FAQ

Frequently asked legal questions.

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Employment Law

Employees have the right not to be unfairly selected for redundancy. As an employee, you’re likely to feel a lot of emotions – sadness, anger, hopelessness. However, if you are made redundant, it’s important that you make sure you know your rights and what benefits you’re entitled to. These are some of the questions you should ask: –

  • Any thoughts you have had regarding ways in which your redundancy might be avoided, e.g. losing agency or temporary workers first.
  • The reasons for redundancies being considered.
  • How you have been selected as being at risk and who else is at risk.
  • How the employer proposes selecting which employees to retain and which to make redundant (e.g. will it be last in, first out?)
  • If you think that the selection criteria are discriminatory, you should challenge this.
  • Whether the employer has any other positions available, and if so, might you be considered for them, and if not, why not?
  • You might also wish to ask what your entitlements will be if you are made redundant. Some employers will pay only statutory redundancy pay, whereas others are more generous.

If you need advice on redundancy or any aspect of Employment Law, whether as an employee or an employer, then contact us for an initial consultation on 01425 275555 or FREEPHONE 0800 083 2755 or email info@simpkinsand.co.uk. We are specialists in Employment Law and are accredited members of the Employment Lawyers Association.

You’re a whistle-blower if you’re a worker and report certain types of wrongdoing, usually something that’s happened at work, although not always. The wrongdoing you disclose must be in the public interest, meaning it must affect others, e.g. the general public. You can raise your concern at any time about an incident that happened in the past, is happening now, or you believe will happen in the near future. As a whistle-blower, you’re protected by law. You shouldn’t be mistreated or lose your job because you ‘blow the whistle’. Examples of when you’d ‘blow the whistle’ would include the following:

  • a criminal offence, e.g. fraud
  • someone’s health and safety is in danger
  • the risk or actual damage to the environment
  • a miscarriage of justice
  • the company is breaking the law, e.g. doesn’t have the right insurance
  • you believe someone is covering up wrongdoing.

If you need advice on any employment issues, whether as an employee or an employer, contact us for an initial consultation on 01425 275555 or FREEPHONE 0800 083 2755 or email info@simpkinsand.co.uk. We are specialists in Employment Law and are accredited members of the Employment Lawyers Association.

Gross misconduct can be any conduct where an employee has behaved in a way that represents a serious breach of their contract, making any continuing relationship impossible between employer and employee. This could be something specific in relation to the particular industry sector or job title, and which may not apply to employees who do similar roles for different employers. Examples of acts of gross misconduct include: –

  • theft
  • dishonesty
  • violence at work
  • intoxication from drink or drugs
  • fighting or other physical abuse
  • continued refusal to obey the reasonable instructions of the manager
  • serious breach of health and safety rules.

Employers usually set out in the contract of employment what amounts to gross misconduct, although this isn’t a necessary pre-requisite for action to be taken. As an employer, it is recommended that all allegations of gross misconduct are investigated, and the employee is given the opportunity to respond to the same. A dismissal also needs to be “reasonable and proportionate”. It may be, for example, that demotion or a final warning is a more appropriate sanction. Dismissal without warning because of gross misconduct is likely to only be fair in limited circumstances such as dishonesty, gross insubordination or alcohol abuse. If the matter ended up at an employment tribunal, you, as the employer would have to satisfy the tribunal that the decision: –

  • would be one that a reasonable employer would have made
  • was itself both fair and reasonable in the circumstances.

We offer an initial consultation to discuss any employment issues, whether you are an employer or employee. Contact us on 01425 275555 or FREEPHONE 0800 083 2755 or email info@simpkinsand.co.uk. We are specialists in Employment Law and are accredited members of the Employment Lawyers Association.

If the complaint against your employer cannot be resolved informally. In that case, you can raise a formal written grievance, without unreasonable delay, to a manager who is not the subject of the grievance. The reason/s why you are lodging a grievance must be clearly stated. You should: –

  • start by setting out that you would like to lodge a formal grievance
  • set out the circumstances which have led you to write the grievance
  • explain why you consider any processes to be unfair
  • set out the chronology, with particular reference to relevant facts, including dates, times, parties to any discussions and reference to any relevant documentation
  • make reference to how your employer’s actions have affected your health.

