We provide exemplary advice, support and representation for both employees and employers involved in all employment matters.
Business scaling up or down
Businesses need to be able to adapt and change in response to changes in the market to enable them to stay competitive, successful and at the top of their game. But what about the employees affected by such changes? Contact us for advice on the process of change.
To consult or not to consult, that is the question… or rather should that be when and how to consult? And should that consultation be individual or collective? We’re on hand to make sure that you get it right.
Contracts, Staff Handbooks, Policies and Procedures
We can draft your employment contracts from simple contracts from junior employees to directors’ service agreements containing more complex clauses dealing with intellectual property, confidentiality and post-termination restrictions. Let us review your staff handbook and ensure that your contractor policies and procedures are fit for purpose, sometimes less is more!
Discipline & Performance Management
Do you know the difference between conduct and capability? It sounds easy, doesn’t it? Sometimes the lines are blurred making it difficult to decide which policy to follow when managing an employee’s behaviour. We provide expert guidance and assistance in relation to all disciplinary and performance matters to help you get it right and avoid Employment Tribunal claims.
Discrimination, Equality & Diversity
It’s not just about having an Equality & Diversity policy (albeit that is a start!). Equality is a hot topic in the world at the moment particularly highlighted by the #metoo campaign. But when is discrimination unlawful? What is a protected characteristic? In what circumstances does an employer have a defence against such behaviour? Whether you are an employer or an employee, we can guide you through this complex area of law.
Employment Protection Scheme
Employers can join our Employment Protection Scheme; a scheme backed by insurance to cover you against the costs of employment tribunal awards or the costs of settlement and legal fees. There is a small retainer and insurance premium to pay; a bespoke quotation can be provided on request and is dependant upon your wageroll, number of employees and last 3 years claims history. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
We do the majority of our own advocacy so you have the same solicitor throughout the case up to and including a hearing in the Employment Tribunal. We also represent clients in the Employment Appeal Tribunal, High Court, Court of Appeal, Supreme Court and the European Court of Justice.
We can represent professionals such as doctors, lawyers and teachers in regulatory proceedings.
Employers not only hold data about their customers and clients, they also hold and process data of their employees, sometimes this may be special data (previously known as sensitive personal data). We can advise you regarding your obligations under GDPR, help you handle subject access requests and give guidance as to what to do, if there is a breach.
Do you know what to do when you receive a complaint from an employee? We can guide you through the grievance procedure and ensure that you are compliant with the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary & Grievance procedures.
We also help employees on how best to present their grievances to their employers.
We draft Settlement Agreements and give guidance as to how you can have those tricky protected conversations with an employee. We also advise employees on Settlement Agreements.
Whether it be a business transfer or a service provision change, we’re on hand to help you understand your employment law responsibilities under TUPE including your responsibility to provide Employee Liability Information, obligations to inform and consult employees about measures, the automatic transfer principle and pension rights.
Potentially fair reasons for dismissal include misconduct, performance and capability, redundancy and some other substantial reason. Dismissals must also be handled fairly and in accordance with the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary & Grievance Procedures. We act for employees and employers where the reason for dismissal is unfair or hasn’t been handled fairly. We can act for you in all steps from ACAS Early Conciliation up to and including Employment Tribunal hearings and appeals (where necessary).
Can you tell the difference between a whistleblowing complaint and an ordinary grievance? If an employee makes a qualifying, protected disclosure, which in the reasonable belief of the worker shows a qualifying failure and the worker believes making the disclosure is in the public interest, then subjecting that worker to a detriment or dismissing that worker for making that disclosure could be costly. We advise employers how to handle whistleblowing complaints received from employees.
We also act for workers and employers in claims for unfair dismissal for making a whistleblowing complaint and in claims where workers have suffered less favourable treatment for having blown the whistle.
Frequently asked questions
How do I start a claim?
