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SECTOR: Personal

Employment

We meet with individuals quickly to review contracts and procedures, enabling us to provide effective advice regarding value of claims, prospects of success and legal costs. We assist regarding grievance and disciplinary procedures, and settlement agreements.  We represent our clients in negotiated disputes, and contested tribunal proceedings.

We are able to provide specialist employment advice at the highest level, whilst offering bespoke fee structures. Above all we appreciate the need to protect your reputation, and to resolve issues quickly and confidentially. We have the expertise and resilience  to guide you through every step, and to bring your case successfully against even the largest of employers.

  • Settlement Agreements
  • Equality and Diversity
  • Contracts of Employment
  • Employment Tribunal Representation
  • TUPE
  • Business Restructure and Reorganisation
  • Post Termination Restrictions
  • Equal Pay
  • Disciplinary & Grievance
FAQ
I am being made redundant and want to leave as soon as possible. Can I be paid in lieu of notice?

You should check your contract of employment or employers handbook if there is one. Your employer may have a contractual right to pay you in lieu of notice. These are often discretionary, so the employer may or may not choose to exercise the right. If they do, you will be able to leave immediately. If they don't, you will be obliged to work your notice period, although you are entitled to time off to look for work during this time. If your contract says nothing about it, the employer could still choose to pay you in lieu of notice. Technically, the employer would be in breach of the contract, but that matters not when you want to leave as soon as possible.

I have recently started working for a new employer, but not been given a contract. Am I entitled to an employment contract?

Your employer is not legally required to provide you with a contract of employment. However, your employer must provide you with a written statement of employment particulars (main terms and conditions of employment) within 2 months of you starting work. The Employment Rights Act sets out what must be included, such as your start date, pay, holiday entitlement, hours of work, place of work, notice period etc. People frequently refer to this document as an employment contract. There can also be a contract of employment, but this would normally cover particulars in addition to those required by law.

I was bullied by my manager and forced to resign. I left 4 months ago. Can I make a claim?

Not unless there are exceptional circumstances. Employment Tribunal claims must be brought within 3 months (less a day) of your last day of employment. For example, if your last day at work was 30 April, you would need to bring your claim by 29 July. You are out of time to make an unfair or constructive dismissal claim unless you can demonstrate it was not reasonably practicable for you to submit it on time, e.g. you were in hospital during the period when you should have submitted it. If you also had a discrimination claim (e.g. disability, race, sexual orientation etc.) you would still be out of time, although the Tribunal has a discretion to extend the time limit if it is just as equitable to do so.

What holidays am I entitled to?

The statutory holiday entitlement for workers is 5.6 weeks, which can include public or bank holidays. If you are full time, 5.6 weeks amounts to 28 days. If you are part time, it is a proportion of 28 days. For example, if you work 3 days a week, you would be entitled to 16.8 days (3 days x 5.6 weeks). For casual workers or those working very irregular hours, the holiday entitlement is often calculated based on the hours worked. The holiday entitlement of 5.6 weeks is equivalent to 12.07% of hours worked over a year. Many workers get contractual leave which is more than the statutory minimum of 5.6 weeks.

I have brought a claim against my former employer for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination. How much will I get if I win?

The answer depends on the type of claim and your specific circumstances. The idea is to compensate you for your losses.

For an unfair dismissal claim, you will be claiming loss of earnings. There are usually two parts to an award for a successful unfair dismissal claim. The first is the basic award, which is the equivalent of what you would get if you had been made redundant. If you were paid statutory redundancy pay, the basic award would not be made to you. The second part is the compensatory award to compensate you for financial losses from when your employment ended. The maximum compensatory award from 1 February 2013 is £74,200, but most awards are considerably less than this. The median compensatory award in 2011/2012 was £4,560.

In a discrimination claim, you will be claiming for injury to feelings. Such awards are made in accordance with guidelines. There are three bands. The lower band is up to £6,000; the middle band up to £15,000; and the upper band up to £30,000. The severity and duration of the discrimination are taken into account when determining which band the claim falls into. In 2011/2012, the median award in disability discrimination claims was £8,928.

You must try to mitigate your losses by actively seeking work. Keep evidence of all your efforts to find work as you will have to produce it to the Tribunal particularly if you are still out of work when the hearing takes place.

I want to bring a claim against my former employer for unfair dismissal. I would like help from a lawyer, but I am worried about the costs especially as I have no income. What are the options?

If you are in a trade union, you should contact them in the first instance, as they may be able to assist and willing to fund your claim.
Check your car and home insurance policies for legal expenses cover. If you have this, you should contact your insurer straightaway. Insurers will usually direct you to one of their panel firms of solicitors to represent you, but you are entitled to instruct a solicitor of your choice.
From April 2013, Legal Aid is not available for Employment Tribunal claims.
To represent you from making the claim up to a 1 day hearing, the cost for a solicitor would be in the region of £5,000 plus VAT. Some firms of solicitors will work on a "no win-no fee" basis, but usually only if they have assessed your case as having very good prospects of success.
You could also enquire with your local Law Centre or Citizens Advice Bureau, although there may still be a cost to you.

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