Employees

We specialise in all areas of Employment law including the below:

Settlement Agreements

Unfair Dismissal

Constructive Dismissal

Service Agreements and Contracts of Employment

Redundancy

Disciplinary Processes

Grievance Processes

Bonuses / Breach of Contract

Discrimination / Harassment

TUPE

Whistleblowing

Bullying / Victimisation

Parental Rights

Flexible Working

Court and Employment Tribunal Proceedings for Individual Clients

Settlement Agreements

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).

• taking initial instructions and reviewing the main documents to advise on merits and compensation (which will be subject to constant review and may change for example as disclosure takes place);
• advice on, and help with a data subject access request;
• the early conciliation process;
• preparation of the claim or defence (in some cases this will be prepared by counsel);
• advising on whether expert evidence is required (for example of disability)
• preparing for and attendance at a preliminary hearing, including reviewing the other side’s claim or defence, preparing an agenda, list of issues and schedule or counter schedule of loss;
• disclosure of documents, including inspecting documents for relevance and privilege;
• preparing witness statements and reviewing the other side’s evidence;
• preparing a bundle of documents (this is often undertaken by the employer or respondent but we must still oversee and ensure correctness); and
• preparation for and attendance at the final hearing, including instruction of counsel.

Many factors will affect the final cost including the complexity of the case; the number of relevant documents, the need in some cases for expert evidence, the seniority of the lawyers engaged on the matter, the actions taken by the other side, and the time it takes to complete. The costs of the trial are usually the largest part. Trial cost in turn is governed by length of trial and seniority of Counsel. We have set out below a list of factors which may affect the size of claim and costs involved:

• Bringing a claim for an employee client for unfair dismissal with a final hearing length of 1 to 3 days may cost in the region of £19,000 (simple) to £50,000 plus VAT (more complex) excluding disbursements (such as the fees of Counsel). Often there will be three or more separate claims being pursued of which unfair dismissal is only one.

• The Tribunal covers simple unfair dismissal with a statutory cap of one year’s pay (£86,444 max) a service related basic award (up to £15,750 max) and a cap of £25,000 for additional claims for wrongful dismissal (breach of contract). Certain types of claim have no limit or cap – these include claims based on, for example unlawful deductions from pay, whistle-blowing, maternity and discrimination.

• Larger claims for wrongful dismissal or breach of contract (e.g. bonus claims) must generally be brought in the Courts;

• Defending an employer client against a claim for unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal in the Employment Tribunal with a final hearing length of 1 to 3 days may cost in the region of 20-30% more than the cost for an individual, £25,000 to £65,000 plus VAT excluding disbursements (such as the fees of Counsel). This is due to the reporting structure and greater number of individuals and witnesses who must be interviewed and evidence prepared

• Due to the disparity and complexity of the cases we handle, it is not possible to provide an average cost for unfair dismissal cases, simply to illustrate via the examples set out above.

Examples of further factors that could make such a case more complex and consequently increase the total cost for an employer client include the following:

• The complexity of the factual background where we have not already been advising.
• Regulatory aspects.
• Responding to a data subject access request or other requests for information (e.g. freedom of information)
• Where there are litigants in person.
• Making or defending a costs application.
• Where there is a foreign element to the claim and an issue of tribunal jurisdiction is raised.
• If it is necessary to make or defend applications to amend claims or to provide further information about an existing claim.
• Preliminary issues that need separate preliminary hearing.
• The number of witnesses and documents and if applications for specific disclosure are required.
• If it is an automatic unfair dismissal claim e.g. if the employee is dismissed after whistle-blowing on his or her employer. An application seeking interim relief in a whistle-blowing clam would have further cost implications.
• Allegations of discrimination which are linked to the dismissal.
• Where there is a mediation or prolonged settlement discussions and negotiation of settlement terms, particularly where preparations for a hearing must continue at the same time to meet tribunal timetables.
• If an order or judgment is the subject of an appeal.
• If a respondent client is funded by an insurer, and there are additional reporting obligations to the insurer.
• Where the matter goes part heard, or a hearing is postponed by the Tribunal at the last minute or where the Tribunal holds separate hearing to decide the merit of the claim and decide the compensation payable.

Disbursements

Disbursements are costs related to a client’s matter that are payable to third parties, such as counsel or an expert witness. We generally handle the payment of disbursements on behalf of our clients although a few insurers now pay these directly.

How long will the matter take?

The time that it takes from receiving a client’s initial instructions to the final resolution of the matter depends largely on the stage at which the case is resolved. If a settlement is reached during pre-claim conciliation or pre-action correspondence, a case is likely to take a few weeks. If a claim proceeds to a final hearing, the case may from experience take 6 to 18 months from the Employment Tribunal issuing the claim to receipt of a final judgment. This is only an estimate as much will depend on the availability of the particular tribunal and the speed with which it can process claims and list any hearings.

Thinking of instructing us?
Just give me; Dale Langley, a call on 0203-771-3340, or speak to James Corrish 0203-771-3341.

Unfair Dismissal

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

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.

Service Agreements and Contracts of Employment

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

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.

Disciplinary Process

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.

Grievance 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.

Bonuses/Breach of Contract

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/Harassment

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:

  1. Age
  2. Disability
  3. Gender reassignment
  4. Marriage or civil partnership
  5. Pregnancy and maternity
  6. Race
  7. Religious or Philosophical belief
  8. Sex (gender)
  9. Sexual Orientation

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.

