Employment regulations are constantly changing. Curwens' Employment Team is here to guide you through the maze of "best practice". We can offer you HR advice to help cut through the red tape of regulation and free your time so you can run your business.
We work with you so that we can understand your short and long term plans, including expansion or restructuring. We can help you formalise terms of employment, prepare staff handbooks, implement HR procedures, comply with employment law. By taking over these HR functions for you we can allow you to do what you do best - run your business.
Curwens’ employer services include:
- HR Support
- Employment status of individuals
- Redundancy procedures
- Changing terms and conditions of employment
- Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006
- Settlement Agreements
We can advise your HR Department on changes in Employment Law and assist in their implementation. In addition, you can use our Employment Team as a sounding board to check that any changes in your staff's employment terms comply with the latest regulations. We can also offer peace of mind by guiding you through any disciplinary actions or grievance procedures.
Self-Employed or Employee
Whether an individual can be classed as self-employed or an employee has become an increasingly complex area of law and every individual situation needs to be judged on its own circumstances.
Even if an individual does not meet the legal definition of an “Employee” they may still be a worker and afforded protection under anti-discrimination legislation, the Working Time Regulations 1998, the Minimum Wage Act 1998 to name but a few.
We can guide you through the various factors which the Tribunal will take into account when considering whether an individual is in reality an employee or self employed so that you will be aware of the level of protection afforded to that person under employment legislation.
Settlement Agreements / Negotiated Departures
The employment relationship can sometimes run its natural course. In this scenario, many employers do not know that they can have what is known as a ‘protected conversation’ with the employee, or an ‘off the record’ conversation and discuss the future of the employment relationship. In the event of an ongoing dispute with an employee, there is also the option to have a ‘without prejudice’ conversation to try and resolve matters without recourse through the courts. We can guide you through the process, advising you of your obligations to the employee, the risks that your business may face and prepare all the necessary documentation and manage what is very often a very stressful situation.
Defending Employment Tribunal Claims
We are renowned for our expertise in acting for employers in Employment Tribunal claims and will provide you with prospects assessment at the outset based on the information provided so that you can make an informed decision that is right for your business taking into account all the circumstances, such as reputation and financial risk.
- Employment Status
- Unfair dismissal
- Equal Pay
- Breach of Contract / Wrongful Dismissal
We know that litigation can be expensive and therefore we will always provide you with commercial sensible advice as your trusted legal advisors. As a firm we are a leader in representing employers under legal expenses insurance cover and have the requisite experience in dealing with the insurers on your behalf so all you have to focus on is running your business whilst we take care of the legal side of the dispute.
We understand that there may be times when you have to make redundancies but even in a genuine redundancy or restructuring situation, we often find employers fail to follow the correct procedure, which can then result in the redundant employee bringing an Employment Tribunal claim and being awarded significant compensation.
By taking our advice at an early stage you can significantly reduce the risk of an employee Tribunal claim or, if a claim is made, present the best possible defence.
We have extensive experience in advising businesses on the correct procedures to be followed when making 20 or more employees redundant where a more complex procedure will be adopted.
Changing terms and conditions of employment.
As an alternative to redundancies, you could consider altering your staff terms and conditions of employment, making necessary savings by reducing hours, salary, benefits, annual leave etc.
Unless this procedure is handled properly, such reductions could amount to a fundamental breach of contract entitling an employee to resign and make a constructive dismissal claim to the Employment Tribunal. This could involve not only legal costs in defending the action but may result in significant compensation being awarded to the employee.
We can advise on the correct procedure and in our experience, when the correct procedure is followed, staff often agree to the proposed changes so that savings are achieved without legal action and perhaps, more importantly, staff dissatisfaction.
Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE).
The TUPE Regulations 2006 are a legal minefield. We can guide you through the Regulations, with clear and practical advice so that your staff are correctly consulted. Failure to consult and inform staff can result in a claim being made by every affected employee. The financial implications of mishandling the process can be significant.
Our Employment Team has a wealth of experience in defending employers against claims brought by employees in the Employment Tribunal, High Court and County Court.
Call us now to speak to one of our expert advisors.
On 6 April 2009 ACAS’ Code of Practice 1 brought new changes to disciplinary procedures. You should carry out investigations without unreasonable delay. In some cases this will mean that you will need to hold an investigatory interview with the employee and in other cases it will mean that you will need to collate evidence for use at the disciplinary hearing. If possible, different people should carry out the investigation and disciplinary hearing. If you suspend the employee with pay, this period should be as brief as possible and should be kept under review.
You shall also make it clear that the suspension is not a disciplinary action. If you decide that there is a case to answer you should notify the employee in writing including sufficient information about the alleged misconduct and its possible consequences to allow the employee to prepare for the disciplinary meeting. You should include copies of any evidence including witness statements with your letter. Your letter should also give details of the time and venue for the disciplinary meeting and advise the employee of their right to be accompanied. You should thereafter hold the meeting, allow the employee to be accompanied, decide on the appropriate action and provide the employee with an opportunity to appeal.
There is no absolute right to work part time. However, if you refuse her request without justification, it may amount to indirect sex discrimination or less favourable treatment of a part time worker. In deciding whether your requirements for her to work part time is justifiable, a Tribunal must not simply consider whether you have good reason for requiring her to work full time. Rather, a Tribunal will consider your reasons as against the discriminatory effect on the employee.
The Disability Discrimination Act suggests that as an employer you may have to make reasonable adjustments. In order to consider whether it is reasonable for you to make the necessary adjustments an Employment Tribunal would consider the extent to which the adjustment will have prevented the disadvantage, the practical ability of you making the adjustment, your financial and other resources, the availability of financial or other assistance to make the adjustment and the cost of disruption.