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Losing your job can be difficult and emotional, often with consequences for you and your family. Employers can only dismiss an employee (where a work contract is ended by the employer, rather than the employee) if they have a fair reason to do so.

There are five main reasons for dismissal:

  • Conduct – if you have broken the terms of your employment, for example continually missing work, poor discipline or theft from your employer
  • Capability – if you cannot do your job properly, for example you can’t keep up with changes to technology or you don’t work well with members of your team
  • Redundancy – when there is not enough work for you to do at the company
  • Continuing to employ you would break the law – for example if you are a driver and you lose your driving licence or you don’t have the right to work in the UK
  • Some other substantial reason (SORS) – this applies if your employer has an overwhelming reason to dismiss you, such as imprisonment or if it isn’t possible to employ you due to financial, technical or organisational reasons

Unfair dismissal

Unfair dismissal is when an employer does not have a fair reason to end your contract. It can also be claimed if your employer did have a fair reason, but your dismissal was not managed according to correct procedures, such as company policies and ACAS (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) guidance.

Generally, you need to have been in the same job for two years (from 6 April 2012) for an unfair dismissal claim. Although some dismissals do not require a qualifying period, such as whistleblowing or discrimination cases. Also, if you are treated badly by your employer, you may be able to resign and claim constructive dismissal – but you must get legal advice before doing so.

If you are concerned you might have been unfairly dismissed, or have grounds for constructive dismissal, please get in touch with our unfair dismissal solicitors to discuss your options. Our expert team is here to help you decide the best course of action and support you every step of the way.

Redundancy

Being made redundant, whilst not your fault, can still be very hard to come to terms with. There are three main reasons that you could be made redundant:

  • A business, or part of the business has closed
  • The location of the business has changed
  • The need for a particular type of work has reduced, so fewer staff are needed

Employers must follow strict redundancy laws and procedures when making people redundant, to make sure that the process is open and objective. This includes:

  • Making sure the rules for deciding who is at risk of redundancy are in line with one of the three main reasons for redundancy, for example the business has moved from London to Liverpool
  • Making sure the rules are applied fairly to everyone at risk, for example whether an employee is willing to relocate with the business
  • Consulting with people at risk so that they understand the process and have an opportunity to ask any questions or for other support
  • Considering if there is suitable alternative employment elsewhere in the company for someone at risk (subject to a trial period)

Sometimes there are situations where it is unfair or discriminatory to make someone redundant, for example if they are pregnant, refuse to sign an opt-out agreement, or are involved with particular trade union activities. You are also legally entitled to a redundancy payment if you have been in your job for more than two years.

If you are, or think you might soon be, at risk of redundancy, talk to our redundancy solicitors. We can give you advice and support you through the process to make sure you are treated fairly. Our team has a wealth of experience in helping people to understand their options and move forward to a brighter future.

Settlement agreements

What is a settlement agreement?

This is a legal document used to record the financial and practical terms of a deal agreed between you and your employer. It includes a commitment that neither side will bring a future claim against the other and can be entered into at any time, but is most common in cases where your employment has, or shortly will be, terminated.

What is the process of a settlement agreement?

In order to be valid, certain conditions must be in place:

  • The settlement agreement must be in writing and state that it meets all of the required conditions (it is usually drafted by your employer and sent to you for approval)
  • It must relate to a specific complaint or situation, it cannot be general
  • The employee must have received independent legal advice from an insured adviser, who is identified in the agreement

A settlement agreement solicitor can explain the details of the agreement to make sure you understand exactly what it means for you both now and in the future. They act as your independent advisor to make sure that the settlement is right for your situation.

Who pays for the services of the independent advisor?

Usually the employer will pay a contribution and the amount will be set out in the settlement document. Sometimes costs may increase if you need additional support, advice or someone to negotiate with your employer on your behalf.

If you are considering a settlement agreement, contact our friendly team to see how we can help. These situations are daunting, but we have the skills and experience to make sure you are treated fairly and that the process is as least stressful as possible.

If you would like any further advice on anything mentioned, click here to email us.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, this is a legal requirement. Even if you are happy, an advisor still needs to talk through the terms and conditions before you sign it, otherwise it is invalid.

Yes we can. Whilst you are not obliged to do this, it is sensible to seek independent advice to make sure the agreement is in your best interests, or if further discussions are needed to try and secure a better deal.


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