Employment Frequently Asked Questions
What legal matters can an employment lawyer help with?
- Whistleblower Protection
- Litigation – Trust and pension issues
- Litigation – Breach of contract
- Employment Contracts
- Harassment/Bullying at Work
- Stress at Work
- UK Employment Laws
- Discrimination at Work
- Constructive/Unfair Dismissal
- Disciplinary Hearings
- Unfair Dismissal Claims
- Maternity and Paternity
- Sick Pay
- Equal Pay Disputes
- Disciplinary Hearings
- Gardening Leave
- Tribunal Claims
- Agency Staff / Temp Workers
- Settlement Agreements for employees
- Settlement Agreements for employers
What is a settlement agreement?
A settlement agreement is a written agreement between an employer and an employee and is about the end or termination of employment of the employee. The employer usually agrees to pay the employee some money and in return the employee agrees not to bring any legal claims or complaints against the employer.
Can I claim for unfair dismissal?
First, you need to have been dismissed, not just threatened with dismissal. Second, you normally need to have been employed for two years before you can claim for unfair dismissal, but there are exceptions.
What is the difference between unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal?
Wrongful dismissal is a claim for breach of contract and is usually only claimed when you cannot bring a claim for unfair dismissal, because, for example, you have not been employed for 2 years. Common claims are for notice pay when you have been dismissed immediately without any notice.
Can I be made redundant if I am on maternity leave?
Yes. When an employer is considering who to make redundant, people on maternity leave must be given priority over other employees when considering alternative work, but if there is no suitable alternative work then an employee on maternity leave can still be made redundant. The employer must still follow all the usual rules for redundancy and if they do not do so then the employee could make a claim for unfair dismissal and/or discrimination.
What is constructive dismissal?
An employee who terminates his own employment due to a serious breach of contract by their employer may be able to claim constructive dismissal, which is effectively a type of unfair dismissal. It is risky because if you fail then you have also effectively resigned from your job without any compensation. In order to succeed, the employer’s breach of contract has to be very serious, similar to gross misconduct. Successful claims in constructive dismissal are more common when the employee has repeatedly made complaints or raised grievances and the employer has not dealt with the issues raised properly on several occasions.
Ideally, you should try and get advice before you resign as there is often no turning back.
What is gross misconduct?
Gross misconduct is bad behaviour that is so bad it justifies instant dismissal. Most employment contracts will list examples of gross misconduct such as lying, physical violence or being under the influence of alcohol or illegal drugs at work.
What is discrimination?
There are many forms of discrimination that are illegal: sex, race, age, disability, marriage, religion or belief, pregnancy or maternity, sexual orientation, and gender reassignment. It is illegal to discriminate against an employee either directly, by treating them less favourably, or indirectly, by having a procedure in place that has the effect of being discriminatory eg. a rule prohibiting part-time workers indirectly discriminates against women who are more likely to have childcare responsibilities for young children.
How much does a solicitor cost to help me with employment law issues?
We offer an initial meeting or telephone call with you for one hour for £95 as a fixed fee. This will enable you to meet us and outline your issues and for us to provide you with some advice and give you an estimate of costs. We provide estimates for representation at employment tribunals for various types of cases.
What’s the best way to choose an employment solicitor?
The best way to choose any solicitor is to choose the one you get on with best. Paper qualifications are great, but if you don’t like someone it is difficult to work with them. That’s why we have initial fixed fee meetings so that you don’t have to spend any more than £95 to find out whether you want to work with us.
Do you offer no-win/no-fee employment law help?
Potentially, yes. However, we cannot charge more than 35% of your potential winnings and taking a claim all the way to tribunal can cost £5,000 to 50,000. So we have to make sure that we think you are going to win and that we can both make money from the case.
Who is the best employment solicitor in Reading?
Can you represent me or help me at an Employment Tribunal?
Yes we can. We would discuss with you whether it would be better to have counsel represent you in the employment tribunal, but ultimately the decision is yours. Inevitably, one of the most important factors is usually cost.
Can you help me prepare my grievance to send to my employer?
Yes we can. We can write it for you or we can advise you how to write it yourself, which is usually more effective. We can check over your draft and make amendments as required.
Can you help me with my discrimination claim?
Yes we can. Discrimination tends to be more complicated than unfair dismissal, but you can still run the case yourself with advice from us (which is the cheapest option) or have full representation from ourselves and counsel.
Can you help negotiate my redundancy package?
Yes we can. Again, this is usually more cost-effective if you do it yourself with advice from us. Also, your employer may not be willing to talk to us, but we can represent you if required.
What are my rights when whistleblowing?
Whistleblowing is one of the more complicated claims and is not something that you should do without advice. Essentially, you have the right not to suffer any detriment if you disclose information about your employer which in your reasonable belief is in the public interest.
I am being bullied or harassed at work. Can a solicitor help me?
Yes they can. Depending on how serious the issues are, you could make a grievance and/or get signed off sick to prevent matters recurring. Your employer may have specific procedures in place to deal with these types of claims, but if not, a grievance would normally be the appropriate starting point.
My employer is operating unsafely. Can I refuse to work?
Yes you can. Obviously, the best response will depend on the circumstances, but your employer cannot force you to work in an unsafe environment. There are many Health and Safety rules which employers must comply with and employees will received protection if they complain or refuse to work because their employer is in breach of these rules.
I am facing a disciplinary situation at work. Can a solicitor help me?
Yes we can. Employers do not have to allow employees’ legal representatives to attend disciplinary meetings, but we can always advise the employee on what documentation to prepare, how to conduct themselves at the meeting, the sort of things to say, and what is likely to happen.
If you would like to know more please visit our Employment Law page.
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Justin deals with all aspects of Dispute Resolution for both businesses and individuals, including Contentious Probate, Employment Law (for both businesses and individuals) and Commercial Litigation. This means that he is familiar with the many different courts and tribunal, as well as the many different methods for resolving disputes, including alternative dispute resolution such as adjudication and mediation.