Nathan Combes


I qualified as a lawyer in 2002 after graduating from Sheffield University. I specialise in employment law and data protection and act for a wide range of businesses, organisations and individuals from across Yorkshire and beyond. I am a member of the Employment Lawyer's Association and I'm also a ILM accredited trainer (more on this later).

I am often asked to advise in relation to employment related disputes and grievances and act for both employers and individuals. My advice covers handling  diciplinary and grievance related matters, negotiating settlement agreements and dealing with Employment Tribunal cases involving allegations of discrimination, whistleblowing, breach of contract and unfair dismissal. My approach is pragamatic and outcome driven and I work closely with my clients in order to obtain the best possible outcome for them.  

I also assist employers to handle their day-to day HR related issues and can offer a fixed fee annual retainer service which provides 24/7 HR and employment related support, advice and guidance. Other key areas of work include drafting contracts of employment, executive service agreements and company handbooks and I am also regularly asked to advise businesses and organisations on TUPE related issues including various employment related issues that will often arise on the acquisition or sale of a business and/or in outsourcing scenarios where employees are transferring between one employer and another.  

The data protection work that I do is varied and wide-ranging. I have a particular interest in privacy notices, subject access requests and data breaches and I have also assisted numerous businesses and organisations to develop their own internal data protection policies and procedures in order to ensure that they are fully compliant with data protection law and minimise the risk of potentially costly fines.  

Alongside the legal advice that I provide, I am also regularly asked by employers and organisations to deliver in-house employment, HR and/or data protection related training to their staff. I'm a strong believer that when it comes to dealing with compliance and legal issues that prevention is always better than the cure and that effective training can significantly reudce the risk of claims. The training that I provide is designed to be fun and inter-active, with lots of practical real-life examples and case studies, all of which are aimedat ensuring that delegates are able to put the knowledge and insights that they gain to immediate practical use.  

Prior to joining Legal Studio I worked for several of Yorkshire's leading law firms as a Senior Associate and Partner/Head of Employment Law. I enjoy the flexibility that working for Legal Studio provides and it is refreshing to be working in an environment where the client genuinely comes first.  

Specialist Areas of Interest


Nathan's Latest Blogs

The use of generative artificial intelligence (AI) tools in the workplace is already here and will continue to grow and develop over time.

Do we need a workplace AI policy?

While some employers are seeking to restrict the use of AI in the workplace, other employers are choosing to embrace it, perhaps recognising opportunities to improve work processes and workflows and also, in much the same way as the rise of social media and the internet before that that the continuing growth of AI is to some extent probably inevitable.

From an HR perspective, this development necessitates the creation and implementation of new workplace policies to ensure that businesses and employees use AI tools appropriately.

What kind of information should a workplace AI policy contain?

It is crucial to provide a clear definition of generative AI, outlining what it is, what it isn't, and how, when, and why it should be used.

Well drafted AI polices will clarify the circumstances in which AI can be used and also help businesses and organisations to protect sensitive information, prevent copyright violations, and encourage the honest and accurate use of information. Data privacy is a key concern, as generative AI constantly learns from user-provided information, potentially exposing personal data to public access if adequate safeguards are not put in place.

Companies need to establish clear policies regarding trade secrets, personal information, and generative AI use to prevent data privacy issues.

Are there any particular legal concerns relating to the use of AI in the workplace?

Unfortunately, yes and we’ve already hinted at some of the key legal issues and concerns above. To avoid copyright violations and the potential spread of misinformation, businesses and organisations need to be clear about the limitations, potential biases, and uncertainties of AI-generated outputs. Employees need to be made aware that AI can and sometimes that it does generate inaccurate information and that they should not rely on it without critical evaluation.

In addition, there’s already plenty of evidence that AI algorithms can reinforce biased or discriminatory practices depending on what it’s being asked to do and where it is getting its prompts and core data and information from. Equally, using AI for employee monitoring can create data protection compliance issues and also reveal confidential personal information. Companies will need to address these concerns in their AI policies and ultimately via staff training.

Please contact Nathan Combes if you’d like more information about the issues raised in this update and/or or to find out more about our own AI and data protection related policies and advice that we’re able to provide.

Disclaimer: the information set out above does not constitute legal advice and it is provided for general information purposes only. No warranty, whether express or implied is given and neither the author or Legal Studio shall be liable for any technical, editorial, typographical, or other errors or omissions within the information provided.
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Nathan Combes
New government proposals aim to reduce the existing regulatory & compliance related burden for UK based employers and organisations.

Employers and organisations have long complained that whilst well intended, the introduction of the GDPR in 2018 made aspects of data protection compliance overly complex and unnecessarily burdensome.

The government’s new Data Protection and Digital Information Bill contains several interesting proposals aimed at reforming existing UK data protection legislation.

