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For employees

When you are faced with difficulties at work, you may have lots of questions and be concerned about your job security.  We will explain what rights you have as an employee and help you plan the best route forward to manage your particular situation.

It may be that you are being treated unfairly and need advice on how to best deal with the circumstances, or that you were presented with a compromise agreement and you require us to advise you on the effect of entering into the agreement with your employer or perhaps you require us to negotiate the best possible settlement on your behalf. We are here to help you.

We will guide you through each stage of the legal process, depending on the circumstances, provide straightforward and strategic help. We will be clear about the cost of our services fright from the outset and whenever possible either limit our fees or offer a fixed fee wherever possible.

We are here to help you deal with a wide range of employment issues, including but not limited to the following:

  • Terms and conditions of employment
  • Unfair dismissals
  • Constructive unfair dismissals

This is a label that is given to a resignation, which is treated as a dismissal for unfair dismissal purposes. In order to successfully claim constructive dismissal an employee needs to show that:

  • The employer committed an extremely serious breach of contract
  • The employee resigned in response to that breach
  • The employee resigned promptly

In order to bring a claim, the employee should also raise a formal grievance about the breach. This usually commences a three-step procedure similar to the statutory dismissal and disciplinary procedure outlined above. A meeting should be held, a decision made, and the employee has the right to appeal that decision.

  • Redundancies
  • Compromise agreements
  • Discrimination
  • Transfer of undertakings
  • Employment tribunals

We always try to negotiate an amicable solution to your dispute with your employer, including the use of compromise agreements. However, where this is not possible we can represent you and deal with all types of employment tribunal claims. Depending on the nature and complexity of a case, we can often act on a damages based agreement basis (also known as ‘no win, no fee’). When the matter progresses to the tribunal stage, it may involve a degree of risk. We will ensure that you are aware of both the strong and weak points of your legal position. This will allow you to make well informed choices about how to proceed in order to achieve the best possible result.

  • Holiday pay
  • Unlawful deductions from wages

Should you find yourself suffering from a problem at work, it is vital that you act quickly as the law imposes strict deadlines for certain types of employment legal action. Contact our expert solicitors as soon as possible, and we will immediately conduct an initial free telephone assessment of your case, with no obligations attached.

Unfair dismissal

What is a dismissal?

This is when your employer ends your employment. This includes termination of your employment with or without notice, when your fixed term contract comes to an end and is not renewed or when you end the contract due to your employer’s conduct (known as constructive dismissal).

What is unfair dismissal?

If you are an employee that started new employment on or after 6 April 2012 then you must have been employed for a continuous period of two years to claim unfair dismissal. If you are an employee that started new employment before 6 April 2012 then you must have been employed for a continuous period of one year to claim unfair dismissal.

A dismissal can be a fair dismissal. Examples of potentially fair reasons for dismissal include misconduct, redundancy or capability. It is for the employer to show that the reason for dismissal was an acceptable reason. A Tribunal will then consider whether your employer acted reasonably or unreasonably in treating the reason for your dismissal as a sufficient reason for dismissing you.

A Tribunal will also consider whether your employer has adopted a fair procedure in dismissing you and whether the ACAS statutory Code of Practice on discipline and grievance was followed. In most cases of dismissal, employers are obliged to follow certain steps under this ACAS Code of Practice. For example in a standard dismissal and disciplinary situation a minimum three-step procedure is required. Step 1 requires your employer to write to you setting out the reasons why they are considering dismissing you and invite you to a meeting; Step 2 requires the employer to hold a meeting to discuss your proposed disciplinary/dismissal, allowing you the right to be accompanied by a colleague or trade union representative. After the meeting the employer must inform you of the outcome and of your right of appeal. Step 3 requires the employee to appeal the decision, if he so wishes, informing his employer. The employer will invite you to an appeal meeting and an appeal meeting should take place.

What is constructive dismissal?

This is a label that is given to a resignation, which is treated as a dismissal for unfair dismissal purposes. In order to successfully claim constructive dismissal an employee needs to show that:

  • The employer committed an extremely serious breach of contract
  • The employee resigned in response to that breach
  • The employee resigned promptly

In order to bring a claim, the employee should also raise a formal grievance about the breach. This usually commences a three-step procedure similar to the statutory dismissal and disciplinary procedure outlined above. A meeting should be held, a decision made, and the employee has the right to appeal that decision.

Is it fair to dismiss an employee after their first offence?

This depends entirely upon the circumstances. An employee may be fairly dismissed for a one-off event of gross misconduct. This is a fair reason for dismissal if it involves extremely serious breaches of contract. Examples of offences that may constitute gross misconduct include violence, theft and fraud. An employee does not necessarily need to be guilty of the offence, but the employer needs to honestly believe that the employee is guilty of the offence.

What are the fair reasons for dismissal?

There are five fair reasons for dismissal:

  • capability
  • conduct
  • redundancy
  • a statutory duty or restriction prohibited the employment being continued
  • some other substantial reason