Your employer should acknowledge the grievance and carry out any necessary investigations in relation to your complaint to establish the facts of the case. You will be notified of the grievance meeting without unreasonable delay. You should also be given the opportunity to bring a work colleague or trade union official to the meeting. Such a person is entitled to fully participate at the meeting, providing support to you and putting questions to your employer. The only thing your companion cannot do is answer questions on your behalf. At the actual meeting, you should be given the opportunity to properly put your case, together with any suggestions you have for resolving it. After the grievance is heard, your employer will write and inform you about the outcome as soon as it is reasonably practicable. However, it may be that further investigations arising from the meeting need to be made, and another grievance meeting may need to be held following this. If you are not satisfied with the outcome, you should be allowed to appeal. Your employer will arrange a further meeting to discuss your appeal, which should, if possible, be heard by a different and more senior manager. If you feel that you have not been treated fairly or need advice on grievance procedures or any other aspects of employment law, contact us for an initial consultation on 01425 275555 or FREEPHONE 0800 083 2755 or email info@simpkinsand.co.uk. We are specialists in Employment Law and are accredited members of the Employment Lawyers Association.

Frequent, short-term absences in your company can lower morale as staff have to cover for absent colleagues, making their workloads significantly increase. It can also lead to mistakes, lower productivity, delay projects and cause low motivation. Along with monitoring the absences, you may want to start by introducing some of the following absence management measures, which can encourage higher attendance rates and help cut the cost of staff absences: –

  • Return to work interviews. These are used to deter non-genuine absences and ensure that people’s return is managed smoothly. They can also help identify any underlying health issues causing absences and enable line managers or HR to put measures in place to help workers avoid taking time off in the future.
  • Attendance incentives. These can take the form of cash rewards or allowing an extra day’s holiday for anyone with 100% attendance, or allowing staff to leave early on the last Friday of the month if they haven’t had a day off.
  • Flexible working policies. These allow staff to work from home or shift their working hours around and can help staff achieve a better work/life balance.
  • Training for both workers and their managers on coping with stress, mental health problems, and other well-being issues can significantly impact absence levels.
  • Promoting healthy lifestyles. Encouraging your workers to adopt a healthy lifestyle can reap the rewards in terms of your absence rate. Perks like a free gym membership or on-site sports facilities encourage workers to exercise. If you’re on a tight budget, organising a weekly work walking or running club is a great way to get your workers exercising.

Be careful – absence management can go wrong. There’s a fine line between effectively monitoring and managing absence and scaring or enticing employees into the office when they’re really not well enough to be there. When creating your absence management strategy, it’s important to be aware of these less desirable outcomes: –

  • Increased stress for employees who feel under pressure to come into work exacerbated their health problems and resulting in long-term absences.
  • Return to work interviews are too interrogating, so some employees will try to avoid the stress they cause by coming into work when they should be at home in bed. To combat this, make sure that you welcome the employee back to work and find out why they were absent and check that they feel they’re well enough to be back in the office.

If you need advice on any aspects of Employment Law, then contact us for an initial consultation on 01425 275555 or FREEPHONE 0800 083 2755 or email info@simpkinsand.co.uk. We are specialists in Employment Law and are accredited members of the Employment Lawyers Association.

You are entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks paid holiday each year (equal to 28 days including Bank Holidays), although you may be offered more than this in your contract of employment. You must take holidays when convenient with your employer; there is no absolute right to take the holiday times of your choosing. You cannot decide to take payment in lieu of holiday unless your employment has terminated, in which case you are entitled to any accrued but untaken holiday for that year. Your employer may stipulate that your remaining annual leave is to be taken during your notice period, assuming you are working this or on garden leave. Part-time workers are also entitled to a minimum of 5.6 weeks of paid holiday each year, calculated on a pro-rata basis depending on how much you work. For example, if you work 3 days a week, your leave is calculated by multiplying 3 by 5.6, which works out to 16.8 days of annual paid leave. If you need advice on any employment issues, whether as an employee or an employer, contact us for an initial consultation on 01425 275555 or FREEPHONE 0800 083 2755 or email info@simpkinsand.co.uk. We are specialists in Employment Law and are accredited members of the Employment Lawyers Association

