Employment Law Advice for Employers
The working world has changed. Employees today are more conscious of their rights than ever, which means employers need to put employment rules and procedures in place, for their own protection as well as their employees’.
Our employment lawyers advise employers and business owners of all sizes on a range of workplace issues and challenges, from employment contracts to settlement agreements and redundancy protocol.
Our employment law expertise
Our employment solicitors in Bristol and South Gloucestershire are able to advise employers and business owners on a range of employment matters, including:
- Contract law
- Business transfers and TUPE
- Disciplinary procedures and tribunals, including COT3
- Equalities legislation and discrimination
- HR services
- Maternity and paternity rights
- Redundancy and settlement agreements
- Workplace harassment and constructive dismissal
Many business owners are tempted, especially in the early stages of their company’s life, to ‘leave the legal stuff until later’ when it comes to things like employment law.
However, the value of getting legal advice early in your employment journey cannot be underestimated. A single unfair dismissal claim can cripple a small or medium-sized business financially, especially if not handled correctly. Taking the time to ensure your employment practices are properly considered and implemented can pay dividends in the long run.
If you do find yourself subject to legal action from a current or former employee, our employment law solicitors can help. We can advise you on the best way to minimise financial and administrative fallout, from unfair dismissal to discrimination claims. Our employment lawyers also advise on the best strategy for fighting vexatious allegations which threaten to reach a tribunal.
Get in touch with our employment solicitors in Bristol
Our employment law fees
Depending on the complexity of the matter and your specific requirements, our fees start from £230 plus VAT to £40,000 plus VAT (VAT is calculated at the rate applicable at the time the work is carried out; currently 20%), plus disbursements. Disbursements (including Counsel’s fees for employment tribunals) will typically range from £0 to £15,000.
This pricing is based on cases dealt with by the firm from January 2017 to April 2021, and prices are based on our hourly rates.
Our employment lawyers will discuss costs with you, including our fixed fees for settlement agreements and payment instalments.
For employment tribunals, our pricing is here.
As a business with employees, it’s vital to have the right legal processes in place. Our employment solicitors can provide your business with HR support services, including employment contracts, policies and procedures and maternity law advice. Find out more about our HR support packages for employers here.
Employment law FAQs
A contract of employment does not need to be in writing; it can be verbal or written. However, an employee or worker is legally entitled to a ‘written statement of particulars’ of the terms of employment from the first working day. This is not necessarily a full-blown contract but sets out the basic particulars of employment required to be given to employees (under sections 1-3 of the Employment Rights Act 1996).
Failure to not issue this written statement of particulars, or section 1 statement, can be serious as the employer can face a penalty of award of two to four weeks weeks’ pay unless there are exceptional circumstances which would make such an award unjust or inequitable.
In most cases, you will only have three months less one 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.
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.
Employers must ‘act reasonably’ when dismissing an employee. If an employee believes you have fired them without good reason, they could take you to an employment tribunal, which is not only costly, but damaging to your reputation as an employer.
When dismissing an employee, you should ensure that:
- You have a valid reason, e.g. the role is now redundant, misconduct or poor performance
- You have followed the procedure outlined in your dismissal policy
- There has been a thorough investigation into any misconduct
- You let the employee know that you are considering dismissing them, and have kept them informed throughout the process
- The employee has had the chance to share their ‘side’ if there is a complaint involved
- You have given the employee the opportunity to improve if there is a performance issue
- You have given the employee the correct notice period, as outlined in their employment contract (not applicable in cases of gross misconduct)
Need employment advice for your business? Contact our employment lawyers in Bristol
If you’ve got questions about employment law, our solicitors are here to help. Our employment law specialists work with employers all over the UK from our offices in Bedminster, Bishopston, Kingswood, Queen Square and Thornbury.
Whether you need straightforward advice on drafting employment contracts or you are looking for a comprehensive HR support package, we can help. Call us on 0117 325 2929 or complete our online enquiry form.