Employment contracts and benefit packages are increasingly complex, making negotiations with your employer a delicate and difficult process. Whether you are an employee in the process of joining a new employer, or you are being asked to change your existing terms of employment, wherever you are, we can advise you of your rights to give you the best chance of getting the contract you want.
for advice without obligation on employment contracts.
A contract of employment does not need to be in writing - it can be verbal too. An employee is, however, entitled at the very least to a "written statement of particulars" of the terms of their employment after being employed for 2 months. Tribunals can compensate the employee by up to four weeks' pay if this is not done.
What's in your contract cannot usually be easily changed by your employer without your consent. If a change is made without your agreement and is not to your benefit then a Tribunal is more likely to decide your employer has acted unfairly. You can enforce your employment rights with our help.
In some cases a contract will contain a clause allowing your employer to make (usually) minor changes provided they do not behave in a way that damages your trust and confidence in them.
An unauthorised change which is not to your benefit will likely be in breach contract. That the employer has given you notice of the change will not make it permitted. You can work under protest by making it clear to your employer that you do not agree with the change. However, the longer you tolerate the change without taking action, the greater the chance you will be seen as having accepted it - this may result in you losing the right to object to it later or receive compensation in a Court or Tribunal for breach of contract or constructive unfair dismissal. Good cases can be lost before they even start through hesitation or delay.
Sometimes, a change is so significant (such as reducing your pay or changing your role substantially) and affect the core of the contract. This could justify you resigning in protest. You should usually try and resolve the issue by speaking to your employer informally or by raising a grievance first but there will be times when you have no alternative but to think about resigning. Getting legal advice quickly from an employment law expert is essential. Together we can establish what your rights are and help you to reverse the change or reach a compromise with your employer. We can assess your case and help negotiate an exit before you resign - avoiding the risk of putting your financial security in danger.
You can bring a claim for breach of contract in an Employment Tribunal or County Court. However, if you still work for your employer, only a County Court can hear your claim. If you resign in response to the breach of contract, only an Employment Tribunal can hear a claim for constructive dismissal.
You will usually (but not always) need to have been with your employer for at least two years to claim constructive dismissal. If you win your case, a Tribunal can make a Basic Award of up to £14,370 and a further Compensatory Award of up to £78,962 to reflect your lost income.
It does not matter how long you have worked somewhere to be able to bring a breach of contract claim.
In most cases you will have just three months from the date your employment ended to notify Acas of a potential claim for breach of contract or constructive dismissal if you wish to bring proceedings in an Employment Tribunal. Find out how we can help you with our fixed fee Acas Early Conciliation service here.
County Courts and Employment Tribunals have different limitation dates, fee structures and limits to the value of damages they can award.
Our experienced legal teams can help you to settle your dispute or take steps to issue a claim before it is too late.
Call us today on 08000 93 00 94 for advice without any obligiation or complete an online enquiry form and our employment team will call you back.
We can represent you during the Tribunal process and at all hearings as well as give you the support and guidance you will need.
The Early Conciliation procedure will need to be followed by the vast majority who want to bring a claim to the Employment Tribunal.