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Employment issues often require swift and decisive action. An appropriate member of our team will work with you from the outset within the time frame you set.
Set out here are some of the most common employment law issues which we deal with. If you require advice in any other area of employment law then do let us know as we will probably be able to assist you:
- Compromise agreements
- Terms and conditions of contracts of employment (including Directors’ service agreements)
- Redundancy or other dismissal
- Bullying or harassment
- Discrimination claims
- Maternity and flexible working rights
- Employment Tribunal claims
- Post termination restrictions in your contract of employment
- Disciplinary or grievance issues
- Non payment of wages
To ensure our advice is cost effective we will, where possible, agree a fixed fee with you, otherwise we will give you a clear estimate for the work and keep you informed of the costs.
There may be other funding options available to you, for example:
- You may have Legal Expenses Insurance covering the cost of legal advice in your (or a family member’s) household contents or other insurance policy. We suggest you check your insurance policies and if necessary contact your insurance company before you come to see us; or
- Your employer may agree to contribute to your legal fees in the interests of reaching an agreement in a dispute and we can negotiate this for you.
If you require assistance in any of these areas, or anything else employment law-related, contact Joanne Kavanagh, Head of Employment, in confidence and without obligation, by email or by calling 01737 854 573.
Has your employer offered you a compromise agreement?
A compromise agreement is a written agreement in which an employee or ex-employee agrees not to make a claim against their employer, usually in return for a financial settlement.
Typically the employee is asked to sign a compromise agreement because there is a dispute with the employer. Alternatively, in some organisations, particularly where the employee is paid more than the statutory minimum, the employee is routinely asked to sign such an agreement before receiving his/her termination payments.
Because you are waiving statutory rights in the agreement such as the right to claim unfair dismissal or discrimination, you are required to seek legal advice on the contents before signing it. Usually the employer will contribute towards the employee’s legal fees in seeking such advice.
We can advise you on issues such as whether you are receiving your full entitlement to notice pay and other final payments and benefits, assess the merits and potential award of any tribunal claims and advise on the terms of an agreement to ensure it is drafted in your best interests. We can be involved in any negotiations on your behalf to increase the financial offer or simply advise you ‘in the background.’
Do you require advice on a new contract of employment?
It may be that your current employer has offered you a revised contract of employment or that you are starting a new job and are concerned about the contract.
We can review your contract and advise you about its meaning and implications. We can also assist if you wish to renegotiate any of the terms with your employer.
Are you worried that you may be dismissed?
Your employer must have a fair reason to dismiss you and the potentially fair reasons are:
- Conduct - e.g. theft, unauthorised absence from work
- Capability - e.g. where the employee is not performing to the required standard
- Redundancy - i.e. where your employer no longer requires you to do your job
- Some other substantial reason - e.g. unreasonable refusal to accept changes to terms and conditions of employment
- Statutory illegality - i.e. where it is illegal to employ, for example, where you do not have permission to work in this country
In addition to having a fair reason for terminating your employment, your employer must follow a fair dismissal procedure. If you feel that your employer does not have sufficient reason to dismiss you or that they have not followed a fair procedure then you may have a claim for unfair dismissal. You may also have a claim of discrimination.
We can advise you on the merits of an employment tribunal claim and the potential award you would receive if successful. We can also assist you in negotiating settlement terms with your employer.
Are you being subjected to bullying or harassment at work?
You may be the victim of bullying if you are being picked on or intimidated at work. This can be raised informally or formally with your employer via any company grievance procedure. If the problem continues or if you have already left your job because of the bullying, then you may wish to seek legal advice.
If you are still employed, we can assist you in raising a grievance with your employer, particularly if your company does not have a formal grievance procedure or if the dispute is serious. You may have an employment tribunal claim for constructive unfair dismissal and/or if the employment tribunal and/or if the bullying or harassment amounts to unlawful discrimination you may have a claim for discrimination.
Are you being discriminated against?
It is unlawful to treat an employee less favourably because of:
- Religion or belief
- Sexual orientation
- Pregnancy and maternity
- Gender re-assignment
- Marriage or civil partnership
Discrimination claims can arise in various forms. For example you may feel you are being harassed because of your age or disability. You may be indirectly discriminated against if your employer puts in place a policy or rule that applies to everyone, but put you at an unfair disadvantage because of your sex (e.g. unjustifiably requiring you to work full time when you have childcare responsibilities) or religion or belief.
We can advise you on raising a grievance about your treatment or even filing a tribunal claim or seeking settlement from your employer.
Do you require assistance with your Employment Tribunal claim?
If you have been unfairly dismissed or if you have a dispute related to your treatment at work such as non payment of wages or unlawful discrimination then you can file a claim at an employment tribunal. You may also have a claim of constructive unfair dismissal.
We can assist you in negotiating a settlement with your employer. We can also advise and assist in employment tribunal proceedings.
Has your employer claimed you are in breach of restrictive covenants?
Employers often include post-termination obligations in contracts of employment. These are clauses designed to protect the employer’s business such as its client base or confidential information. Defending such proceedings, which are usually claims for an injunction and/or damages, can be costly.
We can assist you by advising on the enforceability of the relevant clause, tactics and in defending any such claims against you.
Do you require advice on a disciplinary or grievance issue?
If you are the subject of disciplinary proceedings or wish to file a grievance about treatment at work your employer has to follow a disciplinary or grievance procedure. We can assist with putting forward your case or with any tribunal claims you may have against your employer.
If you are facing redundancy click here to see what you are entitled to.