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For Business

Employment Law

No matter the size of your business, your employees are its foundation and it is important that you have a lawful and beneficial working relationships on both sides.  Employment law is one of the fastest moving areas of law, and it is vital that your employment practices are put under regular scrutiny in order for you to stay on the right side of your employees as well as out of the Employment Tribunal.

As experienced Employment Law Solicitors, we understand the dynamic landscape employers navigate, and we are here to provide you with the knowledge and support you need to ensure a compliant and thriving workplace.

We pride ourselves on providing comprehensive legal services tailored to the unique needs of your business and your workforce.  Whether you have one employee or over 1,000 the laws still apply, and our team of skilled Employment Law Solicitors is dedicated to helping you understand the complexities of employment legislation, empowering you to make informed decisions that safeguard your business.

Legal advice for employers

We have vast experience in not only working with various sizes of business in many different sectors but also across all levels of employee.  Whether you are a business owner managing the HR yourself, or you are part of a large HR department, we appreciate that situations may arise when you require the support and reassurance from an Employment Lawyer. 

Understanding employment law

Employment law is a minefield.  It can therefore be difficult to stay up to date with new legislation and appreciate how decisions in the Employment Tribunal can impact your day-to-day decisions.  Our Employment Law Solicitors are here to answer your questions about recent updates, changes, the rights of your employees and your responsibilities as an employer. 

Workplace policies and procedures

In addition to your employment contracts, your policies and procedures will set out the basis of your relationship with your employees.  It is vital that these are not only legally compliant, but readily available to your employees and regularly updated.  These policies will set out how you and your employees should act in matters of disciplinaries, grievances, sickness absence, holiday requests, maternity and paternity leave, data protection and much more. 

Employment status and contracts

There are several different categories of employment status, which is an area under the microscope due to cases in recent years involving organisations such as Uber, Deliveroo and the so-called “gig economy”, as well as the ever-changing IR35 regulations.  Having your workforce defined as the right status and subsequently on the correct employment contract is vital to ensure your working relationship begins and continues on the right path, protecting both your business and your employees, workers or contractors. 

Recruitment and hiring practices

It is imperative that employers understand that you can fall foul of employment law even before you recruit an individual into your business.  We can assist you with ensuring that you adopt fair and legal recruitment processes, from addressing discrimination to fostering diversity, as well as defend you in Tribunal should a claim be raised against you.

Disciplinaries and grievances

Managing employee performance is one of the key roles of any employer or HR department and having a disciplinary and grievance policy in place in your business is required by law. 

Before even beginning with a disciplinary or performance management review, you should identify the correct reason to be taking an employee through an investigation, i.e. whether due to capability, conduct or performance. 

Should you need to discuss a matter of misconduct with an employee, or a colleague has raised a grievance against another employee, there are strict procedures you must adhere to in order to remain legally compliant and reduce the risk of a Tribunal claim being brought against you. 

The Acas Code of Conduct can offer general policies and advice, while our Employment Lawyers can provide tailored guidance, a review of your policies and support you at every step. 

Managing dismissals for employers

In the unfortunate situation that an employee needs to be dismissed it is important that you follow a fair procedure to avoid claims of unfair dismissal.  Whenever you part company with an employee you will want to be sure it does not give rise to other claims such as discrimination, constructive dismissal or wrongful dismissal.  This may involve reviewing restrictive covenants or offering settlement agreements and our Employment Law Solicitors can advise you along the way.

Redundancy for employers

We appreciate that pursuing redundancies in your business will not have been an easy decision. Redundancy dismissals require careful planning and consultation with your employees and the process will vary depending on the number of employees at risk.  This is a complex area of employment law, and our Employment Lawyers can support you with the communication required with your affected employees, assist with the selection pool and criteria as well as consider alternative employment options within the company to mitigate the impact.

Settlement agreements for employers

Using settlement agreements has become a popular method for employers to resolve employment disputes.  These agreements offer an employee a settlement in return for them waiving their rights to bring a claim against you as their employer.  The agreement will usually include a financial sum being paid and agree terms surrounding their reference, exit statement to colleagues and clients, and a termination date.  As their employer, you have certain obligations, for example, the employee must receive independent employment law advice and so most employers would make a contribution towards their legal fees. Our Settlement Agreement Solicitors can assist you with drafting and negotiating these agreements.

Restrictive covenants for employers

Depending on the seniority of your employees, you may wish to have heightened protections in your employment contracts, known as restrictive covenants.  We can advise as to how enforceable these covenants may be in your contracts and how to act should a previous employee breach their covenants.

Employment law in mergers and acquisitions

Should your business be going through the process of a merger or acquisition, your employees will be a key part of the deal and their transfer will need to be completed according to the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) regulations, otherwise known as TUPE.  This is an incredibly complex area of Employment Law and it is vital that you consult legal advice before proceeding.

Flexible working for employers

While flexible working has been in existence for many years, the Covid-19 pandemic heightened the desire in employees to have a more flexible approach to achieve a work-life balance.  Understanding the rights your employees have in relation to flexible working and the procedure you, and they, must follow once a request has been made is key to avoid a potential claim.

Maternity and paternity obligations for employers

Ensuring a supportive and inclusive workplace extends to understanding and fulfilling maternity and paternity obligations. Employers play a crucial role in facilitating a smooth transition for employees during significant life events such as having children. Our advice will encompass creating maternity and paternity policies, offering flexibility in work arrangements, how to avoid discrimination claims against you and providing a framework for employees to avail themselves of their parental rights.

