Advice for Employees
Advice for Employees
We take pride in understanding the perspective of individuals.
We are here to offer you straightforward advice on how to resolve any issues.
We can help you help you with issues such as:
- Raising a grievance
- Breach of contract
- Settlement agreements
- Disciplinary action
- Maternity and paternity leave
- Bullying and harassment
- ACAS Conciliation
- Employment tribunals
EMPLOYMENT TRIBUNALS – UNFAIR DISMISSAL AND WRONGFUL DISMISSAL
In order to bring a claim for unfair dismissal you must have been employed by your employer for a minimum of 2 years, unless one of the exceptions applies. Please note that unfair dismissal is not the same as wrongful dismissal (see below). Unfair dismissal addresses the breach of your statutory rights as an employee.
Unfair dismissal takes place when your employer:
- Dismisses you for a reason which is unfair; and/or
- They failed to follow a fair process, even if the decision to terminate your employment was a potentially fair reason.
Unless your claim is settled, a tribunal will decide whether your employer acted reasonably in terminating your employment and whether the procedure which was followed, even if the decision was reasonable, was fair.
You will be able to bring a wrongful dismissal claim if you employer breaches the terms of your contract and dismisses you. Wrongful dismissal is not the same as unfair dismissal (see above).
In order to understand your contractual obligations and rights, you should refer to your contract of employment and employee handbook. Your contract of employment should set out your notice period. Your employer is bound to provide you with at least your statutory notice period should they wish to terminate your employment.
Please note that your employer may only terminate your employment without notice or payment in lieu of notice, if you have committed an act of gross misconduct.
If your employer has dismissed you without notice or with less notice than you are contractually entitled to, then you may have a claim for wrongful dismissal.
Please note that your dismissal could be both unfair and wrongful and we would advise you in respect of what claims, if any, you had.
Fees and Timescales
Our aim is to be as transparent as possible with our clients in respect of fees and how likely their matter will last. As such, we have set out below a brief guidance in respect of the potential fees and timescales should you instruct us to assist you in an employment tribunal. Please note that these fees and timescales apply to unfair dismissal or wrongful dismissal claims only.
It is difficult to provide you with a definitive timescale for the conclusion of your matter as this will largely depend on when you instructed us, and at which stage your case is resolved.
The fees and timescales set out below are a guide only as each matter will be assessed by reference to the type of claim you are pursuing and its complexity. If you need to speak to us about fees for a claim which falls outside of the standard unfair/wrongful dismissal route, please contact us.
Please note that the guidance is based on an average of our previous experience for defending and bringing claims for unfair and wrongful dismissal and on an hourly rate of a senior solicitor of £200 plus VAT. On average our fees and timescales would be:
(EXCLUDING VAT & DISBURSEMENTS)
|LENGTH OF HEARING|
|Straightforward||£5,000 to £9,400||4 to 6 months||1-2 days|
|Medium/Complex Matters||£9,400 to 18,000||6 to 12 months||2-3 days|
|Highly Complex Matters||£18,000 to £35,000||12 months +||3-5 days|
Please note that should you require us to attend the tribunal hearing there will be an additional charge of £1,600 plus VAT per day. Usually, a simple case would last between 1 to 2 days. Generally, the length of a complex matter will depend on the number of witnesses and documents that we have in the claim and whether the matter is being brought by a litigant in person.
What category does my matter fall under?
When we consider your case and the documentation which you or any third party provides us with, we will conduct an assessment of your case. We will then be able to provide you with a cost and time estimate for your matter. However, either upon initial review or as matters progress, certain factors may arise which can turn your matter into a more complex one. We will of course keep you informed should your estimate in respect of costs and/or timescales change.
There are a number of factors which can make your case more complex and/or which may add to the volume of paperwork and/or documents which need to be reviewed and/or prepared. Whilst the list below is not exhaustive, you will find examples of factors which can have this effect:
- Defending a claim that is brought by a litigating in person (an individual without legal representation)
- Making or defending applications to amend claims or to provide further information about existing claims
- Complex preliminary issues, for example considering whether the claimant is disabled, if this is disputed by the defendant
- Making or defending applications to the court, such as costs applications, etc
- Any automatically unfair dismissal claims, such as whistleblowing claims
- Allegations of discrimination which are linked to the dismissal
- Discrimination claims
- The length of the employment tribunal
- The actions of your opponent in the claim
- Issuing proceedings in the High Court for wrongful dismissal claims exceeding £25,000
What are the steps for bringing or defending a claim and how long will it take:
We have set out below the key stages involved in defending or bringing a claim. These stages are an indication and if some stages are not required, the fees would be reduced accordingly.
You may wish to handle the claim yourself and only approach us for advice during certain stages. Should this be the case, your fees would be arranged on an individual basis.
Please note the stages set out below are not exhaustive. It will always be the case that the more complex the claim is, the more work that has to be done and undertaken on your behalf, as such fees would be higher.
- Obtaining initial instructions, review and consideration of documents, advising you on the prospects of success and the likely compensatory awards (this will be continually reviewed throughout your case and may be subject to change)
- Commencing early conciliation through ACAS, should this be mandatory, to explore the possibility of a settlement
- Preparing the claim for conciliation and discussing potential offers with you
- Should conciliation fail, preparing a claim or defence form
- Providing you with advice in respect of the claim form or response form received. This could impact on our initial advice and/or estimated fees and timescales
- Continuing to explore settlement throughout the process
- Preparing and considering details of the losses in the claim
- Preparation and attendance at preliminary hearing
- Preparation and exchange of list of documents with the other party and agreeing the trial bundle
- Talking to your witnesses
- Obtaining, drafting and agreeing witness statements
- Preparing the trial bundle
- Reviewing, considering and advising on the other party’s witness statement
- Preparing and agreeing list of issues (legal and factual), a chronology and/or a list of people to give evidence at the hearing (cast list)
- Preparation for and attendance at the hearing, including instructing a barrister
What are disbursements?
Disbursements are costs which you incur throughout the duration of your matter which are payable to third parties. This can include fees such as court fees, barrister fees, expert report fees, etc. In order to assist with the associated stresses of bringing a claim and to assist with a smooth process, we will pay the disbursements on your behalf. However, these will become payable by you, either on an interim basis or upon the conclusion of the matter, depending on what we have agreed with you.
Barrister fees are usually between £1,000 to £2,500 plus VAT per day. This will vary depending on the level of experience of the barrister. Please note these fees are based on attendance by the barrister and are not likely to include preparation time.
How to pay for your fees
There are a number of ways which you can fund your claim:
- Insurance Cover
We always recommend that our clients check any insurance policies which they have to see if they have cover for defending or bringing a claim.
- Conditional Fee Agreement or Damages Based Agreements
We may agree to act for you under one of these agreements should we feel it is appropriate to do so. However, this will be at our discretion and we may agree to act on:
- A no win no fee basis;
- A fixed fee basis plus an agreed percentage of any monetary award which we are able to recover on your behalf.
Should you wish for us to consider either of these options please contact us.
- Pay as you go
If none of the above options are appropriate to your case, you will be required to make payments as your claim goes along.
Jacquie specialises in employment law. She is available for consultations either at our office or your home, care home, hospital or work place.
To speak with Jacqui please call (01723) 866353 and ask for an appointment, or fill out the form and we will be in touch shortly.