Employment Law Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Settlement Agreement?
A Settlement Agreement is a formal document under which an employee agrees to forego legal employment rights and claims against an employer or former employer. In return, the employee will be granted certain payments, benefits and privileges. If you’re considering signing a Settlement Agreement, you are legally obliged to take independent legal advice, and Gorvins’ Employment Team can provide all the support you need – negotiating terms and advising whether and when you should sign.
Can I claim for unfair dismissal?
To claim for unfair dismissal you must additionally have served your employer for a certain amount of time. If you started your job on or after 6 April 2012 then you must have worked for your employer for a minimum of two continuous years. However, if you suspect that the reason for your dismissal would fall within one of the ‘automatically unfair’ reasons or is certainly different from the reason conveyed to you directly by your employer, then you may not need two years continuous service to bring an unfair dismissal claim, and in which case you should certainly take advice to ensure that you are fully appraised of your rights.
How do I know if my dismissal was unfair?
You may feel you have been unfairly dismissed if you are shocked at the decision or you are unsure of the reasons why you have been dismissed. If this is the case then you should seek advice as soon as possible so that the situation can be addressed and you can be fully advised/informed of your rights. No two cases are the same so it is important that you consult expert advice to establish better your individual circumstances are likely to be found to be unfair.
How long do I have to make an unfair dismissal claim?
If you are entitled to bring a claim and decide to do so, then you should note that by law, you are required to issue the claim to an Employment Tribunal within three months of being dismissed, having first followed the requirements of the ACAS early conciliation scheme. If you find you fulfil these requirements then your claim may not be considered so do not delay in getting expert advice.
Who will pay my legal costs if I bring an employment tribunal claim?
In Employment Tribunal proceedings, the general rule is that each party is responsible for paying their own legal costs, whatever the outcome. The Tribunal only has power to award costs in exceptional circumstances, for example, where the Tribunal considers one party has acted unreasonably in pursuing or conducting their case. Unfortunately, there is no public funding or legal aid available for representation at Tribunal hearings.
Many people have legal expenses insurance cover for employment disputes, tucked away in the small print of their household or motor insurance policies or credit card terms.
Similarly, we are willing to consider ‘no win, no fee’ representation should the circumstances allow, and where we can be satisfied of both the merit and value of a potential claim. If you are not able to fund the litigation yourself, then Gorvins’ Employment Team will explore every available alternative in terms of funding the legal costs for your case.
I have a Settlement Agreement - who will pay my legal fees?
Since your employer will benefit from the waiver of your claims provided for by the Settlement Agreement, they’ll usually pick up the tab for the advice you need and, as far as possible, we’ll ensure that such a contribution from your employer will cover our charges – so that you don’t have to pay us anything.
What is the National Living Wage?
The National Living Wage is now law to make sure all businesses are paying their staff correctly – it’s a criminal offence not to do so. From April 2016 all workers aged 25 and over are now legally entitled to be paid at least £7.20 per hour. For all workers aged below 25, the national minimum wage still applies.The rates change every April. The current rate is for those aged 25 and over is £5.21 per hour.
What is whistleblowing?
Whistleblowing relates to an employee revealing information or facts – relating to their employers wrongdoing, known as a qualifying disclosure – which is usually to the disadvantage of their employer. Workers are protected from losing their job or suffering any damage as a result of a qualifying disclosure. If an employee is dismissed for making a protected disclosure, they will be able to make a claim for unfair dismissal.
One of my employees has raised a grievance, what do I do?
In the first instance, it’s always best to try and resolve a grievance amicably and informally. If this is not possible then you will need to go through a formal grievance procedure. Its good practice to have a well-constructed grievance procedure in place to protect you should things turn sour and you face the prospect of a tribunal. For advice about disciplinary issues, workplace problems or grievances please contact our employment team.
Have I been discriminated against at work?
It is unlawful for your employer to discriminate against you on the basis of:
- Marriage/Civil partnership
- Sexual orientation
- Gender reassignment
If you believe that your employer has treated you badly because of any of the above, then please contact our employment team who will be able to advise you further.