Sexual harassment in the workplace

Creating a safe and respectful workplace is a priority for every employer. This is a topic that has come to our attention more over recent years, particularly with the #MeToo movement.  Employers are legally obligated to provide a safe working environment free from harassment and must take reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment. This includes implementing preventive measures, promptly addressing complaints, and taking appropriate action against perpetrators. Employers should consider adopting measures that educate their employees and encourage a culture of dignity, respect, and zero tolerance for inappropriate behaviour.

Employee dispute resolution and litigation

Should an employee or potential employee bring a Tribunal claim against you, this can be an incredibly daunting experience and you will be looking for an Employment Law Solicitor with experience in managing litigation proceedings.  There are many different claims that could be brought against you, including but not limited to:

  • Unfair dismissal
  • Constructive dismissal
  • Discrimination under the Equality Act 2010
  • Breach of contract
  • Unauthorised deductions from pay

Our team can explain each stage of the claim against you from Acas Early Conciliation through to the Tribunal hearing, should a settlement not be reached. 

Employment Law for Employers Solicitors in Andover, Romsey, Salisbury, Totton, and Witney

As dedicated Employment Law solicitors in Andover, Romsey, Salisbury, Totton, and Witney, we are committed to providing comprehensive legal support to employers navigating the complex landscape of employment regulations. We understand the challenges businesses face in maintaining a harmonious and compliant work environment. Whether you are a small start-up or a large corporation, we tailor our services to meet your specific needs, ensuring that your business remains legally resilient and employee relations are managed effectively

Employment Law for Employers Frequently Asked Questions

What should be included in a contract of employment?

A contract of employment is a crucial document that outlines the terms and conditions of employment. While each employment contract should be tailored depending on your business and the role of the employee, it should include details such as:

  • Their job title
  • Their duties and responsibilities
  • Their working hours in accordance with Working Time Regulations
  • Their financial remuneration
  • Their benefits as an employee
  • Their holiday entitlement
  • Their notice period  
  • Confidentiality clauses and data protection

Depending on the role itself, you may also feel it necessary to add restrictive covenants to the contract. 

Can I change the terms of an employment contract?

Any changes to employment contracts should be done with the mutual agreement of both you and your employee. It is advisable to seek legal advice before proceeding as our Employment Lawyers can support you with the appropriate communication relating to the proposed changes before seeking employee input, and obtaining written consent.  We can also advise whether any proposed changes you are considering are lawful. 

What are the protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010?

There are currently nine protected characteristics which means that an employee cannot be discriminated against due to:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race
  • Religion and belief
  • Sex (gender)
  • Sexual orientation

Should an employee or potential employee believe you have discriminated against them either during the recruitment process, during their employment or during a dismissal or redundancy process, they could have a claim for discrimination under the Equality Act 2010. 

What is the proper procedure for terminating an employee?

Terminating an employee should be based on a fair and valid reason and, unless in rare circumstances, should follow a fair procedure.  As with all areas of employment law, seeking legal advice is recommended to reduce the risk of a potential Tribunal claim.  The fair procedure will include steps such as clear communication with the employee, providing notice relating to meetings as well as full documentation of those meetings.  Employees should be offered the right to appeal the decision otherwise this will not be considered to be a fair procedure. 

How should I handle employee grievances?

As with all areas of employment law, should an issue arise with an employee you must adhere to your own procedure, or that of Acas, but all procedures need to encompass certain standards.  Grievances should be investigated promptly and impartially, providing a fair and transparent resolution process with the opportunity for the employees to appeal any decision.

What is the disciplinary procedure for employers?

As with the grievance process, you should have clearly defined disciplinary procedures in your employment policies which will specify the fair process, including issuing warnings and providing opportunities for improvement. Employees should be given the right to appeal disciplinary decisions to ensure procedural fairness.

Can an employer refuse a flexible working request?

Should an employee make a flexible working request, and they have done so according to your internal procedure, you will need to take this seriously.  Should you not follow your procedure or refuse the request unjustly, you could leave yourself open to a claim.  Your procedure should ensure that you assess the pros and cons of the request, discuss the details with the employee directly and, should you refuse it, offer the opportunity to appeal.  You can refuse the request should you have a legitimate business reason.

What are restrictive covenants, and how do they work?

Restrictive covenants are clauses in employment contracts that limit an employee's activities after leaving the company. There are various types of covenant that can be included in an employment contract and the suitability will be determined by your business objectives and the seniority of the role:

  • Non-compete – restricting an employee from moving to a competing business, or setting up a competing business. 
  • Non-solicitation – restricting an employee from targeting your clients and potential clients once they have left your employment.
  • Non-dealing – restricting an employee from having any dealings with your clients once they have left your employment, even if they are approached by the client.
  • Non-poaching – restricting an employee from encouraging their previous colleagues to leave your business and join them.
  • Garden leave – restricts an employee from attending the business premises once they have handed in their notice. 

It is crucial that when these covenants are included within an employment contract that they are reasonable and are legitimately in place to protect your business interests and should be regularly reviewed, otherwise they could be ruled as unenforceable in the future.  We can discuss the likelihood of this with you, and ensure that the covenants you wish to include are enforceable.

Can an employer be held liable for the actions of employees in cases of sexual harassment?

Employers can be held liable for the actions of their employees if they fail to take reasonable steps to prevent and address sexual harassment. Implementing policies, providing training, and responding appropriately to complaints are critical in mitigating liability.

Contact our Employment Law Solicitors for employers

If you are an employer and you are looking for expert employment law advice for your business, contact our Employment Law Solicitors in our offices in Andover, Romsey, Salisbury, Totton or Witney today.  You can either complete the Contact Form, email info@parkerbullen.com or contact your local office: