Maria Fernandes

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Qualifications and Study Experience

Maria studied law at the University of Buckingham, obtaining a 2:1 degree classification.  She graduated with the highest overall marks in her year of entry.  A year later she achieved a Distinction in her Legal Practice Course.

Work Experience

Maria began her legal career at the global law firm Hogan Lovells.  After gaining experience there, she moved in-house to work within the crux of corporate functions at companies like Sopra Steria, Veritas Technologies, Diageo, Sky and Verizon where she was Associate General Counsel, Employment. Throughout her distinguished career, she has focussed both on – national and international employment issues whilst also dedicating time to charity working as an employment counsel at Action for Children before returning to private practice at Thompsons Solicitors.  After Thompsons, Maria joined Waldrons to head their Employment department.  The team is pleased to report that there has been noteworthy growth in her department since she joined.

Maria has vast experience in employment issues which range from providing practical pragmatic advice in matters about grievances, disciplinary proceedings, terminations/exits of employees and senior management via negotiated settlement agreements or otherwise.  Maria counsels on the importance of acting swiftly once an employee has submitted a grievance and/or there is some discord in the workplace.  If a client requires employment tribunal assistance, Maria will advise of the process, the prospects, the costs and handle the situation from the start (lodging of ACAS application) to the full hearing – her advice will include guidance on mediation and conciliation in an attempt to settle disputes amicably.

Maria provides general employment advice for companies.  She helps by creating mandatory and bespoke best practice policies, and updating them regularly as the business evolves.  She assists HR with training programmes for both the general workforce and management on topics like whistle-blowing, unconscious bias, discrimination, GDPR, reasonable adjustment and flexible working requests, and referrals for Occupational Health (“OH”) assessments. She will help clients on commission, bonus and pay issues, re-organisations and transformation of the workplace, restructuring and redundancies (to include voluntary redundancy programmes).  She will provide guidance on furlough, long-covid, poor-performance and high-sickness absence issues, non-disclosure agreements, and restrictive covenants (and breaches).  Maria will guide you on company investigations, ethics and compliance. Maria specialises on working with various trade unions and supporting their representatives and Members.  Maria also has experience working in the charity sector.

Maria acts equally for both employers and employees.  Her mantra is to always provide her clients with clear, succinct and straightforward advice in a timely manner in an understandable format in the knowledge that they are non-lawyers, and to treat her clients as she would wish to be treated.

External Mentions

Maria qualified as a Solicitor in 1992; she is regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority and is a member of the Law Society of England and Wales.

Personal Info

Maria has a wide range of interests outside the workplace. She loves anything fast; she is an avid Formula One and Moto GP fanatic. She relishes a day out at the races which would include indulging in placing a very small flutter, with “very small” being operative words.  Maria prides herself on being able to run 5 miles easily and a happy successful day would be managing to complete a run in between working.  She enjoys entertaining and fine wine, and claims to be a dab hand at conjuring cocktails for guests at dinner parties.  Her “secret” passion is doing Gogen puzzles.  And she appears to have a talent for writing.  With the assistance of her daughter Sasha Rose who stepped up as editor, Maria published a book in 2022 titled “Marionette and Monster: A Truthful Menopausal Tell-All” with the intention of helping the workplace understand a complex distressing topic.