Men and women doing equal work and work rated as of equal value are entitled to equal pay, including bonuses. A woman is employed on ‘like work’ with a man if her work is of the same or a broadly similar nature, and it is for the employer to show that there is a genuine reason for any difference in pay which is not based on the sex of an individual. You are also entitled to know how your pay is calculated. For example, if there is a bonus system, everyone should know how those bonuses can be earned. If you cannot resolve the issues informally, you should lodge a formal grievance in the first instance, clearly setting out your claim. You will need to choose a “comparator” (i.e. someone of the opposite sex) with whom you want to claim equal pay. Your comparator must be employed either by your employer or by an associated employer (for example, a parent company) at the same establishment or workplace but not necessarily the same location. Your employer will then investigate your grievance and call a meeting to discuss the issues and then decide whether or not it is upheld. If the informal or grievance route does not resolve matters, you can bring a claim based on direct discrimination under the Equality Act 2010. Such a claim usually needs to be made within 3 months of the last act of discrimination that is complained about. You can also lodge an Equal Pay claim in an employment tribunal under the Equality Act, and such a claim can be made while you are still working or at any time up to six months after leaving employment. Recent case law has held that if the time limit has passed for bringing a claim in the employment tribunal, you can bring an action through the courts as there is a much longer limitation period (6 years) in which to do so. If you are considering taking action, you should keep copies of all relevant communications with your employer, including notes of meetings and emails. This could be powerful evidence in your favour should you need to rely on the same in your claim. As always, it is best to obtain legal advice before pursuing your claim. We offer an initial consultation to discuss your claim. Contact us on 01425 275555 or FREEPHONE 0800 083 2755 or email info@simpkinsand.co.uk. We are specialists in Employment Law and are accredited members of the Employment Lawyers Association.

A contract of employment does not need to be in writing. It can be verbal or written. However, an employee is entitled at the very least to a “written statement of particulars” of the terms of employment after being employed for 2 months, assuming there is no contract of employment. The written statement of particulars is not a contract as such, but what it needs to set out includes the following: –

  • job title
  • commencement of employment
  • pay
  • hours of work
  • holidays
  • place of work.

A written statement does not need to include the following details (although it does need to state where these can be found): –

  • sick pay and procedures
  • disciplinary process
  • grievance procedure.

If no written statement of particulars has been provided, the employee may apply to the Employment Tribunal to determine what those particulars should be. If you need advice on contracts of employment, whether as an employee or an employer, then contact us for an initial consultation on 01425 275555 or FREEPHONE 0800 083 2755 or email info@simpkinsand.co.uk. We are specialists in Employment Law and are accredited members of the Employment Lawyers Association.

 

Employment law mediates the relationship between workers (employees), employers, trade unions and the government. Employment law covers a vast area – from employment contracts to dismissal and everything in between. Many businesses find it worthwhile to use an employment lawyer to help ensure that they stay within the law. Complying with employment law keeps your workforce happier and more productive and saves you the cost and stress of employment tribunal claims. If you need advice on employment law, whether as an employee or an employer, then contact us for an initial consultation on 01425 275555 or FREEPHONE 0800 083 2755 or email info@simpkinsand.co.uk. We are specialists in Employment Law and are accredited members of the Employment Lawyers Association.

Personal Injury & Clinical Negligence

Firstly, we investigate your claim thoroughly by gathering witness statements, incident reports, medical reports and any other relevant documents about your injuries or illness. Once we have all the information, a full investigation of the events leading to your injury or illness can be made and we will be able to advise you on the chances of winning your case. We would then put forward the claim to the party who was at fault and their insurance company. Most claims are settled before they go to court. However, some will go to court, but we will keep you informed and support you every step of the way.

The amount of compensation you receive will depend on a number on factors, including:

  • The seriousness of your injury or illness
  • How it has affected your life
  • How much money you have lost, or will lose as a consequence
  • Whether you will need extra support in the future

We will let you know at the beginning of your claim how your opponent’s insurers and the courts work out how much compensation you may receive. It is important to bear in mind that everyone is different and the consequences of the same injury in terms of working life and home-life will vary from person to person. We will assess all of your individual circumstances to make sure your compensation settlement meets your particular needs and we will do everything we can to recover the maximum amount of compensation available to you. We will also advise you on the best payment terms to suit your immediate and ongoing needs. Interim payments may also be a possibility. As well as securing financial compensation, we will help you and your family with the practical issues and day-to-day impact of your injury as well as helping you to access the best medical care and rehabilitation.

