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

Oxford Mail


Employers urged to reward charity use of staff skills

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.

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Speaking Engagements

Blake Morgan's HR Forum 27 Sep

We invite you to the first HR Forum of our autumn series of lunchtime HR Forums. Our seminars allow for networking with fellow HR professionals over lunch followed by a presentation with the opportunity to ask questions.

Employment Club Seminar - Oxford 13 Sep

Come and join us at our Employment Club Seminar in Oxford on 13 September.

Blake Morgan's HR Forum 28 June

We invite you to the third HR Forum of our spring series of lunchtime HR Forums. Our seminars allow for networking with fellow HR professionals over lunch followed by a presentation with the opportunity to ask questions.

Related Knowledge & Resources

What is a qualifying disclosure?

The Court of Appeal gives guidance on identifying the difference between "allegation" and "information" for the purposes of whistleblowing protection.

Unfair dismissal developments

Managing dismissals fairly is not always straightforward as can be seen from some recent EAT decisions that have considered the tricky issues of dismissal for gross misconduct and misconduct where there had been no previous disciplinary warnings.

The Government’s response to the Taylor Review – more certainty for all or just more red tape for businesses?

In July 2017, the "Good Work: the Taylor Review of Modern Working Practices” set out over 50 recommendations for improving workers’ rights.

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.