Employment law and human resource matters are amongst the most challenging factors in running a business. From recruitment to termination we can advise on all matters which affect your business. We don't just tell you what the law says, we show you how to apply it to get the most favourable outcome, whatever your industry sector or size. You can contact us or visit us at us at our Sheffield and Doncaster offices to discuss any issue which you may have.

Handling Disciplinary and Grievance Issues

Handling Disciplinary and Grievance Issues

Disciplinary action is used by an employer to take action against an employee for misconduct, whilst a grievance procedure is used by an employee who wishes to make a complaint to their employer about an aspect of their work. In either situation it is vital that, as a business, you deal with the issue by following a fair process and come to a reasoned and considered decision – it is here that our experienced team of employment lawyers and HR specialists can help.

Our employment law team works with businesses and organisations every day to help them resolve workplace issues in a cost effective and timely manner, allowing them to concentrate on running and growing their business. We can take an active role in the process, preparing template letters and meeting scripts for you to use, or we can simply be in the background to answer any questions you may have and to advise you on the final decision. Either way, we will ensure that the procedures you follow comply with employment legislation and, importantly, the ACAS Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures, which provides guidelines for handling these issues in the workplace (http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=2174). A failure to follow the ACAS Code of Practice when dealing with disciplinary and grievance issues can result in the employee receiving an increase of up to 25% in any award that is made to them if the matter was to go to the Employment Tribunal.

If you are concerned about a discipline or grievance issue in your business, call us for a free initial consultation today – we can discuss the matter over the phone, by Skype, or in person at your business premises or at our offices in Sheffield or Doncaster.

Termination of Employment (incl. Settlement Agreements)

Termination of Employment (incl. Settlement Agreements)

For any reasonable employer the decision to dismiss an employee is not taken lightly, but there are times when it is unavoidable. Whether it is caused by a downturn in business or because of the conduct or performance of the employee, our specialist team of employment solicitors will guide you through the process to minimise the risk of a potential Employment Tribunal claim.

There are a number of potentially fair reasons that an employer can rely on to dismiss an employee; redundancy, misconduct and capability (which can cover poor performance and ill health) being the most common. If you think you may have reason to dismiss an employee but are unsure whether it is fair or sufficient, call us today for a free consultation. Unlike other advisers, we will never say that you cannot take a particular course of action – it is your business and only you can decide what’s best. However, we will set out (in plain English) what the risks are of a particular course of action and what the potential costs implications could be for your business, allowing you to make an informed decision.

Even if an employer can demonstrate that it has a fair reason for dismissal, it is not the end of the story. A dismissal for a fair reason may still be found by the Employment Tribunal to be unfair if the 

employer is unable to show that the procedure that it followed was fair and reasonable. Our team can guide you through the process, providing template letters and scripts for meetings, to ensure that the procedure you follow satisfies the legislation and, in cases of misconduct, the ACAS Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures (http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=2174).   

There is a common misconception that an employer can dismiss an employee who has less than two year’s service without any risk. Whilst it is correct that an employee with less than two year’s service does not have the legal right to bring a claim for unfair dismissal, the individual may still be able to pursue a claim for discrimination or a claim under the whistle-blowing legislation if dismissed. We would always recommend, therefore, taking advice before making any decision to dismiss to an employee. In fact, the only entirely risk free dismissals are those that are covered by a Settlement Agreement.

Settlement Agreements are legally binding agreements which are used to formalise a full and final settlement between an employer and an employee. The consequence of an employee signing a Settlement Agreement is that they are then prevented from bringing or pursuing a claim against you, as their employer.

For further on advice on this, or any other employment law issue, call us for a free initial consultation today – we can discuss the matter over the phone, by Skype, or in person at your business premises or at our offices in Sheffield or Doncaster.

