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6 Common Questions Asked by Employees; Taylor Bracewell have your answers.

02 April 2019
Richard Lozano

What are my rights as an employee?

Employees are entitled to a variety of different rights including the right to freedom from discrimination, the right to be paid at the least the national minimum wage and the right to a certain amount of paid holiday each year. After two years’ service, you then have enhanced employment rights which includes the right not be unfairly dismissed.

What types of matters does employment law cover?

Some examples include:

  • Age discrimination
  • Bullying and harassment
  • Disability
  • Discrimination based on race, religion, sexuality or gender
  • Dismissal and employee grievances
  • Employment contracts
  • Equal pay
  • Minimum wage

What is discrimination?

Unlawful discrimination is when a person is treated unfairly because of one of the 9 protected characteristics outlined in the Equality Act 2010, these are;

  1. Age
  2. Gender
  3. Race
  4. Disability
  5. Religion
  6. Pregnancy and maternity
  7. Sexual orientation
  8. Gender reassignment
  9. Marriage and civil partnership

Do I have to work my notice?

If you have been employed for more than one month, and you are giving your employer notice, the statutory minimum you are required to give is one week’s notice.

If your employer is giving you notice, by statute, you are entitled to receive one week’s notice if you have been employed for more than one month but less than two years. If you have been employed continuously for more than two years, you are entitled to two weeks’ notice plus an additional one week’s notice for each full year of continuous service, up to 12 weeks. For example, if you have been employed for 7 years, this would be 7 weeks’ notice.

However, you must check your contract of employment as your contractual notice period may be longer than the statutory minimum.

If you do not work your notice, you will be in breach of contract and your employer does not have to pay you your notice pay. They also have the right to bring a claim for damages against you for the loss incurred to their business - although in reality, it can be difficult for employers to identify any financial loss and it may be disproportionate for them to take legal action against you.

If you did not want to take the risk, you could negotiate with your employer and agree a shorter notice period.

However, there are some exceptions to this:

  1. If you are placed on ‘garden leave’, you will remain an employee until the last date of your notice period but you will not be required to attend your workplace.
  2. If there is a Pay in Lieu of Notice (PILON) clause in your contract of employment, your employer could terminate the contract without requiring you to work your notice. You would receive your notice pay at the point of termination and your contract of employment would terminate immediately.

What happens if I am paid late?

You are entitled to be paid on time as part of your contract of employment. If your employer is regularly late when paying your wages, there are procedures you can use to enforce your legal right to be paid. 

The first step would be to speak to your manager informally or to raise a grievance. Often this may be a one-off error and may be rectified within a few days, or on the next pay day. However, if this is not rectified, you may be entitled to bring an unlawful deduction from wages claim. The Employment Tribunal enforces strict time limits and you must bring your claim within three months less one day from the date that the wages were due.

The payment is a contractual term so your employer may also be in breach of contract. You could look to sue your employer in a civil court if the outstanding wages were due in the last six years. However, the costs and procedure involved at a civil court is different from that of an Employment Tribunal.

If your employer persistently fails to pay you on time, you could be entitled to resign and claim constructive dismissal. However, it is advised that you seek advice before taking this route as these claims are very risky and can be difficult to successfully pursue.

 What is considered as unfair dismissal?

Unfair dismissal is when an employee with more than two years’ service is dismissed from their job without the employer having a fair reason, or using a fair process. If you have less than two years’ service, your dismissal could still be unfair if it is because of an ‘automatic’ unfair reason such as being pregnant or you reported wrongdoing in the workplace.

The Employment Rights Act 1996 sets out the reasons your employer can fairly dismiss you:

  1. If your conduct was not acceptable;
  2. If you are not capable of doing your job because of poor performance or ill health;
  3. If your role is made redundant;
  4. If there is a legal reason why your employer cannot employ you; or
  5. Some other substantial reason – a catch all reason for situations not covered by the other four reasons.

The fair procedure varies depending on which reason your employer uses and the details of your situation.

We invite you to give us a call to discuss the details of your dismissal and further advice regarding unfair dismissal, or for further guidance regarding the questions which are raised.

Contact Richard Lozano on 01302 341414.