A lawyer gets trapped by her own Employment Contract

By PG

Ann Reynolds had qualified as a lawyer with a First-Class Honour law degree and had joined a small but prestigious legal practice. Now, at the age of twenty-six, she had been at the firm for almost two years, had progressed very well and had started to have her own clients. She had recently been told that, if her career path continued, she could possibly be invited to be a partner in around another six years when she was in her early thirties, which would make her by far the youngest partner the firm had ever had, something that would be a considerable achievement.

Ann was an extremely diligent lawyer but did have a slightly rebellious side to her character. At times, this side to her character also surfaced as being extremely inflexible and if she was representing a client that had been treated unfairly her approach to the ‘other side’ could often be quite vicious and she was gaining a reputation as being a very tough lawyer, which her clients loved.

There was one issue that irritated Ann enormously which was routed in her own Employment Contract relating to ‘required dress’. All female lawyers at the firm had to wear dark suits that included skirts that were at least knee-length. She had signed the Contract when she was first engaged when she had dismissed it as being annoying but something she would accept to get the job. But now she was getting increasingly irritated and in her slightly rebellious way she was planning to challenge this clause in her contract. She bought herself an expensive black trouser suit. It did take her a couple of weeks to summon up the courage, but in what became a quite famous day, Ann decided to go for it and arrived attired in the said suit.

There were certainly raised eyebrows when Ann arrived for work that day, but nothing was said until the middle afternoon when she was summoned to see the Senior Partner, Max Bishop. It was actually Max’s father, Sir James Bishop, that had started the firm and the old man still came into the office a couple of times a week.

Max asked Ann to take a seat whilst he pulled out her contract and referred to the clause about ‘required dress’, and at the same time suggested that she might offer an explanation of why she was so attired. Ann was ready for the question and in a somewhat firm response said that she did not see why male colleagues had no clauses in their contract about dress requirements, whilst females were constrained. Max listened to Ann’s argument, but simply responded that all male colleagues were required to wear dark suits and if she objected to the clause requiring her to wear a knee length skirt, she should never have signed the contract. Max also added that the clause about the dress code dated back to when Sir James was the Senior Partner and if he came into the office and found her not attired as her contract stipulated, he would want her instantly dismissed. Max was hesitating to be firmer than he had so far been, but told Ann he seriously recommended that Ann did not return to the office wearing trousers which could become a massive problem if such dissent coincided with Sir James popping into the office.

Ann was annoyed about the conversation and felt that Max was being quite weak in suggesting his father would be the one that found a female wearing trousers to be unacceptable, not Max himself. She felt that if he wanted to make the point, he should make it himself rather than hiding behind his father.

Two days later, Ann decided this was unacceptable and again arrived wearing her very smart new trouser suit. Unfortunately for Ann, it coincided with a day that Sir James had a meeting with his son. Ann knew Max was actually quite weak, but that his father was a very different animal, and many had said that Sir James had a terrible temper which was much to be feared. During the afternoon, the Head of Administration gave Ann a letter summoning her to a meeting at 6 o’clock with both Max and Sir James, and she instinctively knew that this meant trouble.

During the next two hours, Ann rehearsed her argument and felt she was ready for what they would have to say to her. At 6 o’clock exactly, Ann met with Max and Sir James, and she could not help noticing the father looked incredibly angry. Max started the meeting by telling Sir James that only very recently had he pointed out that trousers were not acceptable for female staff and indeed Ann had signed a Contract of Employment where she had agreed to wear a business suit at all times which had to consist of a dark knee-length skirt and matching jacket.

Sir James took up the conversation by asking why Ann had wilfully disobeyed the instructions given by Max very recently. Despite her rehearsal and her preparation, this was not going well, but she did add that she felt that it was unfair female members of staff had this additional clause in their contract.

Sir James told her this was straightforward and that she would be dismissed from her employment on the basis she was in breach of contract. The harsh reality of this came as a complete shock to Ann, and she was lost for words. Sir James told Ann his son had already prepared the paperwork and instructed Ann to return to her desk and pack up her personal effects before returning to sign the necessary documents. He added that he was very disappointed because he had heard good reports of Ann’s work and knew she was a potential partner in the future, but that breaching her contract on two occasions was inconsistent with a future with the firm. It would be fair to say that Ann was very shocked she was about to lose her job.