 

Contracts of Employment and Staff Handbooks

Contracts of Employment

Employment law makes it a requirement for an employer to provide an employee with a statement of their main terms and conditions of employment within two months of their employment commencing. However, the provision of contracts of employment and staff handbooks is much more than just a legal requirement – drafted correctly they can set out the expectations, culture and vision of your business. Our specialist team of employment lawyers can work with you to prepare the correct contracts and policies to work specifically for your organisation – what’s more, given our years of experience and our access to a bank of precedents, it is likely to cost a lot less than what you might think!

One of the key issues to consider when preparing contracts is that of ‘employment status’ – that is, whether the individual you are engaging with is intended to be an employee, a worker or self-employed. Employment status matters because, as well as determining what statutory employment rights the individual is entitled to, it will have a significant impact on the level of tax that must be paid on their earnings. Our team can provide you with expert advice with regard to employment status and, importantly, will ensure that the contracts we prepare accurately reflect the nature of the employment relationship.

Even once contracts are in place, there may be occasions when it is necessary to change contractual terms because of economic circumstances or due to a reorganisation of your business. Most significant changes to the contract will require the express consent of the affected employees, which in turn may require a period of consultation. It is important to note that changes that are made without the employee’s consent may entitle the employee to resign from their position and claim constructive dismissal. 

For further on advice on this, or any other employment law issue, call us for a free initial consultation today – we can discuss the matter over the phone, by Skype, or in person at your business premises or at our offices in Sheffield or Doncaster.

Discrimination in the Workplace

Discrimination in the Workplace

The Equality Act 2010 provides employees with protection against discrimination and other prohibited conduct, with the aim of improving equal job opportunities and fairness for employees and job applicants. Under the Act, it is unlawful for employers to discriminate against current or prospective employees because of nine ‘protected characteristics’, as follows:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender Reassignment
  • Marriage and Civil Partnership
  • Pregnancy and Maternity
  • Race
  • Religion or Belief
  • Sex
  • Sexual Orientation.

Discrimination law covers all areas of employment, from job adverts and the recruitment process, through to conduct during employment, work social events, and job references. Employees, and those applying for a position, are protected from discrimination from day one – there is no requirement for an employee to have two years continuous service to bring a claim under the Equality Act.

Although it is not something that is required by law, it is recommended that all employers should have an equal opportunities policy in place to encourage fairness at work and to prevent discrimination. It is important to note that there is no cap on the level of compensation that an employee can be awarded at the Employment Tribunal, if it is found that they have been subjected to discrimination in the workplace. 

Our specialist team of employment lawyers regularly advise employers of all sizes to ensure that they comply with their obligations under the Equality Act. This can include drafting Equal Opportunities policies, providing training to managers and employees or dealing with specific issues such as reasonable adjustments for disabled employees.

For further advice on this, or any other employment law issue, call us for a free initial consultation today – we can discuss the matter over the phone, by Skype, or in person at your business premises or at our offices in Sheffield or Doncaster.

Employment Tribunal Litigation

Every day we work with businesses of all sizes and across all sectors providing specialist employment law advice to help prevent and resolve workplace issues before they escalate. However, there are times when the risk of an Employment Tribunal claim is simply unavoidable.

If you are faced with an Employment Tribunal claim, our experienced team of employment law solicitors are here to provide you with the robust, expert representation you need to allow you to focus on what you do best – running your business.

We are proud to have helped clients successfully defend claims for unfair dismissal, constructive dismissal, discrimination and whistle-blowing. We will support you throughout the process, from drafting your initial response to the claim to providing representation at the final hearing. We are also experienced negotiators and can help you achieve a successful settlement of the claim, should you wish.

Our vast experience of handling Employment Tribunal proceedings ensures that the costs, stress and management time often associated with litigation is kept to a minimum. Call us for a free initial consultation today – we can discuss the matter over the phone, by Skype, or in person at your business premises or at our offices in Sheffield or Doncaster.

Restrictive Covenants

If a key employee was to leave your business tomorrow, how would you protect your confidential information and your most important customers and suppliers?

Restrictive covenants are terms that are inserted into an employee’s contract of employment to restrict that employee’s activities for a period of time after their employment has ended. They can be used to prevent the employee from dealing with your clients or suppliers, using confidential information about your company or even from working for a competitor.

