William Downing Partner

Photograph of William Downing

Contact Details

“William Downing is noted for his ability to see things from an employer's point of view.”

Chambers UK 2018
William is head of the Employment law team based in the Thames Valley. He provides immediate and commercially sensitive advice concerning all employment law issues.

Main areas of practice

In particular William guides clients through complex situations, providing draft letters, aide memoirs and key pointers for handling difficult exits and assisting in dealing with internal client investigations and processes. He also has a wide range of experience from advising on large-scale outsourcing projects to business protection for Hi-Tec businesses in the Thames Valley.

William has many years' experience handling Employment Tribunal and Court claims for his clients and is sensitive to the pressures and reputational issues for clients that can arise in claims.

Significant experience 

  • Cobham plc: Advising on all employment matters for a number of years, including sensitive employee engagement matter
  • Bio-Techne Corporation: Providing a huge amount of advice to various group companies and head office in US on acquisitions, restructurings, share options and confidential employee matters
  • Oxford PharmaGenesisTM: Advising this long-standing client in relation to various senior level matters and Employment tribunal claims
  • Bedfordshire Pilgrims Housing Association (bpha): Providing advice over a number of years to this large Bedford-based social housing provider on a whole range of employee relations issues, including advising bpha’s Board and the senior management team in relation to a number of sensitive and confidential matters and advising on a large-scale restructuring process.


Articles by William

No disability discrimination for redundancy following sickness absence


In an interesting decision of the EAT in Charlesworth v Dransfields Engineering Services Ltd the EAT gave guidance on how to establish causation in claims of discrimination arising from disability. Read about the case and decision here.

Are you ready for the April 2017 Employment law changes?


This year, April brings more than its fair share of changes to Employment law. We take you through what you need to know.

Results-based commission must be included in holiday pay


Upholding earlier decisions of the Employment Tribunal and EAT, the Court of Appeal has held that when calculating holiday pay, results-based commission must be included.

See all

Speaking Engagements

Employment Club Seminar - Oxford

Come and join us at our Employment Club Seminar in Oxford on 7 March.

Related Knowledge & Resources

Non-compete clause unenforceable as it included a restriction on holding a minor shareholding in a competing business

Restrictive covenants are a useful tool for employers to protect their competitive edge and to reduce the risk of 'star employees' leaving to join competitors.However, failure to draft them carefully can leave both employer and employee in limbo.

Employment Law - Looking Ahead to 2018

Following on from our Employment law "Top Ten" of 2017 we now take a look ahead to 2018 and what are likely to be the key employment law developments for employers and HR professionals.

Employment law Top Ten of 2017

How will employers and HR professionals remember 2017? We thought we’d seen enough Brexit turmoil in 2016 but it paled into insignificance compared with the legal and political wranglings this year.

Guide: Our workplace mediation service

Do you have conflict in the workplace that takes up your valuable time and has a damaging effect on team performance?

Immigration Compliance Audit Service

Blake Morgan is one of the few larger law firms that offer an immigration compliance audit service. We are well placed to do so, drawing on our immigration and commercial expertise.