We will give you a FREE initial consultation on your claim. Call us now on 01425 275555 or FREEPHONE 0800 083 2755 or email info@simpkinsand.co.uk. We will advise you on the best way to fund your case. This may be: –

  • Conditional Fee Agreement, commonly known as a ‘No Win, No Fee’ agreement.
  • Legal Expenses Insurance – as part of your household or car insurance you may have legal expenses cover to help with legal costs.
  • Trade Union – if you are a member of a trade union they may provide help with some legal issues.
  • Public Funding – this is now only available in cases for children with brain (neurological) injuries resulting in severe disability, which arises during pregnancy, childbirth or up to 8 weeks postnatal.
  • With a ‘No Win, No Fee’ option: – If you win: –Your opponent will pay the majority of our basic legal costs and disbursements (e.g. court fees and medical reports).
  • You won’t have to pay a penny out of your own pocket until your claim has successfully come to an end.
  • Any of the costs not paid by your opponent will be deducted from your compensation.
  • Any disbursements that cannot be recovered from your opponent, will be covered by your insurance policy.
  • There are no hidden costs. We will give you regular updates about the costs being charged to your case.
  • To help you with your legal costs, the Government has ordered a 10% increase in the amount awarded to you for your pain, suffering and loss of amenity.
  • If you lose: –There is no financial risk to you if your claim is unsuccessful.
  • You won’t have to pay anything out of your own pocket whilst your claim is being pursued.
  • We would make no charge whatsoever to you.
  • You will be fully covered by your insurance policy for any disbursements.
  • Your insurance policy protects you from any of your opponent’s legal costs.
  • There are no hidden costs.

We will do everything we can to protect and support you during your claim and we will keep you updated at all times. Please note: This does not apply to asbestos related diseases and mesothelioma claims which are exempt from the above arrangements.

It is very important that you seek advice promptly from one of our specialist solicitors on the precise time limits that apply to your case. There are strict time limits in personal injury claims within which you must have started court proceedings for your claim. Under English law, the limit is usually 3 years from the date of your accident or incident, but this can vary depending on a number of factors. If you have a clinical negligence claim, the time limit is 3 years from the date you became aware that you had suffered harm due to your medical treatment. These time limits do not apply to children (who can proceed at any time before their 21st birthday) and people who have a mental incapacity. If your accident or injury occurred outside England and Wales, there are different time limits and legal procedures vary from country to country. In many countries, the time limits for taking action are much shorter than 3 years.

Furthermore, for many air accidents, marine accidents, and criminal injury claims, the time limit is often 2 years. For defective products the time period is either; 3 years from the date that an injury or illness was caused by the product or 3 years from the date you became aware that injury or illness was caused by the product. This is limited to a maximum of 10 years from the date of supply of the product concerned. It includes products given as a result of medical care and applies to children and to people who have a mental incapacity. In some very limited circumstances, the courts may allow a claim to continue beyond the time limit period but you should not assume that any discretion will be applied for your claim. However, even if you believe the time limit for bringing your claim may have expired, it is worth seeking advice from a solicitor on whether the court may allow the claim to proceed. We will give you a FREE initial consultation on your claim. Call us now on 01425 275555 or FREEPHONE 0800 083 2755 or email info@simpkinsand.co.uk.

If you are concerned about the way in which your claim is being handled, you can raise your concerns with your lawyer. If you are still not satisfied with their response, you may want to consider a second opinion from another law firm. We are happy to discuss your situation in a FREE initial consultation and advise you on what we can do for you. You can then make a decision on whether you wish to proceed with moving your case. If you decide to move your case to us, we will take care of all the necessary arrangements for you. Call us now on 01425 275555 or FREEPHONE 0800 083 2755 or email info@simpkinsand.co.uk.

A ‘No Win, No Fee’ agreement (also known as a Conditional Fee Agreement or CFA) is an arrangement between you and your solicitor. If your compensation claim is not successful, your solicitor is not paid for the work they have done. If you win your claim, your solicitor is paid part of their fees by the other party, typically an insurance company. Any of the legal costs not paid by your opponent will be deducted from any compensation awarded to you. You won’t pay anything until your claim has successfully come to an end. We will assess the prospects of winning your case, review all of the funding options available to you and consider if you are best supported with a ‘No Win, No Fee’ agreement. We will give you a FREE initial consultation on your claim. Call us now on 01425 275555 or FREEPHONE 0800 083 2755 or email info@simpkinsand.co.uk.

Personal Injury is a term used to describe any type of injury which has been caused to your body whether from an accident at work, a car accident or a pavement accident, to name but a few examples. The term personal injury is also used to describe illnesses or injuries resulting from clinical negligence and industrial diseases including asbestos-related diseases. If you have suffered a personal injury due to someone else’s negligence, you may be able to make a personal injury claim. Contact us for a FREE initial consultation on 01425 275555 or FREEPHONE 0800 083 2755 or email info@simpkinsand.co.uk.

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