Q&A Employment

Q:    How important is my contract of employment?

A: It is very important, and you should always read your contract of employment carefully before you sign to make sure that you are content with the terms on which you are being employed.  Take legal advice if you need to.

Q:    What is the difference between wrongful dismissal, unfair dismissal and constructive dismissal?

A: Wrongful dismissal is when you have been dismissed in breach of your contract, for example where your employer has failed to give you notice of dismissal.

Unfair dismissal happens when your employer fails to show a “fair” reason for dismissing you. Redundancy, lack of capability or serious misconduct on your part are all fair reasons for dismissal, although the employer must also show that it followed the correct procedures for dismissal.

Constructive dismissal is an unfair dismissal claim that you might have if you are forced to resign because of your employer’s unlawful behaviour. Examples of serious breaches of contract by an employer include: failing to pay you or cutting your pay without telling you, changing your job description or threatening to dismiss you if you do not agree to accept changes to your employment terms, among several others.

Q:    Do employers have to offer flexible working?

A:    All employees have the legal right to request flexible working, not just parents and carers. You must have worked for the same employer for at least six months. Your employer is obliged to respond to your request (technically called a “statutory application”) in a reasonable manner, ie assessing the advantages and disadvantages of the application, offering to hold a meeting with you and offering an appeal process

Q:    Should I be paid the same as someone else doing exactly the same job?

A:    Sex discrimination is unlawful, even if the gender gap continues to exist in many areas of employment. Employees can claim equal pay with colleagues of the opposite sex when they are in the same employment and doing work that is the same or broadly similar or work that is different but of equal value in terms of demands.

Q:    If I have been made redundant, do I have any comeback?

A:    Redundancy is a potentially fair reason for dismissal. In order to satisfy the definition for redundancy, your employer will need to show that it is ceasing to carry on its business or it is ceasing to carry it on in your place of work or the requirements of the business for employees to carry out work of a particular kind have reduced or have ceased.

Q:    How do I know if I have been discriminated against?

A:    You may a claim against your employer if you are dismissed on the grounds of your sex (including marital status and pregnancy), race (including nationality), religion or philosophical belief, sexual orientation or age. It can also be discrimination if you are denied paternity leave, for example.

Q:    What employment rights do I have if the business for which I work has been sold to someone else?

A:    There are regulations covering the position for employees when a business is sold to another company, called the TUPE Regulations. These are very complex, involving issues such as “harmonisation” of terms and conditions.  We recommend you seek the advice of an expert lawyer when this situation arises.

Q:    I think I may have been unfairly dismissed.  How do I make a claim?

A:    You can bring a claim in an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal and/or for breach of contract as a result of a wrongful dismissal.

The employment tribunal may award you compensation, or require your employer to take you back, that is if your claim is successful.

The guidance is not legal advice; no lawyer-client or similar relationship is created by the Q&A. If you need legal advice from a barrister on an employment matter, select one or more barrister(s) from the list below and click on "contact barrister(s) now" button. We will bring you in touch with the barristers you chose.


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