Bellaw | Innangard Virtuele Conferentie - The world of work: The…
Logo Innangard executives

Innangard held its first virtual conference on 24 and 25 March 2021, bringing together six international panels of distinguished speakers that included leading scientists, politicians, in-house professionals and global HR and employment law experts, to share insights and discuss how the world of work and their organisations have adapted and will develop in 2021 and beyond.

We are pleased to bring you podcast recordings for the following sessions.

Social Movements Impacting the World of Work

Rohan Burn, Senior Associate at People + Culture Strategies, Innangard’s Australian member firm, chaired this fascinating panel discussion accompanied by Schona Jolly QC, Barrister and human rights expert from Cloisters Chambers (UK), Ma Eugenia Gay Rosell, Dean of the Barcelona School of Law and Chair of the Barcelona Bar Association in Spain and Beth Hale, Partner and General Counsel at CM Murray LLP, the UK Innangard member firm.

The panel discussed some of the pros and cons of organisations aligning themselves with social movements such as #MeToo and Black Lives Matter (BLM), how organisations are responding to these movements and how these have impacted on employer regulation and reporting requirements.

In the UK, Parliament’s Women and Equalities Select Committee led an inquiry into the use of non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) with regulators such as the Financial Conduct Authority and the Solicitor’s Regulatory Authority taking note. The SRA later issued a notice warning solicitors against using NDA’s inappropriately.

The #MeToo movement led to a change in the law in Tasmania, Australia that previously limited victims of sexual assault or rape from speaking up.

The panel discussed that not all social movements are equal. Employers should be careful to balance rights such as an individual’s freedom of expression and the right to a private life against the need for harmonious employee relations, particularly if employee views are offensive and might harm the employer's reputation if made public.

Any statements made by organisations taking a particular stance with a social movement such as BLM should be followed with action.

Listen to the recording here


  • Schona Jolly QC, Barrister, Human Rights, Cloisters, UK
  • Ma Eugenia Gay Rosell, Dean of the Barcelona School of Law and Chair of the Barcelona Bar Association, Spain
  • Beth Hale, Partner and General Counsel, CM Murray LLP, UK

Rohan Burn, Senior Associate, People + Culture Strategies, Australia (Chair)

Equal Pay – How Far Have We Come or Are We Going Backwards?

Regan O'Driscoll of CC Solicitors, the Irish Innangard member firm, chaired this panel, accompanied by an incredible line up of guest speakers, including Ivana Bacik Labour Senator (Ireland); Barrister Claire Darwin of Matrix Chambers (UK) and Carl-Fredrik Hedenström of Morris Law, the Swedish Innangard member firm, through an important discussion on how the Coronavirus pandemic has affected equal pay for women.

Ivana discussed the five C's that hold women back: cash, childcare, confidence, candidate selection and culture, and discussed how the Coronavirus pandemic has led women back into stereotypical roles. Women have taken the lead with home schooling and caring responsibilities, which has also had an impact on their work, pay and career progression. Statistics show that women are more likely to be made redundant and to be selected for wage subsidy schemes such as furlough.

Claire shared with the audience some of the (rather unattractive) arguments advanced by the BBC in the Samira Ahmed UK Employment Tribunal equal pay case (e.g. women are not as funny as men and that justifies less pay!) In relation to gender pay gap reporting, Claire highlighted that we are yet to see any improvement for women. The UK Government’s decision to suspend reporting in year 4 because of the Coronavirus pandemic sends a dangerous message suggesting that “employers are too busy for this”.

Carl-Fredrik discussed some interesting statistics on the impact that taking parental leave in Sweden has on the earnings of men and women. He highlighted that perhaps things have not improved as much as one had hoped, despite Sweden’s progressive approach. Employers continue to count on women to take parental leave and women take it because they remain more likely to earn a lower salary compared to their male partners. Surprisingly, Sweden has not yet had a female Prime Minister!

Listen to the recording here


  • Ivana Bacik, Labour Senator, Seanad Group Leader and Spokesperson on Children, Disability, Equality and Integration, Ireland
  • Claire Darwin, Barrister, Matrix Chambers, UK
  • Carl-Fredrik Hedenström, Partner, Morris Law, Sweden
  • Regan O’Driscoll, Partner, CC Solicitors, Ireland (Chair)

The Future of Work: Remote Working and the Right to Disconnect

Chaired by Colleen Cleary of the Irish Innangard member firm, with a panel of experts including Dr Laura Bambrick, Social Policy Officer or the Irish Congress of Trade Unions, tax expert David Yewdall, Partner of Smith & Williamson (UK) and Leyla Nematollahi Esmaili, HR Leader Southern Europe at GE Renewable Energy in Spain.

Laura discussed how remote working has been the ‘great disruptor’ to the workplace with many employees favouring a blended approach to home and office working. One area of concern is that existing legal protections are outdated and not fit for purpose – the legislation currently in force was designed for those working standard hours and predates technological advances such as the smart phone. It will be important for employers to strike a balance between recording workers’ hours of work to ensure they have rest breaks and ensuring their approach does not become surveillance.

