Employment Law Services
Businesses often define their workforce as their most important asset and for many business owners, maintaining staff happiness and loyalty is a primary concern. However, disagreements with members of staff do still happen and when they do it can be extremely disruptive for your business. Making sure your business is compliant with the latest employment regulations and following correct procedures with your staff is the best defence against a long and disruptive employment dispute.
It is, therefore, extremely important that employers are aware of their legal obligations and have proper procedures in place for dealing with staffing issues. Getting the paperwork right is not only a legal requirement, but it helps to protect your business and helps your employees to understand what is expected of them. Our specialist team can provide advice to businesses across all areas of employment law. We can advise on and provide employment documentation for all sorts of businesses, ranging from a small shop with a single employee up to a multi-site company looking to draw up a complex director service agreement.
This page covers our employment law services for businesses. If you are an employee seeking employment law advice, please see our Employment Disputes service page.
Expert Employment Law Advice
Even in the best managed businesses, workplace relations can become strained and this can potentially lead to a time-consuming and costly dispute. The best advice we can offer any business in this position is to seek advice as early as possible. By seeking employment law advice early, we can help you to deal quickly, effectively and fairly with any issues and prevent them from becoming a more serious problem for your business.
As well as providing advice, we can also help you if an employee brings a claim against you. Our team will be on hand to advise you throughout the claim as you try to resolve the dispute and if necessary, we are also able to represent you in the Employment Tribunal.
Our employment law team will handle your matter promptly and cost-effectively, providing you with practical and clear advice in plain English. Delegating your employment law matters to dedicated professionals will free you up to focus on the needs of your business. We can help your business with a wide range of employment law related issues including:
Since 6th April 2020, all workers have been entitled to receive a written statement of particulars of employment within two months of commencing work. This statement must include the days on which the employee is expected to work as well as whether these days are variable and how this will be determined. You will also need to state remuneration and the benefits you will provide to the employee, details about the probationary period, and information about training entitlement and mandatory training. There are also other elements to include which our Employment Team can advise you on.
A very important thing to consider when creating a contract of employment is that a contract cannot override employment law. If a contract does not specify or contradicts rights that are already given in law, employment law will override your contract of employment. In most cases where a contract differs from employment law it is because the employer is not aware of the law and they may be surprised to discover that their terms of employment are in breach of the law.
Many employers do not regularly update their contracts and can find that as employment law changes, their contracts drift further from current employment law. This can present significant issues for an employer in the event of a dispute with an employee. The Employment Team at Fraser Dawbarns have significant experience with writing and updating contracts of employment as well as accompanying staff handbooks. If you need to create a contract of employment for your workers or would like to update an existing contract, contact us today for advice on creating a contract that protects your business as well as your employees.
Businesses should have policies that cover all their main HR issues and compile these into a Staff Handbook so that all employees are aware of the company’s policies. Handbooks can be either contractual or non-contractual. A contractual handbook means that all policies are treated as though they are part of the employee’s contract. It is worth being aware that this not only binds the employees but also binds the company and leaves them more vulnerable to breach of contract claims.
Non-contractual handbooks allow the employer more flexibility to alter and change policies to keep pace with changes in the law, and as they are non-contractual, this can be done without employee consent. It should be stated in the handbook whether it is contractual or non-contractual. Regardless of whether your handbook is contractual or not, you could save time and expense down the line by speaking to Fraser Dawbarns for help with your staff handbook. Our flexible range of options allows you to consult with us through the entire process or have us on standby for the occasional consultation. Contact us today to see how we can help you.
Discrimination, Bullying and Harassment
If an employee believes that they have been treated unfairly and this treatment is because of a ‘protected characteristic’ as defined in the Equality Act 2010, they may bring a discrimination claim against you. Discrimination occurs when people with these characteristics are treated differently to others:
- Marriage or civil partnership
- Religion or Belief
- Sexual orientation
Examples of discrimination include preventing the observance of one religion but not others or denying benefits to people under or over a certain age.
As well as the above examples of direct discrimination, it is also unlawful to indirectly discriminate such as applying a policy that puts any particular group at a disadvantage and reasonable adjustments must be made to enable any disabled employees can work. If you are unsure about what constitutes discrimination, speak to the Employment Team at Fraser Dawbarns who can help you to ensure that your business is compliant.
While there is no legal definition of bullying, and an employee cannot make a complaint about bullying to the employment tribunal, it is possible for them to resign and claim constructive dismissal. Even though it is not directly covered by employment law, employers should have policies in place to protect their employees from bullying and when allegations are raised, they should be taken seriously and dealt with promptly.
Discrimination, bullying and harassment claims can be extremely difficult for a business to deal with and have the potential to cause considerable damage to the reputation of your business. If you find yourself confronted with a claim, you want a team on your side who understands the law and can help you through the situation. Speak to the team at Fraser Dawbarns who can advise you on your best course of action.
Disciplinaries and Grievances
Employers are required to have grievance and disciplinary procedures in place and to clearly communicate these to all staff. Without them, you are running the risk of facing claims in the employment tribunal. Acas provides a Code of Practice for employers which will guide you through creating the correct paperwork and procedures. Disciplinary procedures can be risky for an employer who does not follow the Acas Code of Practice, failure to do so can cause any award made against you to be increased by up to 25%.
The Employment Team at Fraser Dawbarns has helped businesses of all sizes to create and implement disciplinary and grievance policies; we can help you to get your business compliant with the Acas Code of Practice. Contact our team to find out how we can help you.
