Intro

This is the specialist employment law site for Darlingtons solicitors. We are a well known and growing law firm with offices in North London and Central London.

Our team covers a full range of legal services and advice for both business and individuals. Our head of employment law, Partner Ben Jones, advises both employers and employees on the full range of both contentious and non-contentious employment law issues. Ben is an experienced employment lawyer who has dealt with many Employment Tribunal cases, and his focus is on practicality and an understanding that with employment disputes, in reality both sides often end up losing if a case reaches tribunal.

This site will offer guides to the main issues and developments in employment law together with views, debates, legal updates and relevant cases. Topics included will be, without limitation :-

  • employment contracts
  • self employed or employed ?
  • Staff handbooks, policies and procedures
  • discrimination law
  • employment tribunals
  • tactics for employment law disputes
  • fixed term employees
  • employment of senior staff
  • disciplining of employees
  • sickness absence
  • maternity  paternity rights
  • restrictive covenants
  • compromise agreements

Sick pay law

Sick pay law

Sick employees must be treated fairly and are normally entitled to receive pay in their absence from work caused by illness.

Types of sick pay

There are two types of sick pay. These are:

  1. Statutory sick pay (SSP)

To be entitled to the SSP you need to be an employee who is sick for at least four days in a row (including weekends and bank holidays) and you have average weekly earnings of at least £102. Continue reading

Equal Pay

Equal Pay

We are making great strides towards a culture where everybody is equal regardless of gender, age, sexual orientation or ethnic background. As a society this makes us stronger, more modern and fairer than other parts of the world because we acknowledge that we all have a right to equal treatment and equal opportunity. However, whilst we are making progress in all these areas, sadly equal pay is an area that has been slower to progress. Continue reading

Equality Act

THE EQUALITY ACT 2010: WHAT RIGHTS DOES IT GIVE YOU?

The Equality Act 2010 is legislation which aims to tackle certain types of discrimination. There are nine protected characteristics which are incorporated into the Equality Act 2010. This Act makes it illegal to discriminate against or disadvantage an individual due to one of the nine protected characteristics. They are: pregnancy and maternity, sexual orientation, age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, sex, religion/belief, and race. Continue reading

Redundancy Rights

It is important that employers and employees seek advice before undertaking a redundancy process. There are various redundancy rights and obligations imposed upon employers prior to undertaking a redundancy.

They will need to comply with provisions in the Employment Rights 1996 which state that, amongst other things, an employer needs to undertake the following:

  • Identify an appropriate pool for selection;
  • Consult with individuals in the pool;
  • Apply objective selection criteria;
  • Consider suitable alternatives to redundancy.

In addition, if there are 20 or more employees being made redundant over a period of 90 days or less, an employer has a duty to consider the obligations under the Trade Union and Labour relations (Consolidation) Acts 1992. Advice should be sought specifically in this regard.
Continue reading

ET1 form

ET 1 Form

What it is an ET 1 Form?

An ET 1 Form is used by an employee after his or her employment has been terminated to file a claim in the Employment Tribunal. It starts the tribunal proceedings in employment-related disputes.

How to present the form?

You need to complete an ET 1 Form and present it to the local office of the tribunal (which office is local depends where your former place of work was located). The forms can be downloaded from the tribunals’ website and delivered in person, by post (it is the time of its arrival at the office not the time of posting it that counts for the time limit), fax or email. Continue reading

Implied term in employment contracts

Implied terms of employment contract

What are the implied terms?

Implied terms are terms which may not be written in the employment contract but are either understood by both the employer and the employee to exist or which are implied by law.

Many employment contracts will cover the obvious implied terms in any event but it is still worthwhile being aware of how an Employment Tribunal or court may look at a situation. It is also important to recognise that the terms of an employment contract may be interfered with by a Tribunal or court to imply that certain terms of that contract are unfair or that the day to day reality was different from the contract. This is another way in which implied terms impacts on employment law.

The most well known and important implied term in every contract of employment is that of mutual trust and confidence between employer and employee. Without this an employment relationship cannot work and this is a matter of common sense really. If an employee steals from an employer this of course must destroy trust and confidence just as if an employer fails to pay the employee. Continue reading

Automatic unfair dismissal

What is Automatic Unfair Dismissal?

