Audrey Williams

Of Counsel

T +44 20 7825 3328
audrey.williams@simmons-simmons.com

General Experience

With extensive experience as a partner in an international law firm, Audrey has worked with many large organisations and household names. Audrey advises on sensitive HR issues, contentious matters, restructures and executive terms and terminations.

She is an experienced tribunal advocate and her work includes defending class actions such as equal pay. Audrey has worked with expert bodies including ACAS and CityHR, as well as clients, on diversity and inclusion, unconscious bias, positive action schemes and gender pay.

Clients recommend her commercial approach and describe her as a lawyer who has “a thorough grasp of the commercial practicalities of so many aspects of employment law and its practical application in the workplace”. Chambers & Partners UK ranks her as a notable practitioner in her field. Chambers UK describes Audrey as "excellent" and clients praise her "outstanding level of knowledge and professionalism."

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Recent Work
  • advising a plc client in the transport sector on a complex fraud investigation. The work included advising on the collation of evidence, internal process and anti-bribery policy
  • working with a technology business to enforce intellectual property provisions relating to a key client retention program, breach of confidentiality restraints and enforcement proceedings
  • providing advice to a number of plc and major employers in a range of sectors on their compliance with new gender pay reporting obligations. Work included advising ACAS on the best practice guidance, giving evidence to the Women & Equality Committee on the gender pay gap and work on the Women in Finance Charter
  • working with a major pharmaceutical plc on the commercial terms and Acquired Rights Directive implications of outsourcing clinical trials in central Europe across 4 jurisdictions. Working alongside international colleagues on cross border reductions in workforce and termination of senior staff involving conflict of laws, international conventions and mandatory laws
  • assisting clients with complex management issues in the work place including personality clashes and religious conflict. Resolving these conflicts through workplace and external mediation and potential dismissals arising out of a breakdown in working relationships.
Background

Audrey is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, having qualified as a graduate in 1995 and becoming a fellow in 2005. She joined Simmons & Simmons in 2017.

Audrey has an extensive corporate client base including many household names such as GlaxoSmithKline, Sony UK, Tata Steel, First Group, Smith’s Group, The British Library and the FCA.

She has strong relationships with key intermediaries including: ACAS, the Confederation of British Industry (she provided advice on Government and EU proposals in the field of discrimination law), Opportunity Now (Business in The Community) and Business Disability International.

Her experience and expertise is such that she has given evidence to Parliamentary Select Committees on two occasions: on disability on behalf of the CBI and to the Women & Equalities' Committee on the gender pay gap. Audrey was a also member of a recent working party established by the Employment Lawyers' Association responding to the UK Government's proposals on Corporate Governance, addressing issues such as reform of directors' duties, pay and accountability.

Audrey has authored a number of books including "Family Working Rights" (The Stationery Office) and "Harassment at Work" (Jordan).