Employment Disputes Lawyers Romford, Essex, Brentwood

Definition and Scope of Employment Disputes

There are a number of pieces of legislation that cover employment issues, everything from dismissals and discrimination to tribunals and TUPE. This means it can be a particularly challenging area of law.

Importance of Understanding Employment Disputes

You can expect to receive advice and guidance on a whole range of issues. If needed, we can also represent you at an employment tribunal. Here at Mullis & Peake LLP, the employment law team has many years of experience dealing with employment matters.

Types of Employment Disputes in the UK

Unfair Dismissal

There are 5 potentially fair reasons for dismissing an employee:

  • Capability or Qualifications
  • Conduct
  • Redundancy
  • Statutory restriction
  • Some other substantial reason

Discrimination Claims

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Breach of Contract

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Equal Pay Claims

Handling cases where employees claim they are not receiving equal pay for performing similar work as others due to gender or other protected characteristics.

Workplace Harassment

Assisting employees who face harassment, bullying, or victimisation at work, ensuring their rights are protected and seeking legal redress.

Settlement Agreements

A settlement agreement is a contract that is legally binding, made between an employee and an employer.

Employment Law Enquiry

Fill out the form and a member of our team will get in touch to discuss how we can help.

Key Steps in Employment Litigation Process

In any employment dispute, the first step should be to utilise the employer’s internal procedures – this could be by way of a grievance, a disciplinary or a capability procedure. If the dispute cannot be resolved that way, either the employer or employee can refer the dispute to ACAS for early conciliation.

If early conciliation does not find a solution, the employee’s next step would be to issue a claim in the Employment Tribunal. There are strict time limits for issuing claims and advice should be sought in that regard.

Once a claim has been issued, the Tribunal will then give “directions” which tell the parties when they have to disclose evidence and produce witness statements.

Finally, there will be a hearing in the Tribunal to make a decision on the claim and, if appropriate, how much should be awarded in compensation.

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Mullis & Peake Expertise in Employment Dispute Resolution

Our employment team has over 20 years’ experience in dealing with employment disputes. We can assist both employers and employees. Our focus will always be upon reaching an early settlement if at all possible. However, if that is not the case we can work with you from the start of a claim until the final hearing.

We have experience in all types of claim, including unfair dismissal, redundancy, sex discrimination, race discrimination, and unlawful deduction from wages.  

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Overview of Workplace Disputes. Preventing Workplace Disputes.

The key to preventing workplace disputes is to have robust policies and procedures in place, make sure they are kept up to date, and make sure that they are complied with. This can be achieved by regular training for all staff. Here at Mullis & Peake LLP we can help with drafting policies and procedures, and reviewing existing policies to make sure they are up to date. We also provide training for employers.

Employment Litigation and Dispute Resolution. Key Differences and Similarities

Litigation and Dispute Resolution are different terms which essentially mean the same thing. However, these days most people prefer to use the term Dispute Resolution because all parties should be focused upon finding a solution to the issue.

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Employment Contracts

Overview of Employment Contracts

An Employment Contract governs the relationship between employer and employee. All employees are entitled by law to receive a statement of their terms and conditions of employment no later than day one of their employment.

Key Components of Employment Contracts

The terms that must be included in the statement of terms and condition of employment are set down in law and are extensive. Many employers choose to include those terms in a more detailed contract of employment.

Best Practices for Drafting Employment Contracts

To make sure that employment contracts are legally compliant, and work well for the business, employers should seek specialist legal assistance. We can review your current contracts to make sure they are fit for purpose, or draft new contracts if appropriate.

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Employment Arbitration

Arbitration is a type of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). An independent third party will be appointed to consider the dispute and make a decision, and the parties will agree to be bound by that decision. Arbitration can be used as an alternative to Employment Tribunal proceedings.

Employment Mediation

Mediation is a type of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR). An independent third party will be appointed to consider the dispute and make a decision. Some employers use workplace mediation to try and resolve issues between co-workers.

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Employment Dispute Resolution

the Role of Legal Counsel

In Employment Tribunal proceedings both parties will usually engage a solicitor, who will carry out the day-to-day tasks required to get the proceedings ready for a final hearing. Barristers (also known as Counsel) will usually be instructed for the final hearing.

the Role of Unions

If an employee is a member of a Union, they are usually entitled to assistance with internal procedures, as well as legal assistance if the matter goes to the Tribunal.

the Role of Employees

The Employee will be the “Claimant”, as they are bringing the claim against their employer. The Employee will need to produce evidence to support their claim and make a witness statement giving their version of events. The employee will need to give evidence at a final hearing, which will include being cross-examined by the lawyer representing the employer.

the Role of Employers

The Employer will be the “Respondent”. They will need to produce evidence to support their version of events, and key staff who were involved in the events giving rise to the claim will need to make witness statements. They will also need to give evidence at the final hearing, which will include being cross-examined by the lawyer representing the claimant.

