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Employment solicitors: What do they do?

ESTIMATED READING TIME: 4 MINS

Carrie Tennick, May 29, 2019

If you have a problem at work, you’ll probably head to your line manager or HR to resolve it. But what if the issue has gone further than that? Who do you turn to?

Employment solicitors deal with the most serious work-related issues, from wrongful dismissal to discrimination in the workplace.

What do employment solicitors do?

If you need to approach an employment solicitor, you’re no doubt dealing with a serious problem at work. It may have reached the point where you need to take it to an employment tribunal. Once it’s reached this level of severity, a specialist employment solicitor is likely going to be the best person you can speak to.

Just some of the issues employment solicitors can help with are:

Employment tribunals

You’ll need to make a claim to a tribunal within three months of the issue happening or your employment ending. You’ll also need to go through early conciliation with ACAS before you’re able to take your employer to a tribunal.

Wrongful dismissal

If your employer has broken the terms of your contract in ending your employment, you have likely been wrongfully dismissed. This may include being fired without notice or a shorter notice period than what was set out in your contract. And if this has happened, you should seek legal assistance.

Unfair dismissal

Different to wrongful dismissal, unfair dismissal refers to an occasion when have been let go for reasons the law considers unjust. It may also occur when your employer has a fair reason for sacking you but has not followed the correct procedure. In order to make a claim for unfair dismissal, you need to have been working continuously for the same employer for two years.

Constructive dismissal

If you’ve resigned from your job, despite not wanting to, because of your employer’s conduct, you could have a claim for constructive dismissal. This is particularly true if your employer has breached your contract of employment. Some examples of fundamental breaches of contract are harassment, bullying, discrimination, failure to pay wages due, significantly altering a job description at short notice, excessive demotion or disciplining, failure to investigate a grievance or complaint.

Discrimination at work

Under the Equality Act 2010, it is illegal to discriminate against a person with a protected characteristic. These are age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex and sexual orientation. That means if you’ve been discriminated against at work because of any of these aspects, you could need legal representation.

Redundancy

There are strict rules around redundancy so if your employer has broken them, you might require the help of an employment solicitor to make things right. Redundancy can only happen if the business closes down, the building where you work closes, your employer needs fewer employees to carry out your work, new technology makes your job unnecessary or your employer needs to cut costs by reducing staff numbers.

Contract disputes

You might end up in a contract dispute with your employer over unfair treatment, an unclear job role, poor communication or work environment, a rise in workload, redundancy or restrictive covenants. Legal representation can help you come to a resolution that works for you.

Compromise agreements

Also known as a settlement agreement, a compromise agreement is a contract between you and a current or former employer that ends your employment. A settlement agreement will normally provide a one-off payment. In return, the agreement will state that you cannot pursue any grievance or claim against the company at an employment tribunal. You will need independent legal advice from an employment solicitor to validate the agreement.

Bullying and harassment

The law views workplace harassment as unwanted behaviour that causes alarm or distress. A significant number of cases are related to a person’s age, gender, race, sexual orientation, religion or beliefs. If you suffer unwanted behaviour directed at you because you are pregnant or raising a child, or because of your marital status, this can also be classed as harassment. If you’re experiencing bullying and harassment at work, you may need the services of a specialist employment solicitor.

How do employment solicitors help?

Just as you’re an expert in your job, employment solicitors are experts in theirs. They know the law and when it’s been broken. And they can help you when this is the case.

You’ll know when something doesn’t feel right at work. If you can’t speak to your employer about a concern – whether it’s because they’re responsible for it or you fear repercussions – then going to an employment solicitor might be the best course of action.

They’ll be able to advise you on whether you should pursue legal action against your employer. And if this is indeed the next step, the right employment solicitors will give you the best chance at securing the outcome you want.

If you need help with an employment issue, First4Lawyers could help you find the right legal help. Just give us a call, request a callback at the top of your screen or start your enquiry here.