Automatic Unfair Dismissal occurs when an employee is dismissed from their job for exercising one of their statutory employment rights.

Generally, in order to be able to file a complaint of dismissal against an employer, the employee will have been required to have served at least one year’s continuous service within the company but this is not the case for Automatic Unfair Dismissal and a claim can be put in regardless of the length of service.

All employees have or should have statutory employment rights in place which they have the right to exercise. If however an employee is dismissed for exercising or trying to exercise one of these statutory rights they can then take their case to an employment tribunal. Continue reading

Constructive dismissal advice

Constructive Dismissal

What is Constructive Dismissal?

Constructive dismissal is when an employee argues that he or she has no other choice but to resign because an employer’s or colleague’s conduct or behaviour has lead to a fundamental breach in that employee’s contract of employment.

A breach in a contract of employment which could lead to constructive dismissal which may amount to a “fundamental breach” could be :

  • Demotion of the employee for no apparent reason
  • Withholding an employee’s pay
  • Forcing an employee to work under dangerous conditions
  • Forcing an employee to accept unreasonable changes to their working conditions without that employee’s agreement – This may include making the employee work shifts which are not in their contract
  • Allowing an employee to be harassed and/or bullied by other colleagues

In order to file a case of constructive dismissal against an employer the employee will first have to prove that a serious breach of their employment contract has taken place.

Take Steps to Try to Avoid Resignation

Constructive dismissal is not always easy to prove and the initial burden of proof is on the employee. as with most employment law issues, subject to the level of sheer intolerability and/or effect on a person’s health and wellbeing, it is generally advisable to still seek to resolve the issue, subject to also being aware that it is risky to leave an employer’s breach of contract as is for any period of time, as otherwise the employer may argue that you have waived the breach of contract.

Talk with a Senior Member of Staff

When an employee is suffering a breach of their contract of employment due to either the employer’s conduct or work colleagues’ behaviour the first step to take is to speak to the manager. If this is where the problem lies then the employee should approach a more senior member of staff.

It may be possible that, by discussing the contract breaches with a senior member of staff, the issues in question can be resolved without the need for the employee to resign from their job.

Bring in a Mediator

In some situations mediation can work and may help the employer or colleagues see how unreasonable they are being. Mediation involves a third party being brought in to hear the issues and try to work through them with the employee and employer. However, in many cases it may be felt that the situation has gone too far to be resolved by mediation.

Grievance Procedures

All companies should have a grievance procedure and if talking to the manager or senior member of staff has proved fruitless then the employee should raise the issues in question through the grievance procedure.

In many constructive dismissal cases the employer will more than likely have been required to take this route anyway before filing the case with an employment tribunal.

Employment Tribunal

The last resort for an employee if they have no successful outcome through the grievance procedure is an employment tribunal.

The employee will need to seek legal advice to help put the case together and will need to be able to prove:

  1. That a breach of contract did actually take place
  2. That the employee felt compelled to leave their employment because of that breach
  3. That the employee in no way gave any indication to the employer that they accepted the breach of contract

Once legal advice has been sought and it has been established that the employee has a case for constructive dismissal then the employee should leave his/her job immediately.

If an employee continues to work under the conditions he or she is making a complaint about then the employer may claim that the employer has accepted the breach which could make it harder to bring a case of constructive dismissal against them.

Once the case has been filed with an employment tribunal the employee will need to present all the evidence to the judge who will decide if the case is one of constructive dismissal and, if so, will award the employee compensation based on his/her salary and length of service within the company.

It should be noted that if an employee wants to put in an application for a claim for constructive dismissal they will be required to do so within 3 months of the effective date of dismissal. This is technical term and legal advice should be sought if in doubt. Employment Tribunal deadlines are rigid so you really don’t want to take any chances or leave it to the last minute.

Bullying at work

Everyone in our society deserves to be treated fairly and equally with a certain level of dignity and respect. Unfortunately, harassment and bullying at workplace are not uncommon in the UK. In fact, the main UK body for improvement of employment relations – Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) estimates that 1 in 10 employees experiences workplace bullying and harassment. With that in mind it is worth knowing  your rights. Continue reading