Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What information must an Employer give me upon starting employment?

The employer has to legally give you a "statement" of employment, within 2 months of starting work. If they haven't given you a "statement "within 2 months, you can apply to an Employment Tribunal at any time after the 2 month period, (or within 3 months of termination of the employment) for the tribunal to determine the details to be contained in the "statement".

Q. What happens if the employer decides to change my employment statement?

The employer must consult with you one month before making any changes.

Q. Should an employer give me a written contract of employment?

An employer must give you a written statement within 2 months of starting work, but does not have to give you a written contract.

Q. What are my rights to notice before dismissal?

Your notice period should be explained in your statement or contract of employment and you will be entitled to the statutory notice as detailed below:
  1. An employee is entitled to a minimum of 1 weeks' notice of dismissal if they have worked continuously for 1 month, but less than 2 years.

  2. After 2 years' employment, a further 1 weeks' notice is required for each whole year of continuous employment up to a maximum of 12 weeks.
This is the minimum notice only. Your contract might allow a longer period of notice.

Q. What is Unfair Dismissal?

Unfair Dismissal is when:
  • The employer did not have a fair reason to dismiss you.

  • Or, the employer did have a fair reason, but the matter was dealt with unfairly.

Q. What is Wrongful Dismissal?

Wrongful Dismissal is where you have been dismissed without notice or have not been given the right amount of notice, or the employment is terminated contrary to the contract. Wrongful Dismissal is where there is a breach of the contract by the employer which could give you the right to claim for Wrongful Dismissal. Also there is no requirement to have been employed for at least one year in order to bring a claim.

Q. Can I bring a claim for both Unfair Dismissal and Wrongful Dismissal?

Yes, but there could be an overlap in some of the compensation payments as wrongful Dismissal will cancel out the Unfair Dismissal compensation.

For detailed information on compensation, speak with one of our solicitors.

Q. How do I qualify for the right to bring an Unfair Dismissal Claim?

To qualify for Unfair Dismissal you must have the following:
  • You must be at work either full-time or part-time, if you are self-employed you are excluded.

  • You must have at least 1 year's continuous employment.

  • You must be under 65 years old or the normal retirement age for the job at the date of their dismissal.

  • You must not be in an excluded category, e.g. the armed forces, police and share fishermen.

Q. Are there any exceptions to the 1 year rule under Unfair Dismissal?

You should normally have one year's continuous employment, except:
  • If your dismissal is connected to Trade Union activities, carried out at an appropriate time.

  • If you are dismissed for belonging to a Trade Union.

  • If you are dismissed for refusing to join a Trade Union.

  • If the dismissal was connected with your pregnancy and maternity rights.

  • If you are a retail worker or work in the betting industry and were dismissed for objecting to working on Sundays.

  • If you were dismissed for asserting your employment law rights.

  • If you were dismissed for observing health & safety rules.

  • If you were dismissed for being an elected representative for collective redundancy or transfer consultation purposes.

  • If you were dismissed for "whistle-blowing".

  • If you are dismissed just before the 1 year period, i.e. 1 week before your statutory notice period maybe added to give you 1 years service.

Q. Is there a time limit for bringing an Unfair Dismissal Claim?

You must bring an Unfair Dismissal claim within 3 months of being dismissed. If you don't bring a claim within this time you will lose the right to claim.

If you had a grievance with your employer it is a requirement to raise a grievance first with your employer before you make a claim to a tribunal.

Q. Can I get Public Funding to bring a claim against your employer?

No. Public Funding / Community Legal Services Funding is not available for bringing a claim.

However, if you are on low income or benefits you will qualify for a certain amount of free advice under what is called the "Legal Help Scheme", (formerly advice & assistance scheme).

You can however get Public Funding if appealing you are against an Employment Tribunal decision by taking the case to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT).

Q. What are my maternity rights?

The dismissal will be automatically unfair if an employer dismisses you because you are pregnant, even if you have under 1 year's continuous employment with the employer.

Maternity Leave

You are entitled to Maternity Leave without having worked for 1 year. Ordinary maternity leave is 18 weeks.

If you have been employed for at least 1 year at the start of the 11th week before the expected week of child birth you also have a right to Additional Maternity Leave. This starts at the end of the Ordinary Maternity Leave period and lasts for 29 weeks from the beginning of the week in which the birth occurred.

Maternity Pay You have the right to Maternity Pay, if you have worked for 26 weeks or more. The 26 weeks is counted from 15 weeks before the week the baby is due.

If you have worked for 26 weeks at that stage then you can claim Maternity Pay, which is paid for 18 weeks.

Additional Information

You also have a right to paid leave for ante-natal care.

You should be offered alternative work (if it is available), if the pregnancy means you cannot do the work that you are normally employed to do.

Q. What are my rights under Sex and Race Discrimination law?

An employer is unable to discriminate on the following grounds:
  • Sex of employee or prospective employee.

  • Marital status of employee or prospective employee.

  • If an employee intends to undergo, is undergoing or has undergone gender reassignment.

  • Race, (this means colour, race, nationality or ethnic origins) of employee or prospective employee.

  • Also an employer cannot victimise an employee for bringing a complaint for discrimination or giving evidence in a complaint brought by another employee.

Q. Have I been dismissed?

You must show you have been dismissed, normally this will mean you have been told to leave by your employer. However, it is possible to claim constructive dismissal if the employer acts so unreasonably as to treat the contract of employment as at an end. If you are considering claiming constructive dismissal should seek independent legal advice.

If you have been dismissed with over one year's continuous employment then it will be for your employer to demonstrate that dismissal was fair.

Q. Will I have to visit a solicitor's office?

It is very rare that this would be necessary. Almost all the information required is handled by telephone and post. Sometimes, it is necessary to appoint an agent who will visit the client to obtain some details face to face. Sometimes it is also necessary to carry out a home visit in order to obtain information from you.

Q. Do I qualify for redundancy?

If you have over two years' continuous employment, the company is closing down a place of work, or ceasing or diminishing the particular work undertaken by you, then you have a right to redundancy payment if made redundant.

Q. What if another Claims Handling Company is already dealing with my claim?

If another company is already dealing with your claim for you, you must ask yourself, 'Am I satisfied with the service I am getting?'

If the answer is 'NO', you then need to think about the following;
  1. Did the incident happen less than three months ago?

  2. Has the current solicitor issued a tribunal claim?

  3. Has my case already been taken to tribunal and been lost?
If all the answers are still 'NO', then it is possible to move your claim to a new Claims Handling Company. We could appoint a new solicitor who will then handle the transfer of the file and get on with resolving your claim. Get in touch with us and we will obtain advice for you.

Sometimes, you will find that the firm has not started work on your claim because, in their opinion, it is too small, or tricky. Let us have a look. We will tell you within 24 hours, exactly how you stand, even if you just want a second opinion! Just complete the on line form or telephone us and we will get a solicitor to contact you.

Q. Do you deal with claims in my area?

We are a national organisation and we deal with claims in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

Q. How do I submit details about my employment claim?

Simply enter your details on to the enquiry form and send it to us. We will then ask a specialist solicitor to contact you within 48 hours to discuss your claim.

Alternatively, if you prefer to make a claim by telephone, just call us on 0845 644 5135 (calls charged at local rate) or you can fax details on 01275 343294.

Q. Who will represent me with my claim?

Our specialist employment law solicitors will represent you throughout your claim, even if the case has to go to Tribunal.