As Ann was instructed to leave the meeting, Max asked his father if he would be prepared to consider the radical alternative. Sir James knowingly replied that he was sure such an alternative would not be acceptable to Ann, but her ears pricked up and she wanted to know what exactly they were talking about. She told them that if there was an alternative she would be interested to know more.

Sir James told her that in the past he had believed old-fashioned methods were very effective in bringing younger members back into line, adding that it had been many years since such methods had been used. However, he went on to say that if she were prepared to accept a short-sharp-shock punishment for wilfully breaching her contract and at the same time, after punishment, promised to never again wear the trouser-suit, he would consider reversing the decision to dismiss her.

Ann asked what such a sharp-short-shock punishment would involve, to be told that a letter would be drafted for her to sign. The letter would outline that she had accepted her breach of contract and had agreed to submit to a caning of twelve strokes across her bottom. He added, just so she was under no illusions, the caning would be administered once the offending trousers had been removed.

The letter would stipulate only Max and he would be present and that the matter was purely between the three of them. It would also state the matter had to remain confidential and if it ever got out Ann would immediately resign.

Quite naturally, Ann was extremely shocked by this turn of events, both that she could actually be instantly dismissed, and that the only alternative was an unthinkable caning as a punishment. For the first time, she thought her approach of breaking the rule and arguing her case had not been such a good idea.

Sir James suggested she might like to take ten minutes to consider her position. In the meantime, he and Max would review the letter to cover the alternative plan in the event she wanted to continue her employment with the firm.

Ann went back to her desk to think about the harsh reality that stared her in the face. Having a slightly rebellious streak, she thought she could win this argument, but the utter shock that she could be packing her personal effects and leaving the firm for good unless she accepted the awful alternative was a dreadful choice. She thought about what she would tell her friends, who were envious of the plum job she enjoyed, also that she would be throwing away the chance to become a partner, something that would truly launch her career. The extremely confident Ann found herself shaking, and knew she was in a corner.

She knew she had to get a grip, and asked herself what she would advise if she was representing herself in law. The truth was, she had signed and broken her contract. She also asked herself what she would do if she was representing the firm, and unfortunately the answer was that she would advise them to enforce the contract.

But the alternative of accepting a caning was unbelievable. When she was at school, she had once received the slipper from the PE Master, and although she knew the Headmaster did very occasionally use the cane, she had never been even close to receiving such punishment.

Ann realised she had lost the argument and that they had her over a barrel, so to speak. So, Ann decided; she was going to accept the draconian alternative and get it out of the way. She was fearful about how painful it would be.

Having made the decision, she strode back into their office and told them she was ready to accept the caning and that she would be grateful if they could proceed so this matter could be closed.

The proposed letter was produced which included several clauses:

I, Ann Reynolds, accept that I have broken my Contract of Employment
I, Ann Reynolds, accept that I ignored a warning given to me by the Senior Partner, Max Bishop
I, Ann Reynolds, accept that I can be dismissed for the breach with no compensation payment
I, Ann Reynolds, have accepted the alternative put before me of a 12 stroke caning applied to my bottom with my trousers removed
I, Ann Reynolds, undertake to keep the matter confidential and accept that if news of the punishment ever becomes public, I will have to immediately resign
I, Ann Reynolds, undertake that in future I will attend the office at all times attired as per my Contract

The letter was then signed by Sir James, Max and Ann, after which she asked what would happen now. Sir James told her she would dealt with immediately and that when he received a call from his son earlier in the day, he had retrieved a suitable cane from his attic just in case it was needed. Rising from his desk, he opened his cupboard and pulled out a 36-inch straight rattan cane.

Turning to Ann, Sir James told her that it had been many years since he had administered such a punishment, and added that he hoped the next few minutes would be a cathartic experience for her and that she would fully atone for her actions and the breach of her Employment Contract. Ann was then instructed to remove her jacket and the tight black trousers that had caused this whole affair. She had changed from the strong self-minded woman determined to argue her case to a girl who could not quite get used to what was about to happen.

