Message us via WhatsApp

Employment Law FAQs

What is employment law?

Employment law is what governs how employers can treat their employees and what staff can do if they consider they have been treated unlawfully.

How does employment law affect a business?

Employment law affects every business that employs people or has people working for it. Employers have to comply with their legal duties towards their staff or face potential consequences if they fail to do so.

What are the aspects of employment covered by law?

The law covers every aspect of employment from recruitment through to termination of employment. There are several protected characteristics covered by the Equality Act 2010, such as sex, race, disability, etc, which gives important additional protection to workers.

How long do I have to bring a claim to the Employment Tribunal?

For most claims, you have to submit an ACAS Early Conciliation Notification within 3 months of the act or incident you are complaining about. For dismissal claims, the limit is 3 months, minus one day.  Once you have obtained an ACAS Early Conciliation certificate, further important deadlines apply to bringing claims to the employment tribunals.

What is an employment tribunal?

An employment tribunal is similar to a court in many ways. It has jurisdiction to hear legal cases brought in relation to employment matters and workers’ rights.

What happens at an employment tribunal?

An employment tribunal will determine whether or not a claim is successful.  If it is successful, the tribunal will decide on the appropriate remedy, which is usually the award of a sum of money. The tribunal hearing is presided over by a judge and sometimes there are two additional members of the panel, depending on the type of claim being brought. Evidence is normally given orally by a witness, just as they would in a court case.

What happens if I lose an employment tribunal?

You normally are not responsible for paying the legal costs of your opponent.  However, in certain limited circumstances, the opponent can apply for costs against you.  This is usually where the tribunal finds you have acted unreasonably in bringing or defending the case, or where you have pursued an argument that had no prospect of succeeding.
If you consider that the employment tribunal has made an error in law in its judgment or if its judgment has no logical basis from the facts it has established, you could seek to bring an appeal to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (the EAT).  Bringing an appeal successfully is difficult, but by no means impossible.

I have been given a Settlement Agreement and need to take legal advice on it. What is its purpose?

A settlement agreement is a legal document that sets out the terms under which an employee agrees not to pursue claims against their employer.  This is usually in return for the employer offering a sum of money.  It is often used when somebody’s employment is ending and the employer is offering the employee more than just their minimum rights.
For the settlement agreement to be legally binding, the employee has to obtain independent advice from a qualified adviser, which is usually a solicitor.  The employer normally agrees to cover the reasonable cost of the employee getting this advice.

What are my rights and how do I make an equal pay claim?

It is unlawful for an employer to pay a woman less than they pay a man (and vice versa) for doing the same work or work that is of the equivalent value.  If you have been paid less than an appropriate comparator of the opposite sex, you therefore have a potential complaint for equal pay.
Bringing equal pay claims is not a straight-forward exercise and we strongly advise that you seek legal advice before submitting a compliant to an employment tribunal.

What is gross misconduct?

Gross misconduct is improper conduct relating to work that is so serious that it justifies the immediate termination of the employment contract by the employer.  It is the most serious form of misconduct and covers issues such as dishonesty, theft, serious violence and threats, unlawful harassment and sometimes can also include gross negligence.

What if my employer cannot prove there has been gross misconduct?

The standard of proof in employment cases is on the “balance of probabilities”.  In other words, your employer has to be able to demonstrate its findings based on it being more likely than not that something occurred.  A 51% likelihood of something happening could still be enough, as it is not like a criminal case where the standard of proof is the much higher test of “beyond reasonable doubt”.
Your employer does not always have to prove gross misconduct occurred. It can be sufficient that it has followed a fair procedure, including a reasonably through investigation, that the person who took the decision to dismiss believed there had been gross misconduct and that at the time the decision was taken it was reasonable for them to have held this belief.

What if my employer cannot prove there has been gross misconduct?

If you have been dismissed or are facing potential dismissal, you should be aware that the test the employment tribunals apply for gross misconduct is quite complex.  It is not the role of the tribunal to find whether the alleged misconduct occurred, but rather to scrutinise the process followed by the employer, including the investigation and the decision-making process.  Employees sometimes mistakenly believe that an employment tribunal will re-hear all the evidence in their disciplinary case, but this is not the role of a tribunal.

Should I appeal my gross misconduct dismissal?

You should appeal your gross misconduct dismissal if you disagree with the outcome and if you believe you have a basis on which to successfully challenge the outcome.

What is the maximum statutory redundancy payment?

The maximum statutory redundancy payment is currently £17,130.  In this calculation, a week’s pay is capped at a maximum amount of £571 a week.  The calculation is also based on a person’s length of service and their age at the time of dismissal.

Was this article helpful?

Call: 0151 236 8871 Make an Enquiry Email: Call: 0151 236 8871