Having a contract dispute with your employer can be frustrating and stressful. But you don’t have to face this challenge alone.
It is important that the terms of your contract are fair and that your employer upholds them in line with the letter of UK law, and we at First4lawyers can help make sure that’s the case. Indeed, in 2011–12 there were 32,100 claims of breach of contract accepted by employment tribunals.
Our employment lawyers can advise you of your rights and guide you toward resolving your situation. We can provide solicitors experienced in contract disputes to help fight your case or negotiate a fair settlement – just get in touch.
What are the reasons that contract disputes may arise?
Employment law is complex. As a result, there are many reasons why a dispute may arise between you and a current or former employer. Some of the most common reasons are:
- Unfair treatment – This may include discrimination on the grounds of ethnic origin or colour, gender, marital status (including civil partnership), age or disability, pregnancy or childbirth.
- Unclear job role – Your role in your job must correspond with the job description in your contract.
- Poor communication – Your employer is legally obliged to provide you with any information that affects you in your role.
- Poor work environment – Your employer has a duty to provide a safe working environment in line with the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974.
- An increase in workload – An employer cannot force you to work over the number of hours in your contract and you have a legal right to refuse to do so.
- Redundancy – The job role you have left must no longer exist, otherwise it could be grounds for unfair dismissal. If your employer makes more than 20 people redundant at once, they must engage you and every other employee in collective consultation. UK law states failure to do so will make the redundancies automatically unfair.
- Restrictive covenants – These are clauses in contracts that restrict your right to conduct certain activities after you leave your job. They must have an expiry date and stipulate reasonable geographical limitations.
How can I prepare for difficult conversations with employers?
You can start by checking it wasn’t a mistake or misunderstanding that caused the issue. For example, if you haven’t been paid the right amount, or not at all, it would be advisable to check with the relevant person or department to see if they can rectify the mistake before making an official complaint.
If you are unable to resolve the matter informally, you may wish to:
- Talk to your line manager, or union representative.
- Get advice from a third party, such as a firm of specialist employment solicitors.
- Record relevant events that could form part of your case (including dates and times).
- Keep copies of all relevant correspondence (emails, letters, faxes etc.).
What form do disputes take?
If you have a dispute with a current employer, you should first try to resolve any issues you have informally. If you can’t, you can use their grievance procedure, and can appeal if your employer does not uphold your complaint.
If you have a dispute with your former employer regarding unfair dismissal, discrimination or unfair deductions from your pay, you can take your case to an employment tribunal.
I want legal advice with regard to a claim against an employer – what should I do?
If you intend to make a claim concerning any area of your employment contract, you should source advice from professionals experienced in contract disputes.
If you contact First4lawyers, we can assign expert employment law solicitors to your case. We are able to help you navigate the complexities of all the legislation, and work to reach the best possible outcome for your needs.