Employment Tribunal Solicitors - UK Compensation Claims Advice
SOLICITORS HELPLINE: ☎ 0344 414 0018
Employment Tribunal cases are very common with tens of thousands of applications or 'complaints' being dealt with formally every year in addition to many more disputes between employers and employees that are settled on an informal basis following submissions made by employment tribunal solicitors by the payment of compensation.
Specialist employment tribunal solicitors deal with a wide range of cases including unfair dismissal, constructive dismissal, redundancy, sexual and racial harassment and discrimination and age and disability discrimination. In addition they deal with disputes arising from unlawful wage agreements and unacceptable working conditions.
Employment Tribunal cases are dealt with in a similar fashion to a case that is heard in a civil court however it is less formal and the procedures are less stringent leading to a more relaxed atmosphere. Hearings are held at local offices situated all over the country. Each case is conducted by a panel of three government appointed board members. This board is made up of a Chairman and two lay officers who act independently and listen to both sides of the complaint. The chairman is usually legally qualified with the others nominated by an employers associated and a trades union respectively.
Employees in the United Kingdom have clearly defined rights in regards to employment matters that are contained in UK legislation, adopted EC regulations and case law built up over decades emanating mainly from the High Court of Justice and from the Employment Appeals Tribunal. Violation of these rights is often a ground for a complaint and financial compensation. If you need to discuss any of the matters outlined below just contact our employment tribunal solicitors for free employment rights advice :-
Health and safety protection
The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 requires the workplace to be safe for both employees and visitors to the company. All risks must be assessed and appropriate safeguards must be introduced to protect the health and safety of anyone who may be exposed to a risk to their health. There are heavy fines for any company that does not comply with these regulations and the company may be forced to shut down. Any employee regularly exposed to hazards should urgently take employment rights advice from a specialist solicitor as they may be entitled to claim damages for constructive dismissal in the Employment Tribunal and in addition it may be possible to claim compensation for personal injury in a Court of Law.
Working time rights
The maximum number of hours an employee is allowed to work per week is 48 although there are some employees who opt to exceed this number. If an employee chooses to work more than 48 hours per week they have to provide written consent to their employer. Employers are not allowed to require employees to work more than 48 hours per week or to treat them differently if they refuse.
Most employees are entitled to four weeks paid holiday per year. They usually have the choice on when to take their holidays although some businesses can dictate when an employee can take their holiday. The normal four weeks paid holiday, can in some cases include annual statutory holidays including bank holidays etc.
Employees are entitled to receive minimum sick pay according to law. Their employment contract should outline the terms and amount of the sick pay to be received.
If an employee works for more than six hours a day, a rest break of 20 minutes is allowed.
National minimum wage
The National Minimum Wage Act 1998 determines minimum rates of pay for several classes of employee mainly dependent on age. The minimum wage rates are constantly revised and it is the responsibility of the employer to be aware of any changes and to effect those changes.
The chance to join a Trades Union
It is the right of every employee to choose whether or not to join a Trades Union. It is unlawful for an employer to treat an employee differently from other employees just because they chose to join a Trades Union.
All employers are now legally required to provide a minimum formal procedure for dealing with grievances, dismissal and disciplinary action. The law aims to ensure employees can swiftly tackle issues of injustice using agreed means of communication. It also provides employers with a structured system for dealing with emotive issues.
Failure to raise a complaint in line with company policy can significantly damage an employees rights in future legal action. The Employment Tribunal may reject a solicitors claim if the matter was not handled correctly from the outset. Even when an employee succeeds in proving liability, compensation can be reduced by as much as half if the employee did not follow formal internal company procedures, however, compensation can be increased significantly in a successful case where an employee can show that the employer failed to implement their own disciplinary procedures.
The process of raising a complaint at work can be complicated. The legislation has introduced a series of new directives. For example, employees must now write to the employer about the problem and wait at least 28 days for a response before making a claim. It is important to comply with legal requirements at all stages. Specialist solicitors can provide fully up-to-date free advice on the latest grievance procedures.
Employment Appeal Tribunal
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) system was created by the Employment Protection Act 1975. Usually claims can only be forwarded to the EAT when a specific point of law is being appealed. An EAT is presided over by a panel which consists of a judge, appointed by the Lord Chancellor and lay workers with experience in employer relations. Employees are usually represented by a solicitor or a member of a relevant trade union during an appeal. Sometimes, the Equal Opportunities Commission, the Commission for Racial Equality and the Disability Rights Commission have the power to represent the claimant. Applicants can also choose to represent themselves. In exceptional circumstances the EAT will allow new evidence. It will only be considered if it meets two conditions. Firstly, the information which is presented could not have reasonably been known at the time of the original hearing and secondly, the evidence has a significant effect on the hearing. Legal Aid is available to pay for legal representation in an EAT.
A point of law refers to the interpretation of statute, legislation or rules relevant to the employment of the appellant. If the law was interpreted or applied wrongly by the Employment Tribunal then the applicant has the right to ask the EAT to clarify the issue in contention. The decision of the EAT can subsequently be appealed to the Court of Appeal which is part of the High Court but only in very restricted circumstances.
There are time limits on solicitors making application for an appeal and in general terms a prospective appellant has only 42 days from the final order of the Employment Tribunal to lodge an application with the EAT. The following time limits also apply :-
Workplace maltreatment can be a confidence sapping experience. Employees can feel intimidated and unsure about challenging those responsible for illegal behaviour or conditions. The necessary formality of employment dispute negotiation can add to a victims discomfort. Practical support is available from unions, the Citizens Advice Bureau and specialist solicitors. The Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) is another helpful service. ACAS mediators work with everyone involved to try to find a solution satisfactory to everyone, prior to an Employment Tribunal hearing.
Employment Tribunal Solicitors
If you believe you have a claim, it is important to get advice from a solicitor specialising in the field of employment law. If you would like legal advice just email our offices or telephone the helpline for an instant consultation at no cost or send the contact form. If you have a viable case it will be dealt with using a risk free no win no fee arrangement. This means that if you don't get paid then your solicitor also doesn't get paid. No legal charge is payable unless the legal case is won and the client obtains an award of compensation. In the event that the legal claim is lost there is no charge made to the client.
SOLICITORS HELPLINE: ☎ 0344 414 0018