Distinguished national team
The employment team at Hong Kong’s oldest law firm is led by Cynthia Chung.
With both local and international nous, peers commend the group’s reliability for referrals, and highlight team members’ Chinese language capabilities. Notably, partner Helen Liao is dual-qualified in Hong Kong and mainland China, allowing the team to deftly handle issues impacting workforces in both jurisdictions.
In addition, as the Hong Kong member of the Employment Law Alliance, the team is connected to an international network of leading professionals to assist with cross-border mandates.
Clients include an impressive catalogue of major names from the fashion and luxury goods sectors, private equity and venture capital organisations, universities, and Hong Kong statutory bodies.
The group acts on a broad range of employment matters, from revamping company handbooks and updating internal policy through to preparation of trials before the Labour Court.
As part of its offering, the team assists with strategic decisions impacting workforce management both in Hong Kong and beyond. For example, the team advised on the relocation of the Asia-Pacific headquarters of a major international skincare brand from Hong Kong to Singapore, which included several sensitive personnel transfers.
One example of Deacons' disputes prowess is partner Elsie Chan leading the defence of a global payments solutions company. A group of claimants filed several actions seeking redundancy and rest-day payments; the dispute involved questions as to whether the client could be classified as having been an employer to the claimants.
Much of the department’s activity over recent years has revolved around covid-19-related issues. The team has supported multiple clients with sensitive health and safety policies related to the pandemic. This was evidenced in its assistance to an international luxury hospitality group with its vaccination policy, including how to communicate the controversial policy to workers.
The team is able to pool resources from other practice areas within the firm to offer holistic advice to clients. This was showcased in its instruction by a major bulk transportation company following a senior employee’s claim of wrongful termination. The Deacons team – comprised of Chung and partners from the disputes practice – counterclaimed for losses incurred as a result of the employee’s alleged gross misconduct.
In addition, the team can leverage its Chinese language capabilities to conduct in-depth internal investigations, including those following whistleblower allegations or involving fraud.