Leyla described the Coronavirus pandemic as a great opportunity for employers to allow greater flexibility for employees regarding how and when they work, and emphasised the need to respect employees' right to privacy when working at home. One potential issue with introducing laws that allow employees the right to disconnect might mean an end to flexible working patterns, if enforced too strictly.

David discussed some of the potential tax issues of allowing employees to work abroad, recommending that employers consider any local responsibilities and potential administration costs that may be involved. UK employers should ensure they comply with National Minimum Wage obligations now that it is well documented that home workers are working longer hours.

Listen to the recording here


  • Leyla Nematollahi Esmaili, HR Leader Southern Europe, GE Renewable Energy, Spain
  • David Yewdall, Partner, Smith & Williamson, UK
  • Dr Laura Bambrick, Social Policy Officer, ‎Irish Congress of Trade Unions, Ireland
  • Colleen Cleary, Principal and Founder, CC Solicitors, Ireland (Chair)

Coronavirus Vaccine – Impact on the Workplace and Employment Law Implications

The panel session was expertly chaired by Carl-Fredrik Hedenström of Morris Law, the Swedish Innangard member firm.

Public health experts Katharina Hauck of Imperial College London (UK) and Fabrizio Pregliasco of Università degli Studi di Milano (Italy) discussed the cost of test and trace systems and of national lockdowns, sharing their views on when we might expect to return to normal. Both experts reiterated the importance of a coordinated international public health approach to manage future outbreaks as closing indefinitely borders is an unsustainable long-term measure.

Employment law experts Cathy Qu of River Delta Law Firm (China), the China Innangard member firm and Lorna Gibb of Nokia (UK) discussed the employment law implications if an employer mandates its employees to be vaccinated. Lorna shared some of the initiatives at Nokia to disseminate public health information, encourage staff to take up the vaccine and to follow health and safety protocols applicable in each jurisdiction where Nokia operates.

Listen to the recording here


  • Cathy Qu, Vice President/Senior Partner, River Delta Law Firm, China
  • Professor Fabrizio Pregliasco, Virologist, Department of Biomedical Sciences for Health, University of Milan, Italy
  • Professor Luke O’Neill, Professor of Biochemistry in the School of Biochemistry and Immunology at Trinity College Dublin, Ireland
  • Lorna Gibb, Nokia Global Head of HR Legal and Employee Relations, UK
  • Dr Katharina Hauck, Reader in Health Economics and Deputy Director of the Abdul Latif Jameel Institute for Disease and Emergency Analytics (J-IDEA), School of Public Health, Imperial College London, UK
  • Carl-Fredrik Hedenström, Partner, Morris Law, Sweden (Chair)

Cyber Security, Monitoring and Remote Working – An In-house Perspective

This session was chaired by Pia Sanchez of CM Murray LLP, the UK Innangard member firm.

Cybersecurity expert Chris van Schijndel of Johnson & Johnson (USA) discussed how organisations should engage board directors to plan a strategy to prevent cyber attacks, data leaks and scams as the success of any strategy requires involvement from top leadership.

Sheridan Mather of BBVA (UK) shared some of the HR and regulatory challenges and initiatives implemented to adapt to remote working including some innovative ways of keeping teams connected.

Nadine Zacks of Hicks Morley (Canada) and Dr Stephan Pötters of Seitz (Germany), the German Innangard member firm, discussed some of the trends in their jurisdictions and discussed employers' obligations to ensure the health and safety of their workers.

Sadly, the panel was almost unanimous in predicting that we are unlikely to all be working as 'digital nomads' in exotic locations around the world just yet due the complexities of compliance, tax, employment law and immigration issues that make it difficult for such arrangements to work effectively for both employers and employees.

Listen to the recording here


  • Chris van Schijndel, Director of Cybersecurity, Johnson & Johnson, USA
  • Sheridan Mather, Head of Talent and Culture Europe, Russia and Middle East, BBVA, UK
  • Dr Stephan Pötters, Attorney at law, Counsel, Seitz Partners, Germany
  • Nadine Zacks, Partner, Hicks Morley, Canada
  • Pia Sanchez, Senior Consultant, CM Murray LLP, UK (Chair)

Whistleblowing in the Time of COVID – Disclosures Arising Out of COVID-19

The session was expertly chaired by Mathilde Houet-Weil of Weil & Associés, the French Innangard member firm.

Mary Inman of Constantine Cannon LLP (USA), John Devitt of Transparency International (Ireland) and Jean Ewang from Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr Inc (South Africa) discussed their insights into the whistleblowing issues arising out of COVID-19.

Mary made the important point that whistleblowers are indicators of risk for organisations and they should be valued as the 'canaries in the coal mine', as a positive way of addressing issues, and shared some recent examples in the financial services sector.

John discussed that, sadly, organisations in Ireland are not prioritising compliance during the pandemic with the healthcare sector having the highest number of complaints.

Jean advised that employers should look at their internal mechanisms in light of COVID-19 to ensure these are fit for purpose.

Listen to the recording here


  • John Devitt, Chief Executive Officer, Transparency International, Ireland
  • Mary Inman, Partner, Constantine Cannon, USA
  • Jean Ewang, Consultant, Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr Inc, South Africa
  • Mathilde Houet-Weil, Avocat à la Cour, Weil & Associés, France (Chair)