Frequently asked questions

If you have a nuisance employee, the first port of call should be following through your practices and procedures. You should be aiming to help and support them, to get them where you need them to be. If that fails, then dismissal may be an option, but it's really important that you follow the correct procedure to make sure that no employment tribunal claim follows.

As an employer, there are a number of reasons for which you can rightfully terminate an employees contract. It might be for reasons of capability, disciplinary reasons, or for redundancy reasons. But it's really important that a proper procedure is followed, so that you don't end up on the receiving end of an employment tribunal claim.

A settlement agreement ties up all of the issues between an employer and an employee around their employment and the termination of their employment. For an employer, it gives confidence that there will be no further claims. And, for an employee, the benefit will usually be some form of compensation for the termination of their employment.

For an employee, the key clause in a settlement agreement will usually be the one around compensation for loss of employment. For an employer, the key clauses will be that which prevents any future employment tribunal claims. And perhaps, if appropriate, some clauses restricting the employee from going to work for a competitor in the future.

If an employee leaves without notice, this is technically a breach of contract. If you have suffered a loss as a result of them leaving without notice then you may have a claim for damages. You should speak to a solicitor to find out if you do have a claim and, if so, what the next steps are.

For an employer, using an employment law solicitor could prevent any employment tribunal claims from being brought against you. For an employee, although you can represent yourself in the tribunal, it can be quite complicated and really daunting. If you use a solicitor, you give your claim the best chance of success.

If you're a small or new business looking to expand and take on staff, it's very important that you get advice. It's not just as simple as having an employment contract template and hiring a new member of staff. It's important that you're aware of all of your legal obligations as an employer. They might include your duty to look after the health and well-being of your staff, or laws around pensions as it is now compulsory to have a scheme available for all employees in your business. You also need to consider equality laws. If you're looking to take on staff for the first time or grow your business, you should get expert advice at the beginning to help establish good foundations. It is also important to have your employment contracts reviewed once in a while to make sure they stay up to date.

It's important to remember for businesses that you can still be held responsible for the acts of your staff which take place in a social context. For example, the impending office Christmas party. If, for example, there was a member of staff who made an advance towards another colleague during the office party, and that subsequently led to animosity, either between the staff members or difficulties in place of work, that is a problem which then rests with the employer. So, it's important to be proactive, in ensuring these problems do not occur. Employers should have a clear policy in place. Make sure you have defined start and end times of your event. If the office party is due to end at 11:00 make sure it does it end at 11:00, and maybe even organise transportation home for the staff, so that they can all be sent on their way. What you don't want is for any acts to take place during the work organised event, which would then become the responsibility of you as the employer.

At the outset of the matter you will be provided with a fee estimate based upon our experience in dealing with similar matters in the past. If something unexpected happens and it appears that fees are going to increase we will contact you and agree a new estimate prior to carrying out further work. Likewise, if we spend less time on the matter than expected we will not charge you the original fee estimate.

The amount of time it takes to conclude a matter will differ from case to case, however we will use our best endeavours to finalise the matter as quickly as possible. We will ensure that we respond to your telephone calls and correspondence promptly in order that we can progress your matter further.

It is not always necessary to attend our offices and have a meeting. We understand that time constraints affect businesses and that a telephone conversation is sometimes more convenient for clients. Alternatively, we are happy to meet with clients even if they only have a few queries. We will always be flexible in order to meet your business needs.

As an employer, you have the right to expect you employees to comply with the terms of their contract of employment. Outside of that, employees have quite a lot of protection under the law, and you'd be well advised to make sure you're aware of what their rights are before taking any action against an employee.

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Dispute Resolution Team

Head of Dispute Resolution

Holly Minney

Holly is a Member and Head of Mullis and Peake’s Dispute Resolution Department

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Chairman

Martyn Trenerry

Martyn ​is our Chairman and the firms' Compliance Officer for Legal Practice

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Member

Esther Marshall

​Esther is a Member and works in our Dispute Resolution team 

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