When a relationship between you and an employee has broken down to the point that they are no longer able to continue working for your business, a settlement agreement may be your best course of action. Settlement agreements can protect your business against future litigation and allow you to quickly bring their employment to an end.
The Employment Team at Fraser Dawbarns has a wide range of experience when it comes to settlement agreements and can advise you throughout the whole process, from deciding if a settlement agreement is necessary and what a fair level of compensation would be, through to preparing the agreement. Having a specialist can also be useful as we can advise on areas that may not be immediately obvious, such as whether a restrictive covenant in the settlement agreement would be advantageous to your business.
Contact the Employment Team at Fraser Dawbarns for more information on how we can help you with settlements and negotiated departures.
Unfair and Wrongful Dismissal
Dismissals and redundancies are unpleasant for any business, but a difficult experience can be made all the worse if you are taken to an employment tribunal for unfair or wrongful dismissal. The best defence against such a claim is to follow a fair and reasonable dismissal procedure. If you are in any doubt, seek legal advice before dismissing an employee.
An employee can only claim ordinary unfair dismissal after two years continuous employment and if they have been sacked without fair grounds. Fair reasons for dismissal include: redundancy, poor conduct, and inability to perform their job. However, if the employee is sacked for whistleblowing, health and safety activities or has been the victim of discrimination, the dismissal is automatically unfair regardless of their length of service.
Redundancies should be handled with care. To avoid unfair claims, staff should only be made redundant in genuine redundancy situations such as reorganisation or relocation. The employer must also select the staff who are to be made redundant fairly and objectively after reasonable consultation, giving adequate notice and a fair opportunity to appeal.
Wrongful dismissal occurs if the employee is dismissed without proper notice and can claim the normal remuneration they would have received during this period. If an employer breaches an employee's contract, they may be entitled to resign and claim constructive dismissal.
Dismissals are unfortunately a necessary part of employing a workforce, but if not handled correctly can become a major problem for your business. Speak to the Employment Team at Fraser Dawbarns for help creating a fair dismissals procedure and for help with potentially complicated dismissals before they occur. It could save your business time, money and potential loss of reputation.
TUPE and Transfers
Anyone buying a business or taking over a contract for services, or restructuring a business, is likely to be affected by TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment)) Regulations 2006. These regulations apply to both public and private businesses, regardless of size and ignoring them can lead to expensive claims in the employment tribunal.
If you are responsible for a business that is changing ownership, acquiring other businesses assets, are involved in a major restructuring that affects the employees of the organisation, or are changing your service provider, you should seek advice on TUPE and how it affects you. Contact our Employment Team for a discussion on your rights and obligations in these circumstances.
Other Employment Law Services
As well as the areas described above, we can help you with any legal employment issue that you are likely to encounter. Our full range of employment law services also includes:
- Employee Rights
- Sickness and Sick Pay
- Maternity and Paternity Leave and Pay
- Shared Parental Leave
- Consultancy Agreements
- Home, Remote and Lone Working Policies
- Restrictive Covenants
- Redundancy and Restructuring
If you would like help on anything not listed, we can probably help with that too. For high quality advice on employment law issues, please do not hesitate to contact our specialist team to see how we can help you.
Our employment law team regularly advise businesses on how to handle disputes in the workplace. We want to help you to avoid costly and time-consuming disputes by helping you to implement policies and procedures that will protect you against claims. Unfortunately, disputes cannot always be avoided and agreement cannot always be reached. While it may be distressing to find yourself in this situation, the Employment Team at Fraser Dawbarns can help you.
If the case goes to an Employment Tribunal, we can provide a full representation service, either representing you ourselves or by using specialist counsel if the dispute reaches a stage where a barrister is required or more appropriate. Alternatively, we can take a more limited role, advising you during the process rather than providing full representation.
If an employment dispute has reached the stage where the employment tribunal seem like a likely outcome, do not hesitate to contact one of our employment team to discuss how we can help you through the tribunal process.
I would like to give a big thank you to Rebekah and Paige for being there when I needed help and advice. If they could not give me the details straight away, they always rang me back with the answers to put my mind at rest. They never let me down. Well done to you both.Client - Wisbech Office
Why Choose Fraser Dawbarns for your Business?
Direct Access to your Solicitor
Our Employment Team develops a good understanding of our client’s businesses and form close working relationships with our business clients. Clients who wish to arrange an appointment with our Employment Team can do so easily, visiting us at any of our offices across East Cambridgeshire and West Norfolk. We can also visit you at your business if you prefer.
At Fraser Dawbarns, we recognise that there is no ‘one size fits all’. With our flexible pricing options, we give our clients the choice of different pricing options. You can choose whether you would like us to undertake your work on a fixed fee basis or at an hourly rate, selecting the pricing option that best suits your needs.
No Hidden Charges
Clients opting for our fixed fee service, will know how much they will pay for the matter before we start work. Clients who prefer to be billed at an hourly rate will also be given a realistic range of costs before we begin. Transparency and trustworthiness are important to us, and we will never surprise you with hidden charges that were not explained to you at the outset.
Contact Us Today
Our team will help you from the beginning of your case to the end, giving you total peace of mind. If you would like friendly, client focused advice on a wide range of legal issues, get in touch and see how we can help you.
Call or email us today and find out how we can make your life easier.