Almost all Employment Tribunal claims start by contacting the ACAS Early Conciliation service. This is a mandatory requirement. ACAS will see if the parties can reach an agreed settlement, including a monetary settlement, without the need for Employment Tribunal proceedings to be commenced at all. If that’s not possible, or one of the parties decides not to engage in conciliation, it will issue an Early Conciliation certificate which has a unique reference number on it which is needed to start a claim in the Employment Tribunal.
Are there any time limits for bringing an Employment Tribunal claim
Yes, most claims have to be brought within 3 months (less one day) of the date of dismissal or act/omission complained of. That now means that you have to contact ACAS’s Early Conciliation service within that timescale. The period during which ACAS conciliates effectively “stops the clock” such that the time limit is extended by the number of days ACAS attempts to conciliate. It is important to retain the ACAS Early Conciliation certificate so that the time limit can be calculated accurately by your solicitor.
How long will my case take?
This depends on a number of factors including how complex your case is, how much documentation there is, how many witnesses there are and the length of the Hearing. The Employment Tribunal aims for cases to reach a final hearing within 6 months of them being issued. If the case has a longer hearing, say 5+ days, it may take longer than this. It also depends on which Tribunal your case is issued in as in some areas it takes longer for a case to be listed for hearing.
What might I receive in terms of compensation if my claim is successful?
In claims for unfair dismissal, you would expect to receive a basic award (equivalent to a statutory redundancy payment) and a compensatory award for loss of earnings, capped at either 12 months net pay or £86,444 (from 06.04.2019), whichever is lower. This could be increased by up to 25% if your employer has failed to follow the ACAS Code of Practice in Disciplinary & Grievance Procedures. The Employment Tribunal may also reduce your compensation if you have failed to mitigate your loss, you contributed to your dismissal by your conduct, if you would have been dismissed had a fair procedure been followed and/or if you failed to follow the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary & Grievance procedures.
In discrimination and whistleblowing claims, there is no upper limit on the compensation for loss of earnings and you can also claim for injury to feelings. The value of an injury feelings claim varies depending upon the severity of the injury. In less serious cases, the injury will fall within the lower band of £900 – £8,600, more serious injuries fall within the band of £8,600 – £25,700 and the most serious injuries fall within the upper band of £25,700 – £42,900. Tribunals will only award more than £42,900 in cases of exceptionally serious injuries.
What will it cost?
Please see our pricing information here. In Employment Tribunal proceedings each party pays their own costs regardless of the outcome, save in exceptional cases if a party has behaved vexatiously, abusively, disruptively or otherwise unreasonably in the bringing/conducting of proceedings or the claim has no prospects of success.
You may wish to consider whether you have legal expenses cover on existing household policies which you may be able to utilise to fund your claim. If your claim, meets our criteria, we may be able to offer to represent you on a “no win, no fee” damages based agreement.
Is there anywhere else I can bring my claim?
Some contractual claims, particularly claims for breach of contract during employment, claims for breach of contract over £25,000 and claims for unlawful deductions from wages may be brought in the County Court rather than the Employment Tribunal. There is a 6-year time limit for bringing such claims in the County Court but the County Court charges fees at various stages of the claim and if you lose your claim, you are generally required to pay your opponent’s costs.
Meet the Employment team
Senior Partner - EmploymentView profile
Sally Lomas Fletcher
Partner - EmploymentView profile
PA to Robert Gibson and Sally Lomas Fletcher – Employment
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What our clients say
“Very friendly staff throughout my whole dealings. Robert is very good but I must also single out Alison for praise. Very good. I have already recommended yourselves and will be back if/when the need arises. Many thanks!”
“Smooth comfortable process. Will recommend. Thanks for the support.”
“A big thank you for Sally’s work, she was absolutely great both at dealing with the legal and human aspects of my case. I think that both her professionalism and empathy are outstanding.”
“Your office and staff and especially Sally herself, made a very good impression on me and I regard my overall experience with your firm as a great and professionally high end one. Thank you.”