Carla Bennett

Carla Bennett

Head of Employment Law and Senior Employment Law Solicitor, Manchester

Carla is a Senior Employment Law Solicitor and Head of Employment Law at Co-op Legal Services. She has extensive experience of advising individuals and trade unions on cases of unfair dismissal, breach of contract, wages disputes, whistleblowing, TUPE, redundancy, detriment and complex discrimination.

Carla provides advice to clients on settlement agreement terms during mass settlement exercises, ensuring clear unambiguous advice is given and clients are supported through difficult and anxious times.

Carla recognises the stress that can be caused by pursuing claims against an employer or former employer and provides practical and empathetic support and advice to clients throughout the Tribunal process. She is honest and aims to manage expectations from the outset of a case.

The majority of cases settle via COT3 Agreements or settlement agreements prior to any substantive hearing and Carla is adept at ensuring that the best possible terms are reached on behalf of clients.

Career history

Carla worked for a national Trade Union law firm from December 2003 until October 2016. She has worked for USDAW (Shop Workers Union) and NASUWT (Teachers Union), providing practical advice on workplace issues to trade union members.

Carla has also headed up a team that was responsible for pursuing mass equal pay litigation against a number of local authorities and NHS Trusts in the Northwest region, North Wales and Birmingham Council on behalf of public sector workers. She then subsequently headed up both equal pay and employment rights teams in 2 offices, pursing employment claims on behalf of trade union members. She has also represented trade unions in the Tribunal.

Carla joined Co-op Legal Services in October 2019 as Head of Employment.

Education and qualifications

  • Law with European Legal Studies LLB 2.1 – Hull University, England and Utrecht University, the Netherlands
  • Legal Practice Course Commendation – Chester College of Law
  • Qualified as a solicitor in September 2001

Professional memberships

Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA) Employment Lawyers Association

Case studies

Bury Metropolitan Borough Council v Hamilton & Others UKEAT/0413-5/09/ZT – Carla represented approximately 700 female public sector workers in a variety of roles which included carers, caterers and cleaners pursuing equal pay claims against comparators which included gardeners, highway workers and refuse collectors. The Claimants argued that the bonuses paid to male workers were automatic therefore the link to productivity had been lost over time and they should be entitled to the same level of remuneration. The Council attempted to justify the bonuses. Both the Employment Tribunal and the Employment Appeal Tribunal found in favour of the Claimants concluding that the Council had failed to justify the difference in pay. In addition, the EAT found that pay protection implemented by the Council could not be justified on the grounds of affordability.

Successfully represented public sector clients pursuing mass equal pay claims against Birmingham City Council, St Helens Council, Gwynedd Council, Wrexham Council, Flintshire Council and others.

Successfully represented a client who pursued a claim for disability discrimination against a financial institution, following a redundancy exercise.

Successfully represented a client who pursued a claim for race and sex discrimination against a care charity.

When not working

Carla enjoys running and swimming in order to keep fit as well as spending quality time with her family.