On Friday 13th July, the Court of Appeal gave its judgment in Mencap v Tomlinson-Blake. Overruling the decision of the Employment Appeals more…
Employment Law Solicitors
Employment law advice for employees + employers
When it comes to employment, getting the right legal advice can make all the difference. Our expert team of employment law solicitors have the experience to support you whatever your circumstances.
Whether you’re an employer who wants help with redundancy law or an employee facing discrimination at work, our aim is to help you find practical, cost-efficient solutions to employment problems.
We have decades of experience across all areas of employment law, working with a wide range of employers and employees across all sectors and industries. We offer practical, cost-effective legal solutions for your day-to-day employment issues as well as all types of employment disputes.
If you are an employer, we can help to ensure you are able to manage your workforce effectively while complying with all relevant laws. If you are an employee, we can help you to challenge unfair practices in your workplace and ensure you have effective representation if your employer has treated you unfairly.
No matter the size or sector of your business, we have the expertise you need.
Get in touch with our employment lawyers in Bristol
Our employment law services
If you’re an employer, we can help you with:
- Contract law
- Maternity + paternity rights
- Redundancy+ settlement agreements
- Disciplinary procedures + tribunals, including COT3
- Equalities legislation + discrimination
- Workplace harassment + constructive dismissal
If you’re an employee, we can advise on:
- Employment contracts, service agreements, consultancy agreements and terms + conditions of employment
- Grievance + disciplinary issues
- Settlement agreements + severance agreements
- Redundancyadvice on procedure + redundancy claims
- Unfair, wrongful + constructive dismissal
- Discriminationat work including disability discrimination, religious discrimination, sex discrimination, race discrimination and sexual discrimination
- Restrictive covenants + confidentiality clauses
- Transfer of Undertakings (TUPE)
Day-to-day employment law advice + support
We’re not just here for when employment problems come to a head. We advise businesses and individuals on a variety of non-contentious employment law matters, with a view to heading off possible legal issues before they occur.
Our solicitors can help you to understand and negotiate contracts, workplace policy and the law regarding pay and benefits. We can also assist you with issues such as discrimination, parental leave and grievance procedures to help minimise the risk of disputes with your employees and ensure you have a good framework in place to help deal with any issues that do occur quickly and effectively.
Unfortunately disputes can arise between employers and employees within even the best-run businesses. Often these disputes can be resolved amicably with the intervention of our skilled employment dispute resolution team, but where necessary we also have the experience to effectively represent both employers and employees in employment tribunals.
One of the best ways to head off or quickly and cost-effectively resolve employment disputes is with a settlement agreement. These replace compromise agreements, which were in use until mid-2013.
Settlement agreements allow employers to offer employees or former employees a one-off payment in exchange for agreeing not to take legal action over specific issues. They are commonly used during redundancies and other types of terminations to allow both parties to draw a line under the matter and avoid the risk of costly and time-consuming legal proceedings.
Settlement agreements can also be used as a way to resolve existing disputes, giving the employee a guaranteed payment and meaning the employer does not have to deal with an employment tribunal, including the negative publicity this could bring.
If your employment dispute cannot be resolved voluntarily, you may need to deal with the matter through an employment tribunal. These are independent tribunals that can hear claims by employees relating to unlawful treatment by their employees, including for issues such as unfair dismissal and discrimination.
Both sides have a chance to present their arguments and supporting evidence to a judge who will make the final decision. Either side may have the option to appeal against this ruling, depending on the circumstances.
There is now no charge for employees to bring a claim before an employment tribunal, with the fees introduced in 2013 having been abolished in July 2017. This means that anyone who feels they have grounds for a claim is free to bring one, although it is still highly advisable to have expert legal advise and support to ensure you claim is presented in the most effective way.
If you are an employee and want to make a claim to an employment tribunal, you will usually need to go through a process called early conciliation first. This process is facilitated by Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) a government-funded organisation that works to help resolve workplace disputes in a non-confrontational way.
Early conciliation can be a fast, effective way to resolve employment disputes, but it is strongly recommended to have expert legal advice to ensure your interests are effectively represented and any agreement reached is fair.
Our employment law fees
Many of our employment law services can be offered on a fixed fee basis, including fixed fee settlement agreements for resolving employment disputes. We will be happy to discuss our fees and provide a quote up front or work according to an hourly rate where appropriate.
Employment law FAQs
What is the time limit for bringing an Employment Tribunal claim?
In most cases, you will only have 3 months less 1 day from the date of the incident occurring to bring a claim to a tribunal. It is therefore essential to take legal advice at the earliest opportunity to ensure you do not miss out on your chance to bring a claim.
If you use early conciliation and this does not lead to an agreement, you will have at least 1 month after the conciliation process ends to make a claim to a tribunal.
I have no contract of employment, what are my rights?
Even if you do not have a written contract with your employer, there is still a contract in place if your employer has agreed to pay you to work for them, even if this is only a verbal agreement.
You employer is required to provide a written statement within 2 months of your employment starting and this statement must contain specific terms and conditions covering your employment.
Even without a written contract, you have clear rights under the law, including the right to be paid the agreed amount for agreed work, the right to the national minimum wage and the right to paid holidays.
Can my employer change my hours without notice?
Your employer cannot normally change your hours of work without giving notice or your consent. However, this will depend on the exact terms included in your contract.
If your contract specifies that your employer has the right to require you to work different hours, they will likely be able to do so, as long as they comply with any conditions set out in the contract for doing so.
Is a settlement agreement legally binding?
For a settlement agreement to be legally binding, there are certain key conditions that must be met.
- The agreement must be in writing
- The agreement must be related to a specific issue (i.e. it cannot simply require the employee to agree to never bring a claim against the employer for any reason)
- The employee must have had advice from an appropriate independent adviser e.g. a lawyer or certified trade union representative
- The employee’s adviser must have appropriate insurance
- The employee’s adviser must be identified in the agreement
- The relevant statutory conditions regulating the agreement must be stated in the agreement
We regularly act as employee advisers for settlement agreements as well as drafting the agreements and providing representation during negotiations for employers.
Our employment law expertise
With decades of experience across all areas of employment law, our specialist employment solicitors in Bristol and South Gloucestershire are available to advise on a range of employment law issues, including workplace disputes and dismissal claims. We can also advise you on alternative dispute resolution methods, such as conciliation and mediation.
Barcan + Kirby has been recognised by the Law Society with their Lexcel accreditation reflecting the strength of our client services and we are independently regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority (SRA).