I think a staff member is going to bring a claim for unfair dismissal what shall I do?
If the employee has already been dismissed, you must ensure that they have been given a right to appeal that decision. The employee will then need to commence ACAS Early Conciliation to raise their claim before issuing employment tribunal proceedings. The ACAS Early Conciliation will give you advanced warning of the claim and enables you to decide whether to offer a resolution, such as a settlement payment.
I want to discipline a staff member, what do I do?
You must ensure that you follow your own disciplinary procedure and the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures. This includes carrying out a separate investigation, inviting the employee to a disciplinary hearing, providing them in advance with details of the case against them, allowing the employee to state their own case and call witnesses or produce evidence, applying an appropriate sanction such as a disciplinary warning, and allowing the employee an opportunity of appeal against the decision taken. The employee also has the right to be accompanied by a work colleague or trade union official at disciplinary and grievance meetings.
Are employment solicitors and HR consultants the same?
Employment solicitors will normally represent and advise clients in relation to contentious legal issues, whereas HR consultants will normally provide a hands-on service, for example sitting in disciplinary and grievance meetings to advice.
Should an employer use a solicitor to draw up a settlement agreement?
Settlement agreements can be complex. It is important that the agreement properly deals with the settlement of claims, applies the tax rules correctly, and sets out obligations regarding the employee’s post employment restrictions and confidentiality. As a settlement agreement is a legal document, it is advisable to instruct solicitors to draft an agreement appropriate to the employer’s requirements.
Does an employee need a solicitor for a settlement agreement?
Settlement agreements are used to resolve disputes between employees and employers, normally at the end of the employment. The law surrounding settlement agreements requires that employees must have independent legal advice in order for a settlement agreement to be binding. It is customary for the employer to pay a contribution towards the employee’s legal costs in taking advice on the settlement agreement.
I have an employee who has been sick whilst on leave, can they get the holiday back?
If an employee falls ill before a pre-planned holiday, or during that holiday, they are legally entitled to re-schedule that holiday and to take it later. Employers should set out how the employee must report such absence within their holiday/ sickness policies.
How do I calculate holiday pay?
Holiday pay should be calculated on an employee’s normal rate of pay. This should include their basic pay, together with payments intrinsically linked to their role. Current caselaw shows that this will normally include guaranteed and compulsory overtime, commission, bonuses related to performance, and other allowances, such as shift allowances. The rules are complex and advice on your own circumstances is essential to ensure you do not overpay or underpay holiday entitlement.
I have been asked to attend the police station for an interview. Can I take a lawyer with me?
If you are being interviewed under caution at the police station you have the right to have a lawyer with you. That lawyer will be able to make enquiries on your behalf to confirm what the police are investigating, take your instructions and give advice and help you through the interview process. In most cases, such help can be provided free of charge under the Legal Aid scheme regardless of your means.
I am being investigated by the Department of Business. What should I do?
The Department of Business takes a leading role in investigating allegations relating to criminal offences arising out of business malpractice. They have the power to apply to the court to disqualify you as a director and instigate criminal proceedings which can result in unlimited fines and/or a prison sentence. You should take immediate, specialist legal advice.
I have been accused of dumping controlled waste. What should I do?
Illegally disposing of controlled waste or ‘fly tipping’ is a serious offence punishable with an unlimited fine and/or up to five years’ imprisonment. There are a number of possible defences available. You should take specialist legal advice before speaking to the authorities.