Practical human resources advice & documentation for clear fair employee relations management
Employment solicitors here advise on all aspects of contentious and non-contentious employment law including:
- unfair dismissal
- business sales and contracting out
- breach of contract claims
- discrimination (sex, race, disability and age) claims
- working and disciplinary codes of practice
- workforce/collective agreements
- drafting employment contracts and consultancy appointments
- drafting compromise / severance agreements
- employee remuneration and benefits packages
- employee fraud.
Employment at a glance
- Employers and employees enter into contracts of employment that govern their rights and obligations. There are statutory requirements governing contracts and they need to be drafted carefully.
- Employees are additionally entitled to a whole raft of statutory rights.
- Many rights, such as the right not to be unfairly dismissed, are subject to qualifying criteria such as period of service. Other rights (such as the right to paid leave for example) are enjoyed by some categories of workers other than employees.
- It is not sufficient to have grounds to dismiss an employee. It is necessary to follow a fair procedure and to take a decision which is reasonable in the circumstances.
- Conduct, capability, redundancy and retirement are all potentially fair reasons for the dismissal of an employee.
- Employees are entitled not to be discriminated against on unlawful grounds. These are known as “protected characteristics” in the Equality Act 2010 and are age, disability, race, sex, sexual orientation, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, and religion or belief.
- Quite apart from statutory rights employees are entitled to be treated with dignity and respect and employers are required not to act in such a way as to destroy the mutual bond of trust and confidence. Employers acting unreasonably risk bullying and harassment claims and complaints of constructive dismissal.
- Employers and employees are expected to seek to resolve disputes informally and this may involve having a grievance procedure and using it where appropriate.
- Employers can protect their assets (for example goodwill and staff) by agreeing restrictive covenants with an employee but great care needs to be taken when drafting covenants because they are scrutinised closely by the Courts when enforced and need to be reasonable.
- Disputes between employers and employees often find their way to an employment tribunal. They are costly, take time (management time in the case of an employer) and can be stressful. The costs in tribunal claims are generally irrecoverable on both sides.