Here to help...
No matter how many laws have been passed to protect employees, there is no legislating for human nature – some bosses will always do their own thing regardless and it is often their staff who get hurt as a result. There are any number of ways, obvious and not so obvious, that employment law can be broken and you would be surprised how little it takes before an infringement of the law occurs:
- Sex Discrimination
- Racial Discrimination
- Incorrect recruitment or redundancy procedures
- Unfair or constructive dismissal
- Improper or non-existent contract of employment
…and so much more
In general, the sooner you consult a solicitor, then the more options you will have. Sometimes the right employment law advice can help resolve disputes amicably. Having a qualified and experienced specialist employment solicitor acting for you can ensure your rights are respected.
Performance management is another complex area. Poor performance can lead to disciplinary procedures and even dismissal. If you feel your performance has been unfairly evaluated, then taking the right action can help avoid serious consequences. Specialist employment advice can help you decide what steps to take.
And a further area in which you will definitely need help is in the event of being made redundant under circumstances that require you to sign a settlement agreement that sets out the terms of your departure. The law requires you to have a solicitor manage this process for you – but don’t worry, the employer normally pays my fees.
A note on charges
On the question of fees, rwLaw is a business and I do charge for my services. I make it as easy as I can by charging for the first hour of advice at half my normal rate (expect to pay around £90+VAT). This is ample time to decide whether you have a case that requires action against your employer. If I believe you should be heard by an employment tribunal, I will show you how to manage the process yourself if you wish, in order to be more cost effective. The Employment Tribunal system is designed for individuals to be able to represent themselves – it is all handled in a very non-threatening environment designed to put you at your ease. However, you do not have to go it alone if you would prefer to have legal representation throughout your claim but be aware that the fees for this could ultimately be several thousands of pounds.
As of July 2017, the government's policy of charging employees to bring a claim to tribunal has been ruled unconstitutional and unlawful by the Supreme Court, which means fees will no longer apply. An employee will still be expected to seek conciliation through ACAS who will mediate between them and the employer. It is always best to avoid going to court, so this is where, hopefully, an agreement can be reached. But if it isn't, the employee now has no-cost recourse to tribunal.
A quick footnote to that: if a tribunal judge feels a claim is being brought out of malice or frivolously, they will demand a lump sum deposit pre-hearing in order to focus the plaintiff's mind on the financial consequences of losing the case.
Why do we charge for initial advice?
We are frequently asked if we give out free initial consultations. Some traditional law firms do give an initial interview at no charge, but do you remember the old saying ‘There’s no such thing as a free lunch’? Law firms, whether small or large, stay in business by charging for their time and expertise and would go out of business rather quickly if they didn’t make up for time which they have spent on all of these ‘free initial consultations’. Very frequently, a solicitor is under pressure to turn that ‘free’ interview into a money spinner, so how can you trust that the advice they are giving you is impartial and to your advantage? This is the reason why we charge half rate for initial consultations. You get the impartial advice which you need to make a decision, and we are not under pressure to concoct a tribunal claim out of thin air in order to pay our bills.
The Citizens Advice Bureau can offer you free advice, but while they offer a wonderful service, you will be very lucky to find a trained specialist employment lawyer there. Before embarking on what will become quite a costly exercise, it is much better to seek expert advice first. You can call rwLaw in total confidence.
Please note: If you are a client and we have made a contract with you by electronic means (which we do as our letters of engagement are sent by email) you may be entitled to use an EU online dispute resolution service to assist with any contractual dispute you may have with us. This service can be found at http://ec.europa.eu/odr. Our email address is firstname.lastname@example.org