Employment Law

A contract of employment can end in many ways, including dismissal, resignation, and frustration. Unless the contract of employment specifically states otherwise, termination need not be effected in writing, and can, for example, be done orally. If an employer wishes to dismiss an employee lawfully, the dismissal must not be unfair nor breach the employee’s contract of employment. Having taken the decision to dismiss, there are further decisions for the employer, e.g., whether or not to:

  • give notice
  • pay the employee in lieu of notice, and/or
  • put the employee on garden leave
Unfair Dismissal Claims for unfair dismissal may only be brought in an employment tribunal and must be presented within three months of the effective date of termination of employment. The right to claim unfair dismissal is subject to a number of qualifying conditions and exceptions, including that the claimant must:

  • be an employee
  • have been dismissed

For employees starting fresh employment on or after 6 April 2012, the right not to be unfairly dismissed only arises when the employee has been continuously employed for a period of at least two years. However, there are many exceptions to the qualifying period requirement, mostly relating to situations in which the employee is automatically unfairly dismissed for one of a number of impermissible reasons, e.g., a maternity-related reason or a reason relating to leave for family reasons.

Wrongful Dismissal Wrongful dismissal is dismissal in breach of contract. If someone is wrongfully dismissed, they may claim compensation for all financial and other benefits that would have been received, had they been dismissed in compliance with the contract (i.e., had they remained employed until the end of their notice period or until the end of the contract’s fixed term). Some contracts may specify a precise sum (or a precise means of calculating it) that must be paid to end the contract lawfully, either as an alternative to giving notice or as the only means of termination. Other contracts state a specific sum that is to be paid in compensation in the event of dismissal in breach of contract. It is not possible to claim damages for the way in which the dismissal is conducted, but if an employee has already acquired a cause of action (in contract or negligence) at common law prior to dismissal, that, cause of action remains independent of the dismissal. An employee may also claim for pecuniary loss flowing from ‘stigma’ caused by a pre-dismissal contractual breach.
Redundancy For the purposes of entitlement to a redundancy payment, an employee is dismissed, by reason of redundancy if the reason for dismissal is:

  • the employer ceases carrying on the business in which the employee worked, or
  • the employer ceases carrying on the business in the place in which the employee worked, or
  • the business needed fewer people carrying out work of the kind which the employee performed. In general, employees dismissed by reason of redundancy have rights to:
  • a redundancy payment
  • fair selection for redundancy
  • proper consultation before dismissal
  • take reasonable time off to look for alternative employment

Redundancy payments are made to compensate employees for losing their jobs. A redundancy payment is payable when an employee with two years’ continuous employment is dismissed because of redundancy. The payment is calculated according to an employee’s age, their weekly pay, and the number of years of continuous employment they have.

Breach Of Contract A breach of contract is a failure to perform contractual obligations without lawful excuse. Remedies for breach of contract depend on the nature of the clause in the contract and the consequences of its breach. We can assist if you have suffered loss due to a breach of your employment contract. In most cases we can resolve the breach without the need to attend an Employment Tribunal or Civil Court
Settlement Agreements We represent employees in settlement agreements and ensure that clients are aware of the effect and implication of the terms of the agreement. You will need independent legal advice prior to signing your settlement agreement and it is imperative that you contact our solicitors to provide expert advice on issues concerning unknown claims and the creation of third-party rights. The cost of settlement agreements is normally paid for by your employer.
Why Choose Westbury Solicitors For Your Employment Disputes? Our employment team at Westbury Solicitors represent employees and employers on a regular basis from job applicants and entry-level workers to senior executive and Directors. Our experienced solicitors have extensive expertise in all aspects of employment law and understand that everyone’s case is unique. Where appropriate we will offer you an initial low-cost consultation so that we can get to grips with your matter and to provide appropriate advice. We understand that employment disputes could cause distress, anxiety, loss of employment and income. We are here to guide and support you during this challenging time. Our lawyers are enthusiastic about protecting your employment rights and will provide you with effective solutions and work to find a positive way forward and to secure a successful outcome. The team at Westbury Solicitors, are experienced in dealing with a wide range of employment disputes including:

  • Claims for unfair dismissal
  • Constructive dismissal
  • Contract disputes
  • Review of employment contracts and directors’ service agreements
  • Discrimination at the workplace
  • Raising workplace grievances
  • Employment Tribunal claims

Our Fees

  • Initial consultation with support staff will take details of client, confirm cost, arrange appointment and provide initial advise where possible£0
  • Consultation with employment solicitor Advise will be provided andrecorded in an email or client care letter and fee will depend on complexity of case. £160 – £250
  • Advise and review of co £500 – £1,500
  • Settlement Agreement (terms in settlement are Agreed) £250 – £450
  • Settlement Agreement (negotiating improved terms) £250 – £1,500

Employment Tribunal Claim

  • Simple case £4,000 – £5,000
  • Medium complexity £5,000 – £10,000
  • High complexity £10,000 – £20,000
Expenses/ Disbursements Counsel’s fee estimate is between £2,000 to £2,500 for the first day trial preparation and £800 to £1,500 per day for each subsequent day of the trial. Fees are dependent on the experience of counsel.
Average Fee Ranges At the beginning of the matter, we will provide an estimate of our likely charges however as there are so many variables in a matter such as this it may become necessary to revise our estimate. Any estimate revision will be fully discussed with you before any additional work is undertaken.
 
Additional factors:
The above are average prices based on recent instructions and assume a straightforward transaction without unforeseen complexity or issues. The actual cost will depend on the details of your particular transaction and whether any additional matters must be taken into account. Additional matters which can increase costs include, but are not limited to:

  • the other side acting in person;
  • the costs being disputed by the other side;
  • there being more witnesses or documents than normal;
  • preliminary issues which may need to be determined by the tribunal.

Items To Note The costs include the work involved with reviewing the relevant documents and advising on relevant legal principles, liaising with the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, monitoring the prospects of settlement, making or defending the claim, preparing for and attending a case management conference, preparing witness statements and other relevant documents, preparing or agreeing upon a trial bundle, preparing for and attending the hearing, arranging advocacy on your behalf and dealing with remedies and compensation following the hearing. We will ask you to pay money at the beginning of the matter and again at particular stages of the case. If we agree to defer the payment of our costs by entering into a damages-based agreement or a conditional fee agreement, our fees are not payable until the end of the work. You will be asked to pay money that is due to other people as those costs arise during the case. The costs quoted above do not include enforcement action or any appeals.

Timescale

Matters usually take 12 to 18 months to reach a final hearing. If there is an appeal or enforcement action is needed, the matter will take much longer to resolve.