It only takes a quick Google search for jobs to get a picture of the variety of employment opportunities that there are; from agricultural workers to brain surgeons and everything in between, the diversity is rich. However, all are united by the fact that they are governed by strict employment laws that protect the workers and the employers from abuse.
Here are two of the most frequently asked questions that employment solicitors such as Spencers Solicitors regularly deal with:
I’ve been sacked, what rights do I have?
If you have been employed for over a year, you have the right not to be unfairly dismissed. In employment law, there are five reasons that an employer can dismiss you for:
- Redundancy when the business is closing
- Capability to fulfil the role e.g. skills and aptitude
- Competency to perform the role
- Illegality such as theft
- Or another substantial reason
Your employer must be able to demonstrate that their decision to sack you was reasonable and that statutory procedures have been followed. If you have not breached any of these criteria, or your employers have not followed disciplinary procedures, this can be an area to pursue for unfair dismissal.
I’ve received a formal grievance from work, what can I do?
Any grievance that has been raised needs to be investigated by the employer – this has been a requirement since 2004. You can insist on having a meeting to discuss the issues being raised. This can be an opportunity to identify witnesses or documents that you may have that can assist you. It can be helpful for you to have legal representation with you or a union member to provide you with additional support and prevent you from saying anything that may harm your position. Once the investigation has been completed, your employer will tell you of its decision. You can appeal their decision if you remain unhappy with the outcome.
Employment law directs the relationship between employer and employee, and while it covers many areas, they all share the goal of protection. Here are the most common reasons for employment law:
- Prevent discrimination
- Ensure health and safety in the workplace
- Ensure fair economic recompense for workers’ time and skills
- Reduce risk of disruption due to dispute
In short, employment law enables businesses to run effectively and efficiently while providing a safe and fair working environment for its employees. This does not mean, however, that issues do not occur; often problems arise when the legal position is not clear. It can be incredibly stressful when you think that you have been dealt with unfairly by employers, but there are laws to protect you.
It is important that you keep records of any communication that you have with your employer: forward emails to your personal address or if this against company policy, print them off, and always make contemporaneous notes of phone calls and meetings. You need to collect evidence of the breakdown of the relationship and the role that you have played in it. Good luck!