TUPE

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.

Whistleblowing

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/Victimisation

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.

Parental Rights

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

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.

Court and Employment Tribunal for Individual Clients

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.

COSTS

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.

Dale Langley

TRANSPARENCY STATEMENT

We act for both employees and (mainly smaller) employers. As a small business and Federation of Small Business member ourselves we hope to understand better the needs and concerns of the sector. Dale Langley has set up and run three specialist firms since 1993. We seek above all to help our clients resolve all sorts of disputes on acceptable terms quickly, and insofar as possible, amicably and cost-effectively. We start from the point that both employers and employees rarely want to end up in the courts or tribunal.

Our approach

Right from the start we appreciate the importance of keeping the work and costs we incur proportionate to the value of the individual case. For individual clients, we tailor the amount of work to the possible outcome sought as far as possible. We place no limits on who we will help in terms of size of salary or amount of claim. We have dealt with cases with potential values across the spectrum. We are happy to work on cases where the client has legal insurance cover and are well known by most legal insurers. For employer clients, we recognise that there may be more at stake, for example, the need to enforce policy or take a tough line against meritless claims. However our same rigorous approach is followed to keep work proportionate

Your first meeting

We offer you a first meeting which can be done on a time basis or for a fixed fee, typically from £235 – £500 plus VAT depending on the number of papers to read and the number of issues involved and experience of those solicitors attending the meeting. The meeting usually lasts from 1 to 1.5 hours. We ask you to bring ID and relevant papers including your contract or other terms of employment.

At our first meeting we seek a full understanding of your objectives and the background to the situation. We will raise questions, rather than make any assumptions, analyse the situation and by the end of the meeting we hope to agree the best and most cost effective way forward. Ordinarily we then confirm this to you by a concise letter. We would hope to provide you with legal, strategic and practical advice in the course of the first meeting.

We strongly believe that the initial analysis is key and the experience we bring is based on Dale Langley’s own, over 30 years’ devoted to employment cases, as passed on to his associates. This enables us to focus on the issues that matter to you and devise a strategy to meet your requirements.

We sometimes find that it is more efficient for us to review any lengthy documents after the initial meeting. However we are only too aware that documents often do not tell your whole story and a meeting or (if a meeting is impractical for you) a phone call are, in most cases, essential. We will, if required, agree to pre-read your important papers before having a meeting. We reserve the right to make a charge for this on a time basis.

The starting point for estimating costs for your matter is time spent (or anticipated) multiplied by our charge-out rates. In the financial year (2020/2021), our hourly rates range from £225 plus VAT for an assistant solicitor to a maximum of £360/395* plus VAT for our most experienced principal solicitor. Our charge-out rates are reviewed periodically and may be varied from time to time. We are happy to let you have the rates which will apply to you at any time and any changes will be notified to a client in advance. * Most individuals pay £360 & Vat.

Meet the team

Our highly specialised team of five solicitors has a cumulative total of some 90 years of experience in contentious work, dispute resolution, employment and partnership. Our team is displayed elsewhere in this website.

The majority of our team trained with Dale Langley and have stayed with the firm since then. How many other firms can say that?

We understand that you may want to get to know your legal advisers before giving us any formal instruction. We can do this by phone but for regulatory reasons we cannot advise you if you have not been through our regulatory checks and procedures, which are done when you become a client of the firm.

Costs – Unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal claims

It is difficult for us to provide you with meaningful costs indications for your own claim before we have taken details of your individual claims (or claims against you) for the reasons we explain above and below. However in our experience most claims are settled before reaching a final hearing in the Employment Tribunal.

Recent cases we have settled (in fact both settled only days before the final hearing) this year (2020) include:
A claim by a financial sector executive for sex discrimination and unfair dismissal – costs £29,900 paid by her insurers, of which £12,000 was for Counsel. There were five witnesses and it was a five day hearing.

A claim by a senior manager in the telecommunications sector (settled overnight the day before trial) – costs of £20,000 of which about £13,000 was covered by insurers and £1,750 was for Counsel. There were three witnesses and it was a one day hearing.

The indicative costs illustrated above cover the following stages and services:

Many factors will affect the final cost including the complexity of the case; the number of relevant documents, the need in some cases for expert evidence, the seniority of the lawyers engaged on the matter, the actions taken by the other side, and the time it takes to complete. The costs of the trial are usually the largest part. Trial cost in turn is governed by length of trial and seniority of Counsel. We have set out below a list of factors which may affect the size of claim and costs involved:

Examples of further factors that could make such a case more complex and consequently increase the total cost for an employer client include the following:

Disbursements

Disbursements are costs related to a client’s matter that are payable to third parties, such as counsel or an expert witness. We generally handle the payment of disbursements on behalf of our clients although a few insurers now pay these directly.

How long will the matter take?

The time that it takes from receiving a client’s initial instructions to the final resolution of the matter depends largely on the stage at which the case is resolved. If a settlement is reached during pre-claim conciliation or pre-action correspondence, a case is likely to take a few weeks. If a claim proceeds to a final hearing, the case may from experience take 6 to 18 months from the Employment Tribunal issuing the claim to receipt of a final judgment. This is only an estimate as much will depend on the availability of the particular tribunal and the speed with which it can process claims and list any hearings.

Thinking of instructing us?
Just give me; Dale Langley, a call on 0203-771-3340, or speak to James Corrish 0203-771-3341.

Disclaimer

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.