Our Derbyshire based Employment Solicitors regularly act for both Employees and Employers. We know that managing employees can be difficult and it does not always run smoothly. Our team can help at the outset by drafting a contract of employment. We also can assist with disciplinary matters or if required termination of employment.
All employees should have a written contract of employment. That is the law but it is as much for the protection of the employer as it is for the employee. If there is no contract of employment, or it is only a verbal agreement, it is likely that there will be uncertainty. Uncertainty often leads to disagreement. We can prepare employment contracts or advise you if there needs to be changes to an existing contract. If an employer seeks to impose significant changes to an existing contract of employment (such as by asking you to work longer hours or at a different place) this can amount to a termination of the contract and, if mishandled, to a claim for unfair dismissal. Do ask us for help with any problems regarding your contract.
Where employer and employee have mutually agreed to terminate the employment contract they can enter into a legally binding severance or settlement agreement which normally includes a provision for the employer to pay the employee’s legal costs. It is important to ensure that the document covers everything that has been agreed upon. It has to be counter-signed by a solicitor or other approved advisor. This protects each party from claims by the other. We can help you by explaining exactly what rights you are giving up as part of the settlement and that you may be unintentionally surrendering rights which should be retained e.g. the continuing right to make claims for personal injury for undiscovered work-related illnesses or accidents.
Generally, employment law is a fast-changing area with increasingly complex legislation and procedural requirements. If you have work-related problems of any description do take proper advice before making any critical decision.
Redundancy means that the job disappears or the business requirements for employees to do work of a particular kind have ceased or diminished or are expected to do so. Frequently this critical definition is misunderstood. It is not redundancy to replace one employee with another doing exactly the same job, but it may be if the employee is replaced by an independent contractor.
The law relating to redundancy is complicated and there are several traps for the unwary; for example, employers must consult with employees as to any alternative work that can be offered before redundancy takes effect. Again, there are crucial time limits that apply for claims to an Employment Tribunal.
Problems with your workforce may arise from time to time. If you mishandle the situation or act in haste then your employees may be able to make successful and costly claims for unfair dismissal or wrongful termination of the contract. It is vital to take early advice; for example, it is better to suspend rather than dismiss an employee with whom you have had a serious disagreement whilst you carry out an investigation but there are pitfalls in doing this and you need legal advice before deciding what to do.
Lovedays Solicitors, Potter and Co Solicitors and Andrew Macbeth Cash and Co Solicitors are the trading names of Derbyshire Legal Services Limited (Company Registration Number 08838592) whose registered office is at Lovedays Solicitors, Crown Chambers, 6 Bank Road, Matlock, Derbyshire, DE4 3AQ.
The Directors of Derbyshire Legal Services Limited are C.D.Gale and R.LL.Roberts. The Company is otherwise authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority whose rules can be accessed at www.sra.org.uk