UK employment solicitors usually offer free initial advice on both redundancy and unfair dismissal. For free advice without further obligation just call an employment solicitor who will advise you on the telephone about liability and the anticipated amount of any award of damages. You must act quickly as time limits in employment matters are very tight and if you fail to apply within the limitation period you may lose the opportunity to claim compensation. Just call an experienced employment solicitor who will discuss you potential claim for compensation over the telephone and will advise there and then on issues of liability and the likely amount of the award if the claim is successful.
Employment solicitors initially attempt to settle disputes by negotiation however they will not hesitate to issue legal proceedings in the Employment Tribunal. There are tight time limits in employment compensation claims. You should take urgent advice from an employment solicitor as soon as possible. Failure to comply with the time limits may mean that the opportunity to claim compensation is lost forever.
Wide Range of Claims
Specialist employment solicitors deal with a wide range of matters including redundancy, compromise agreements, constructive and unfair dismissal, as well as racial, sexual, age and disability discrimination, harassment and victimisation as follows :-
Unfair Dismissal – occurs when the employment is terminated for no good reason. There are many reasons why a dismissal may be lawful including abuse, drunkenness, obscenity, fraud, bribery and dishonesty however in the absence of a good reason to terminate employment there is a good case to claim compensation for unfair dismissal in the Employment Tribunal. Even if there is a lawful reason to terminate, the dismissal may still be unfair if proper procedures are not followed.
Constructive Dismissal – is a form of unfair dismissal which occurs when the working conditions that an employee has to put up with are such that the employee feels that they have no alternative other than to hand in their notice to terminate their employment. Repudiated working conditions that may justify a constructive dismissal claim cover a wide range of circumstances and may involve the physical condition of the workplace, health & safety issues or unacceptable behaviour of co-workers or management or others that the employee is expected to deal with in the course of employment.
Discrimination – if a person is treated less favourably due to race, sex, age or disability it may well be that there is a case to claim compensation for discrimination in the Labour Court. This type of unlawful behaviour is subjective and whether or not it was intended to cause offence is irrelevant proved that the person who is the subject of the abusive behaviour is offended. Discrimination may be obvious and direct or it may be more subtle and indirect however in either case it is still unlawful no matter how smart the instigator has been in disguising their true intentions.
Harassment – comes in many forms and is a type of workplace bullying. It may be defined as unwanted conduct affecting the dignity of women and men at work. It often takes the form of race harassment or sex harassment in verbal or other less obvious forms. It usually consists of a number of abusive racial or sexual incidents over a prolonged period that may be direct or indirect however a single serious racial or sexual incident is enough to justify a complaint for race harassment or sex harassment leading to subsequent legal action, to claim compensation in the Labour Court.
Victimisation– occurs after an employment complaint has been made to management or after legal proceedings have been issued in the Labour Court. The intent of harassment is both retribution or to make the complainant feel uncomfortable or threatened in the hope that they will either terminate their own employment or will withdraw the complaint
Redundancy – applies when the job ceases to exist often due to bankruptcy or company reorganisation and the employer must pay statutory compensation determined by law. A mis-handled redundancy may result in a claim for compensation for unfair dismissal. Employer’s must follow the rules very carefully and must not use redundancy as a cheap alternative to unlawful dismissal for some other reason.
Compromise agreements otherwise known as settlement agreements can be made between employer and employee to resolve potential employment disputes. The usual scenario is that an employer who wishes to terminate an employee’s employment makes an offer that is contained in a written document for agreement between the parties. This offer may be subject to further negotiation with the employer and employee eventually submitting to slightly different terms which may include enhanced monetary compensation or less onerous restrictive covenants.
Redundancy arises where a job ceases to exist which is usually caused by re-organisation within the employers firm or as a result of bankruptcy.
The redundancy must be genuine and any employer who uses redundancy as an excuse to dismiss an employee where no genuine redundancy situation exists may be sued for unfair dismissal which potentially carries much higher damages awards. Some employers have dismissed by reason of redundancy which is a sham to get rid of employees with whom they have a personal grievance which, dependant on the circumstances may result substantial damages being awarded for sex or race discrimination. Genuine reasons for redundancy include :-
employer ceases the business
category or employment ceases or diminishes
business continues but with less staff
newer procedures require batter trained staff
employer needs dually qualified staff to economise
Fair Selection for Redundancy
The selection procedure for redundancy must have been conducted fairly and selection must have been made on reasonable grounds rather than the employer applying personal preferences for one employee over another. The Employment Tribunal must consider the following in deciding whether the redundancy was fair:-
was adequate and reasonable notice given
were fair selection criteria applied
was the employee’s work record considered
was consideration given to possible alternative jobs
Selection for redundancy must be made using reasonable selection criteria and failure to do so may mean that those unfairly selected for redundancy may have grounds to make an application for unfair dismissal which may carry more generous compensation than the statutory amount of a redundancy payment. What is considered ‘fair’ may depend on the industry and particular business. The legislation also prohibits selection for redundancy based on any of nine discriminatory grounds.
If the employer is insolvent and cannot pay redundancy payments or outstanding wages any enquiry for payment should be made to the liquidator or receiver of the business. Thereafter the UK government will administer payment.