On departure from employment the lion’s share of employees are now asked to sign up to a settlement agreement (formerly known as a compromise agreement).
The purpose of these agreements is for the employee to waive their rights to pursue their legal claims against their employer in return for (usually) a sum of compensation. They often deal with all aspects of the termination of an employment relationship agreement.
In order to be legally binding an employee must obtain independent legal advice on the agreement and we can assist in that regard. Your employer will usually offer to make a contribution towards the cost of that advice.
We have vast experience in drafting, advising and negotiating settlement agreements. This is a specialist area for Dale Langley & Co.
We take the approach of not merely talking through the agreement with you but rather investigating with you the full detail of your situation and the background to your departure in order that we can provide a comprehensive service giving not just legal but practical (and tactical) advice (including on negotiating an enhanced settlement of the claims which you are surrendering, where appropriate).
An employer should act reasonably when ending a person’s employment and only do so if there is a “fair” reason. If an employer doesn’t act reasonably and with a fair reason, a claim for unfair dismissal may arise. It can arise on any termination of an employment.
Unfair dismissal is a claim made to an Employment Tribunal. Though there are exceptions it is only usually available to individuals who have over 2 years’ service. It is the most commonly asserted claim on the termination of an employee’s employment and can be worth up to a year’s gross pay (subject to a statutory cap) plus a basic award. Like most Employment Tribunal claims though there is a very tight timescale to take the first steps towards issuing such a claim. We would advise people to immediately seek legal advice if they believed that they have a claim of this nature.
Constructive dismissal occurs when an employer takes a step (or steps) which are so bad that they fundamentally breach the contract of employment between employer and employee (usually resulting in the employee resigning with immediate effect as a result of the employer’s actions).
We are consulted very frequently by clients enquiring as to whether or not they have a constructive dismissal claim. We would strongly advise that BEFORE you resign, or take any steps towards asserting any claim of this nature you seek legal advice as, whilst such claims are potentially valuable, it is vital that they are approached with a full awareness of the risks and the relevant law in this difficult area.
It is our general advice that it is appropriate to seek legal advice and guidance on your employment terms on the way into a role. Too often sloppy and ‘employer biased’ drafting in a service agreement or employment contract can lead to an employee signing up to terms which do not reflect the commercial ‘deal’ which they believed they had reached with those hiring them.
This can especially be the case with individuals hired through recruitment consultants where employees have been promised any number of guarantees and, ultimately, the legal terms ultimately signed up to simply do not reflect what was promised.
We can advise on all legal and contractual aspects of the hiring process including protecting guarantees and outlining any areas in the proposed terms which we believe to be problematic/in need of change. We find such advice assists not just in successfully ensuring that what was promised is received but also means that the employee can be placed in a far better position on exit from employment when and if that occurs.
Redundancy can often be an extremely worrying and difficult time for any employee. Your employer has an obligation to follow certain procedures before they make an employee redundant. We normally recommend that you seek advice at the earliest time in the “consultation process”. This will enable us to assist you in a practical way through that process but also to seek to ensure that you best position yourself tactically in relation to achieving the best settlement of your claims (in the all too likely eventuality that your employment is then terminated). Our solicitors have extensive experience and knowledge in this area.
Our solicitors have vast experience in assisting individuals accused of disciplinary wrongdoing. This involves advising you and assisting you throughout that process, advising as to defending claims (and the drafting of defence documents where appropriate) as well as advising as to any appeal and working with you to seek to reduce the possibility of high level disciplinary sanctions or, worst case scenario, dismissal. We can also assist in relation to bringing claims against your employer in the event that you have been wrongfully or unfairly dismissed following a disciplinary process.
If you have concerns about any matter at your employer and you are contemplating issuing a grievance we would recommend you seek advice in advance of this in relation to the risks and consequences of pursuing such a route and, if you choose to do so, the manner in which such a grievance should be set out and pursued. As an employee it is vital to consider what you are actually looking to achieve in any such process and the potential hazards of instigating a grievance before you do so. Please contact us if we can assist in this regard.
We can advise you in relation to any allegation that your employer has, in some way, breached your contract. We have particular specialism advising in relation to bonus related issues.
There are many different types of bonuses. Some fall into the category of specific lumps of money (or other types of pay) which, under your contract, fall to be paid at a certain level (or by reference to a certain fixed formula) on, say, an annual basis. These are, increasingly, the rarer type of bonus.
More common are discretionary bonuses where an employer maintains an absolute (or partial) discretion over the level of bonus paid and how it is calculated (and indeed whether it is paid at all). Discretionary can sometimes mean just that but there is a vast area of law now relating to claims and rights in this area. This includes situations where employees consider either that these payments are commissions or guarantees wrongly being referred to as ‘discretionary’ payments, or situations where employees agree the payments are discretionary but believe that the discrimination has been exercised ‘arbitrarily’ or ‘capriciously’.
Ultimately bonus rights can be valuable ones and if you believe you may have an issue in this area we recommend that you seek legal advice before taking any steps.
Discrimination takes place where you (or a group or people which includes you) are treated detrimentally for reasons related (directly or indirectly) to any of a number of alternative ‘protected characteristics’ including:
Harassment generally means that someone is suffering because of someone else’s unwelcome conduct on one of these above grounds.
