One of my unique selling points is that I act for both employers and employees. Many firms and their lawyers don’t and therefore do not get broad experience. This means not only do I have experience of acting for claimants at many levels within companies and in the public sector but also as I act for employers I have an insight into what they may be thinking.
Unfortunately for some of my employee clients, I have acted for them more than once which whilst not ideal for them means they have confidence in me. The more fortunate clients, who only need my services just the once in their life time, often refer me to others in their hour of need. I have helped clients with their appeals against disciplinary action, negotiated settlements agreements for them, advised them on their situation at work and after dismissal and then represented them in employment tribunal if the need arises. Take a look below at some of the more common areas of law in which I am instructed for more information but I can advise on any employment law situation whether you have left employment or are still at work. Also have a look at the testimonials from my employee clients. I offer a fixed fee initial appointment for advice, fixed fees for certain stages in the process as well as the more traditional hourly rate approach.
A settlement agreement is the same as the old style compromise agreement which existed for many years. It is a legal agreement whereby you agree to waive any claims you may have against your employer in exchange for payment under the agreement. There are many standard clauses and it is a legal requirement in order to get a binding agreement that you seek legal advice from a relevant independent advisor (a qualified solicitor being one such example) and it is normal for your employer to meet the cost of that advice or at least a contribution to it.
Employees have the right not to be unfairly dismissed by their employer. Since 2013 for cases of ordinary unfair dismissal, an employee must have two year’s continuous service to bring a claim. There are some exceptions to this rule which can be complex but include being dismissed for pregnancy or maternity reasons, whistleblowing or asserting a statutory right. If you are not sure whether you will have continuous service to bring a claim and are unsure whether you fall within one of the exceptions you should take advice.
The Equality Act offers employees some protection against discrimination before, during or after employment. Sadly, discrimination can still occur and it can be particularly distressing for staff to be discriminated against when they have a protected characteristic.
Maternity / Parental Rights
In early 2014, shared parental leave was introduced whereby the parents can share the mother’s maternity leave between them. As a result the rules around maternity and paternity leave and pay have become complex. Many employers struggle to understand their obligations and the employees rights so it is no wonder employees are unsure of what they need to do and by when to entitle them to exercise those rights.
An employee can find a redundancy situation particularly difficult, as if it is a genuine redundancy situation, they are in the situation through no fault of their own. Redundancy has a legal definition which is found in s139 of the Employment Rights Act 1996. It typically occurs where there is a site closure, the role performed by the employee ceases to exist if it is unique role or where the employee is one of a number carrying out that role there is a reduced requirement for the role and all employees are placed at risk and a selection made.
As an employee if you cannot resolve matters informally with your manager or feel unable to do so you should raise a grievance. Some companies have an internal grievance process but if not you should write to the most appropriate person (normally HR if the business has such a role) setting out your complaints.