Society of Legal Scholars
Advisory and mediation work
Bespoke employer training for SMEs including tribunal simulations
Tactical advice to employers during disciplinary and grievance procedures
Webinars for CLT and DataLaw
Lectures in employment and discrimination law at City University, London
Chambers’ seminar programme, bespoke in-house training and Webinars
CLT Webinar Employment Status (August 2012)
Handle with Kid Gloves (2011) NLJ 762
Out for the Count! (2010) NLJ 1209
Employment: Stress alert! (2009) 159 NLJ 1494
Access all areas (2006) 156 NLJ 1668
On shaky ground (2006) 156 NLJ 91