There is a common misconception that all such clauses are unenforceable. Whilst the law regarding the enforceability of restrictive covenants is complex, provided that they are drafted correctly these types are restrictions can certainly be used to provide your business with important protection from former employees.

Our specialist team of employment solicitors can assist you in drafting restrictive covenants for your contracts that are enforceable and that accurately reflect the circumstances of the business. Should one of your employees act in breach of their restrictions, we can also provide your business with robust representation to enforce the contract including the pursuit of High Court action if necessary. Call us for a free initial consultation today – we can discuss the matter over the phone, by Skype, or in person at your business premises or at our offices in Sheffield or Doncaster.

Redundancy and Business Transfers (incl. TUPE)

Redundancy and Business Transfers (incl. TUPE)

Our specialist Employment Law and HR team has guided countless businesses through complex redundancy and TUPE situations, helping to ensure that their legal obligations are met and making the process as straightforward and painless as possible.

Redundancy

Redundancy is potentially a ‘fair’ reason for dismissal but to dismiss an employee fairly your business will need to be able to demonstrate that there was genuine redundancy situation and also that you followed a fair procedure.  

A genuine redundancy situation can occur if the need of a business for employees to carry out work of a particular kind ceases or is diminished or there is a closure of the workplace where the employee is employed. In terms of a fair procedure, this will involve your business consulting with the affected employees, being able to demonstrate a fair basis for selection and considering any suitable alternative employment within your organisation. Our experienced employment law team can guide and advise you through the entire process (including the provision of template documents) to save you time and ensure that all your legal obligations are fulfilled.

Business Transfers and TUPE

‘TUPE’ is the common name used for a piece of legislation called The Transfer of Undertaking (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006. Put simply, when TUPE applies, employees automatically transfer from one employer to another with their terms of employment and continuity of service intact.

TUPE applies when there is a ‘relevant transfer’, including where:

  • a business or part of a business is sold;
  • work is outsourced from a business to a contractor;
  • work that has previously been outsourced to a contractor in take back ‘in-house’ by a business; or
  • outsourced services are transferred from the original contractor to another contractor.

For any business involved in a TUPE situation it is vital to be aware of the strict obligations that apply to both the transferor (the seller/old employer) and the transferee (the buyer/new employer) to inform and consult with the representatives of the affected employees prior to the date of the transfer - a failure to do so can lead to significant penalties of up to 13 weeks’ gross pay for each affected employee.

TUPE is notoriously complex but our specialist employment solicitors can provide step by step guidance through the process, ensuring complete peace of mind. If you would like further advice on this, or any other employment law issue, call us for a free initial consultation today – we can discuss the matter over the phone, by Skype, or in person at your business premises or at our offices in Sheffield or Doncaster.

Bulletproof HR Protection Plan

Peace of mind for you, complete protection for your business.

Our Bulletproof Protection Plan has been designed to make it as simple as possible for you to manage the demands of ever changing employment law. The plan can also shield your business against the cost of any future claims, via our tailored insurance.

 

Compliance

We’ll ensure you are complying to all relevant aspects of employment law by providing you with tailored contracts of employment, staff handbooks and template letters.

 

Unlimited Advice from a Specialist employment lawyer

On joining you will be allocated an experienced, specialist employment lawyer who will get to know you and your business’s specific needs, so you can receive unlimited bespoke advice, allowing you to take swift, decisive action, whilst safeguarding.

 

Complete peace of mind with our Insurance Protection

Even with these safeguards in place, it is still possible for an employee to make a claim against you. Because of the potential costs in time and money of defending a claim, employers often settle out of court, placing a financial burden on the business, and setting an undesirable precedent. Our Insurance Protection ensures you are always able to defend yourself, whatever happens.

 

Ease of budgeting with a fixed monthly fee

Avoid any nasty surprises with our fixed fee packages, allowing you to budget accurately and stay protected throughout the year.

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