Problems in the Workplace (Part I)
Welcome to part I of our blog on how we can help with problems you might face in the workplace.
If you think your employer has treated you unfairly, it’s important to get legal advice as soon as possible. Employment law is complex and if you’re going to take your complaint to an employment tribunal, you’ll have to meet specific and tight deadlines.
explain your options
tell you if you have a legal case against your employer
help you decide whether your case is worth taking further
explain what you should do next
Types of claim
Dismissal is the legal term for being sacked. If you’ve been dismissed in a way that is not allowed by law, you can challenge it.
You can only claim for unfair dismissal if:
you’re an ‘employee’
you’ve worked there for two years, full or part-time
However, some dismissals may be ‘automatically unfair’. This means the two-year rule does not apply and you’re protected by law from the first day of your employment.
Automatically unfair dismissals include those due to:
health and safety issues
discrimination as recognised by law
Dismissal can also be automatically unfair if it happened because you asked for something that you have a legal right to, such as:
a minimum wage
a written contract
an itemised pay statement
leave for family reasons, including pregnancy or maternity
a written statement of your terms and conditions of employment
You’re protected against certain types of discrimination based on your:
religion or belief
pregnancy and maternity
marriage and civil partnership
If you believe you’re receiving unfair treatment for any of these reasons, you may have a discrimination claim. You can make a claim if unlawful treatment happens at any stage of your employment.
This includes how you were treated before you were employed, such as when you applied for the job, as well as after your employment ended. We can tell you more about this.
If you engage with us, you will need to explain your situation briefly over the phone and set a date for a meeting. You should tell us:
· the dates of any events you’re concerned about
· if you plan to bring someone with you to the meeting
It may be helpful to email us the history of your problem before the meeting.
You should also ask what documents you need to bring along.
At the meeting we are likely to ask you:
how much you earn
the details of your problem at work
how long you’ve worked for your employer
what events have led to your current situation
what, if anything, you’ve already done to sort out the matter
whether there are any documents you do not have that might be relevant to the case
If we believe you have a case and you want to take it further, we'll help you decide how you’re going to do this.
If you have not already done so, you should try to sort out the problem directly with your employer first. This is because:
it can be the quickest way to resolve problems
employment tribunals can reduce your compensation if you haven't used your employer’s internal procedures first
We can help you set out your case and, if appropriate, try to negotiate a settlement for you.
If you’re happy to negotiate directly with your employer, we can advise you how to do this.
Please look out for part II of our blog next month. Where we will continue to share advice on how we can help.