Employment

Both employers and employees have rights that need protecting.
Employment law is a rapidly expanding area of legislation and can be a minefield for employers and employees alike. Individuals and employers are frequently unaware of the rights and obligations imposed on them and it is our duty to advise both on the best way forward in the context of a particular problem or business need.

Whether you are an employer or employee, there may be times when you need fast and accurate advice as to your own position and the consequences of any planned action.

Services for employers
We advise employers on all aspects of employment law including the following:

  • Drafting contracts of employment
  • Changing terms of employment
  • Dismissals
  • Redundancies
  • Employee entitlements in relation to sick pay, holiday and leave
  • Drafting policies (for example, equal opportunities)
  • Settlement agreements
  • Transfer of Undertakings (TUPE)

We can assist you in defending claims and arrange representation for you, and also organise conciliation with your employee to agree a settlement.

Not all employment law is rocket science. If you have a clear procedure in place it helps both the employer and the employee if for any reason a dispute arises. We can assist you in drafting procedures and by giving advice on terms and conditions.

We assist in the following types of cases. (The following is not an exhaustive list)

  • Settlement agreements
  • Unfair and constructive dismissal
  • Wrongful dismissal
  • Claims made on the basis of unequal treatment by reason of age, sex, race or any other protected characteristic.
  • Redundancy
  • Breach of contract, unpaid wages, and working time
  • Contracts of employment
  • Restrictive Covenants

Services for employees
We advise employees on the same and other issues, which includes:-

  • Terms and conditions of contracts of employment
  • Changes to terms
  • Maternity / Paternity Leave
  • Employers’ duties
  • Employees duties
  • Working Time Regulations
  • Settlements

We can assist you in bringing a claim against your employer in an Employment Tribunal and arrange representation for you, and also organise conciliation with your employee to agree a settlement.

Please feel free to contact us for an initial assessment of your case. We do charge a small initial consultation fee.

Settlement agreements
If parties are able to reach an agreement, a compromise agreement is the most appropriate method of resolution. A settlement agreement is legally binding and contains the terms of settlement, in return for which the employee agrees to waive any right to bring a claim against the employer in an Employment Tribunal or other court of law. A settlement agreement is the only enforceable way in which an employee can give up their statutory rights to bring a claim and the employee must seek independent advice on the terms of the agreement before it is signed. We have considerable experience in this area and are able to offer relevant advice to both employers and employees.

Deduction of wages
A deduction from wages is unlawful unless there is a statutory provision allowing the employer to do so, or the worker has previously confirmed in writing their consent to the deduction.

Discrimination on grounds of disability
It is against the law for an employer:

  • to discriminate directly against an employee if he/she is disabled
  • to treat an employee less favourably because of a disability - including recruitment and selection, terms and conditions, dismissal and redundancy (but see below)
  • not to make 'reasonable adjustments' to the workplace to enable a disabled employee to work or to continue to work (see below)
  • to harass a disabled employee - for example, by making jokes about a disability
  • to victimise an employee in the event of the employee taking legal action because of discrimination, or if the employer helps someone else to take legal action because of discrimination.

As shocking as it may sound, in some situations employers can treat disabled people less favourably but only if they have a sufficiently justifiable reason for doing so, and only if the problem cannot be overcome by making 'reasonable adjustments'.

Examples of the types of adjustments that an employer might make include:

  • making physical adjustments to the premises
  • supplying special equipment to help a disabled employee do his/her job
  • transferring a disabled employee to a different post or workplace
  • altering hours of work or giving a disabled employee extra time off.

Employers must decide whether making an adjustment is reasonable, while taking into account the costs and the size of their business. If the disabled employee is already in the job, the employer can also take into account skills and experience and the length of time the employee has worked there.

Discrimination on grounds of gender and race
It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate on the grounds of sex or race.

Discrimination on grounds of religious beliefs
You are protected at work from discrimination on religious grounds, whatever your religion or belief, whether you are already working for your employer, or whether you are applying for a job.

Discrimination at work because of your religion or belief could include:

  • sacking you because of your religion
  • advertising for job applicants of one religion only
  • requiring you to dress in a certain way, for example, requiring all women to wear a short skirt. This would not be acceptable for women of several different religions
  • requiring you not to wear sacred items. For example, if you were required, as a Sikh man, to remove your kara (symbolic bracelet)
  • making you work at times that are against your religion
  • victimisation
  • bullying at work because of your religion. This is also known as harassment
  • failing to provide training opportunities

Discrimination on grounds of sexual orientation
It is against the law for people who provide goods or services to discriminate against anyone because they are lesbian, gay or bisexual, or because they are heterosexual.

Discrimination on grounds of age
In October 2006, new legislation was introduced to protect persons applying for jobs and/or promotions, and for those still in employment, who would have ordinarily been disadvantaged because they were either too young or too old. It is now against the law to treat employees unfairly at work because of age. This new legislation only covers employment, adult education and training. There is no law which covers age discrimination in other areas.

If your relationship with your employer has broken down, we can advise you on the merits of a claim made by or against you. We conduct claims in the Employment Tribunal and the Civil Courts.