Again these can be extremely valuable claims which often arise from people being placed in the most unpleasant of situations. If you feel you are suffering as a result of discrimination or harassment in any way (including, for instance, in your selection for potential redundancy or dismissal) we would advise you to seek legal advice.
The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) (as varied) are highly complex regulations designed to protect employees when the ownership of a business changes hands, or when a function is outsourced.
TUPE is a serious and powerful piece of legislation which, whilst it protects employees’ rights in some ways, can be used to an employee’s disadvantage. We would recommend that if you have any concerns as to a proposed TUPE transfer (and certainly in a situation where you believe that you would be worse off as a result of that transfer), you should seek advice at the earliest time.
Be aware that “objecting” to a TUPE transfer can result in the ending of your employment without any legal claim so you should be careful to ensure that you have legal advice before you take any such step.
This is the common name given to claims brought in relation to rights under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA).
This Act seeks to protect workers who believe that they have been subjected to a detriment because they have disclosed information about their employer within certain specified categories (these are mainly concerned with someone having committed some manner of legal, regulatory or health and safety related wrong).
Such rights and claims can be very valuable not least as it is in the nature of such disclosures that they can be detrimental to careers and cause individuals a great deal of loss. Our advice would be that you seek legal advice before making any such disclosure but, in any event, that you seek urgent advice if you find yourself in a position like that described above.
Bullying is generally seen as offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour. Bullying can also be an abuse or misuse of power, intended to undermine or injure the recipient in some way. In the workplace, bullying often takes place when a more senior person is bullying someone in a more junior position.
If you believe you may be being bullied or victimised in your workplace, we would advise you to seek legal advice.
We can advise you on any area of parental rights including your maternity and paternity rights, parental leave, parental pay, Statutory Adoption Leave/Pay, flexible working rights and claims arising if things go wrong (including claims of discrimination as we have separately outlined).
Flexible working is a very important issue for many employees trying to balance their work and life commitments. Since 6th April 2009, any person with parental responsibility for a child or children under 17 (18 if the child is receiving Disability Living Allowance) may apply. You also have the right to request flexible working if you have either (i) responsibility for caring for a spouse/partner, or (ii) certain categories of adult relatives, or (iii) adults living at the same address as you.
Dale Langley & Co offers support as needed in cases before the High Court, County Court and Statutory Tribunals including the Employment Tribunal. The higher level court cases are usually handled by our associated practice Dale Langley Solicitors.
Support in such cases varies from monitoring and advising in the background where individuals are handling their own claim, or have their own non-lawyer representative, to instructing Counsel and in many cases representing you and acting on your behalf. Where you have legal expenses insurance cover we also deal with most major insurers and can agree costs and representation with them on your behalf within the level of your indemnity.
The focus of the firm is to find the most cost-effective way of settling any particular claim which requires both depth of experience and a sense of timing. As a result of, the 300 or so claims or potential claims we deal with each year, only handful make it all the way to trial.
We view it as a great success of our settlement negotiation or alternative resolution process that this is the case, as it takes away a lot of risk from the individual and makes a huge difference to the cost. In all our negotiations we try where appropriate to recover your legal costs as well as the compensation sought.
When estimating or quoting costs for employment tribunal cases such as unfair dismissal, we are acutely aware of the relationship between the costs incurred (win or lose) and the likely outcome. This enables us to select the most suitable level of fee-earner to handle the day to day administration of the claim (and liaison with insurers where appropriate). All trainees and less senior solicitors will be fully supervised by a principal or senior solicitor. A junior solicitor will charge £200-£220 per hour and a senior £255-£295. I as Principal charge £360.
Increasingly in privately funded cases we seek to agree fixed prices for various stages in the proceedings. These may coincide with a definite task (e.g. disclosure of relevant documents by list) or preparing witness statements. Much will of course depend on the individual case, e.g. are there 100 documents, 1000 or 10,000? Is there one witness or ten? (if ten are they all really necessary?). All our prices assume a mix of face to face meetings and email/telephone work on a day to day basis.
As an idea of the commitment involved in pursuing a simple Employment Tribunal claim for unfair dismissal up to trial we would start from the average cost of £5,950 for support and advice and a minimum of about £19,500 for our time for full representation. We are happy to discuss a costs arrangement to suit your budget and level of involvement requirement and devise it to cover your needs.
(All prices above are VAT exclusive unless otherwise stated).
WAYS TO SAVE COST
Get you documents together and email to us first if not bring spare copies to the first meeting.
We look forward to hearing from you if you wish to find out more about instructing this firm in your potential claim.
This website acts purely as an introduction to the services that Dale Langley & Co and Dale Langley Solicitors provides to its clients. Nothing in this website creates a solicitor-client relationship between us and the information provided herein is just that: information. It does not constitute legal advice in any way and you should not rely upon it. You should not use the information on this website as a substitute for taking specific legal advice on your particular situation. We do not warrant the accuracy of any matters of law or our interpretation of them.
Neither Dale Langley & Co nor Dale Langley Solicitors or its Partners or employees accept any liability for any action or failure to take action on your part as a result of having read all or part of this website.