But she knew she had got herself into this jam, and also knew that, unless she wanted to walk out without a job, she had no alternative. Ann slipped off her jacket before turning towards Max and Sir James and undoing the side zip on the tight black trousers. Kicking her shoes off, she pushed down her trousers before stepping out of them. Ann revealed that she was wearing a very skimpy pair of knickers, no doubt to avoid the dreaded visible pantie line

In preparation, Sir James cleared all his papers away and Ann was instructed to bend across the desk, reach right over to the far side and stretch her legs out behind her. For Ann, this was a horrifying moment with her bottom so exposed in front of the two men, who both appreciated that she had a superb bottom.

It had been many years since Sir James had employed his trusty cane, but he took up the rod and went to a position to Ann’s left. He touched the inside of her leg to suggest he wanted them slightly parted. He then measured the cane against Ann’s bottom before taking it back and thrashing her right across the centre. The blow resulted in a loud gasp from Ann, who could not believe the incredibly sharp pain from just one stroke. Sir James told her that, whilst she was being caned, she should stay in position and that she should expect to be thrashed at ten second intervals.

Before Ann had got used to the pain from the first stroke, the second arrived too quickly just above the middle of her bottom. Sir James had clearly lost none of his expertise, and moments later caned Ann for the third time just above the previous stroke. Ann now had three perfect stripes and could not imagine how she was going to take another nine strokes.

Meanwhile, Max looked on with astonishment as he watched the most attractive female lawyer in the firm bending over and being caned across her bottom by his father. He remembered the one time his father had caned him as a boy, together with the two times he had been caned by his Headmaster at Boarding School.

Sir James was into his stride and delivered the next three strokes to Ann’s lovely bottom at ten second intervals, all to the upper part of her bottom, resulting in increasingly urgent gasps. Halfway through, and he left a longer gap, taking time to stand back and appreciate her bottom now with six stripes, but with the lower part unmarked and awaiting the second half of her caning.

Ann had forgotten about her bottom being so rudely exposed and was trying to process the incredible pain, something that was very far from anything she had experienced before. Sir James measured the cane up against her bottom and thrashed her just above the crease between bottom and thigh, low down and clearly at a most sensitive point, resulting in a loud grunt from Ann who again could not believe how painful such a simple instrument could be. The eighth came too soon for Ann as Sir James started to fill in the gap between the crease and the middle of her bottom. Despite having not used the cane in anger for many years, he had lost none of his skill as the ninth and tenth strokes hit home with force and accuracy. Ann was left in no doubt that she was suffering a very severe thrashing.

With two final strokes to go, Sir James again stood back to admire his handiwork and he had to admit that he had done a good job with the ten strokes all clearly visible and a nice gap left just below the centre of Ann’s bottom. Previously, the strokes had been at ten second intervals, but he left a 30 second interval before delivering the penultimate whack. It was almost as he did not want this to end, and secretly he had to admit he was enjoying himself. That was not to say he wasn’t furious with the girl for challenging the firm’s rules, but he had to admit she did have a lovely bottom. He left her in position for 60 seconds before delivering the last and final stroke brilliantly placed into the one remaining tiny gap just below the centre of her bottom, which resulted in a final gasp. Ann knew the caning was over and that she had been very severely thrashed. At least she knew she had kept her job.

She was told by Sir James to remain in position and think about the consequences of breaking her contract. Max, who could not believe what had just happened, added that he hoped her wearing trousers would be a thing of the past. Eventually Ann was told to stand and facing Sir James. She told him he had certainly given her a thrashing she would never forget. She also told him that, whilst she had felt strongly about the matter, when she had been sent back to her desk to consider the two options, the decision to take the caning was purely based on a legal analysis of how she would have advised both herself and the Senior Partner. Sir James gave her a speech about the importance of contracts and told her that he hoped this would be put an end to such stupidity. Eventually, they told her to put her trousers back on.

Ann retained the twelve stripes across her bottom for nearly ten days, and strangely was slightly disappointed when they finally disappeared. Also, rather strangely, her relationship with Sir James became more friendly and at times she almost flirted with him.

Fifteen years after the momentous caning, Sir James passed away and Ann was proud to read a poem at his funeral. Max delivered the eulogy. Two years later, Max retired and Ann became Senior Partner. Her first action was to change the policy relating to female staff having to wear knee-length skirts.

The End

© PG 2020