Key proposed changes and developments include:
  • Establishing  a new framework for the provision of "digital verification services". These would enable a person’s digital identity to be used with the same confidence as their existing paper documents.
  • Updating the PECR to cut down on the requirement for website 'user consent' pop-ups and banners.
  • Abolishing the Information Commissioner’s Office and transferring its functions to a new 'Information Commission'. In future there would also be a new duty for the UK’s data protection regulator which would require it to have regard to "economic growth and innovation".
  • Amend the existing definition of 'personal data' to make it easier for data controllers to identify the type of information that is likely to constitute personal data for the purposes of the UK GDPR and the Data Protection Act 2018.
  • Creating a limited list of 'legitimate interests' which would allow businesses to process personal data without first having to apply a balancing test.
  • A new requirement for individuals to attempt to resolve any data protection related issues with the relevant controller before raising a data protection complaint with the ICO.
Please contact Nathan Combes if you’d like more information about the issues raised in this update and/or or to find out more about data protection related policies, documents, advice and training that we provide.

Disclaimer: the information set out above does not constitute legal advice and it is provided for general information purposes only. No warranty, whether express or implied is given and neither the author or Legal Studio shall be liable for any technical, editorial, typographical or other errors or omissions within the information provided.
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Nathan Combes

Many employers have become increasingly adept over the years at understanding the difficulties that can be encountered by disabled employees and the additional measures that may need to be put in place to compensate for those difficulties and enable the disabled employee to participate effectively in the workplace.

Thanks in part to increasing public awareness generally and the gradual erosion of prejudice and misunderstanding, conditions which were previously glossed over and ignored are now being discussed more openly. Old stigmas and outdated views are gradually being dismantled and employers are beginning to understand that a pro-active and informed approach to neurodiversity can result in lasting and positive outcomes.

What is neurodiversity?

In its simplest terms, neurodiversity refers to a difference in brain processing which impacts upon an individual’s learning, sensory processing and social interaction.

Current research suggests that as much as 15% of the general population are neurodivergent.

Some of the more commonly encountered neurodiverse conditions include dyslexia, dyscalculia, autism and ADHD.

Are all neurodivergent employees disabled?

The short answer is no. Neurodivergence exists on a spectrum. Accordingly, there are many individuals with a neurodivergent condition who would not class themselves as being disabled.

The key legislation for employment law purposes is the Equality Act 2010 ("EqA"). The EqA confirms that the key test for establishing whether an individual will be considered as being disabled (for the purposes of the Act) is as follows:

  • Does the person have a physical or mental impairment?
  • Does that impairment have an adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities? 
  • Is that effect substantial?
  • Is that effect long-term?Accordingly, each case is assessed on its own merits.
I’ve heard neurodiversity being referred to as a "hidden" or "invisible" disability what does that mean?

That’s a good question. These terms are often used by lawyers and tribunals in cases involving neurodivergent employees because unlike some of the more obvious physical and mental impairments, neurodiverse conditions may not be self-evident, Additionally, neurodiverse conditions sometimes only impact or become evident in particular situations, or in relation to certain types of duties, requests or responsibilities.

What legal obligations does the EqA create for my organisation in respect of neurodivergent employees?

The EqA confirms that organisations must:
  • not treat employee less favourably because of their neurodiversity (direct discrimination);
  • not treat employees unfavourably for a reason arising from their neurodiversity (unfavourable treatment) unless that treatment can be justified; 
  • not subject the neurodivergent employee to unlawful harassment, unjustified indirect discrimination or victimisation; and
  • pro-actively explore whether reasonable adjustments can be made.

Are there any particular risks that we should be aware of?

Yes, there are. There’s a legal concept in discrimination law known as "constructive knowledge".  Put simply, if an employer is not fixed with actual knowledge of the disability, liability can still arise where there were evidence and clues which should have prompted it to make further enquires.

Additionally, when assessing a neurodiverse condition in order to decide whether it has a "substantial and long-term effect on an individual’s day-to-day activities", employers must ignore any medication, coping mechanisms (such as counselling or masking) or treatment interventions which may mask the true effect of the neurodivergent condition.

Our organisation wants to become better at understanding and handling neurodiversity. What can we do?

Your organisation could consider adopting one or more of the following steps:
  • Try to avoid "medicalising" the issue. Focus instead on trying to understand how a neurodivergent employee’s condition impacts upon them and then work with them to try and identify what adjustments can be made and whether any additional support can be provided.
  • Enquire sensitively (remember there’s still a lot of stigma attached to neurodiversity) and investigate fully. Whenever possible talk with both the employee and any relevant experts. Invaluable information and support can also be obtained from specialist or charitable organisations. 
  • Avoid the trap of focusing solely on the individual employee’s areas of difficulty; consider also which tasks play to their strengths. This might lead on to redesigning a job role or adopting a more flexible and "person centred" approach.
  • Consider whether any internal management process needs to be amended in order to minimise any adverse impact upon the employee and to maximise the prospect of active, responsive and meaningful participation.
Please contact us if you’d like more information about the issues raised in this article and/or or to find out more about the various Employment Law and HR related policies, procedures, guidance and workplace diversity training that we provide.

Disclaimer: the information set out above does not constitute legal advice and it is provided for general information purposes only. No warranty, whether express or implied is given and neither the author or Legal Studio shall be liable for any technical, editorial, typographical or other errors or omissions within the information provided.
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Nathan Combes