Further help

Further help

Community Legal Advice Provides free information direct to the public on a range of common legal problems. Call 0845 345 4 345 If you qualify for legal aid, get free advice from a specialist legal adviser about benefits and tax credits, debt, education, employment or housing. Also find a high quality local legal adviser or solicitor. Click www.communitylegaladvice.org.uk Find a high quality local legal adviser or solicitor, link to other online information and see if…

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Age discrimination

Age discrimination

Age discrimination laws help ensure that you are not denied a job, an equal chance of training or a promotion because of your age. What is age discrimination at work? The Equality Act 2010 makes it illegal for an employer to single out an employee, or job seeker, for differential treatment – such as discrimination, harassment or victimisation – on the basis of their age. If an employer treats someone differently due to their age…

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Enrolling into a pension at work

Enrolling into a pension at work

Despite the fact that people are living longer nowadays and will probably experience a lengthier retirement, many workers are failing to save for their retirement at all and, those who do save, are not saving enough. For these reasons, the Government has introduced workplace pensions. What is a workplace pension? A workplace pension is a form of savings programme for retirement, which is organised through an employer. The employer may have their own scheme, offer…

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Your rights if your employer is insolvent

Your rights if your employer is insolvent

If your employer becomes insolvent you have a number of options open to you. Find out what insolvency is, what to do if you are owed money by an insolvent employer and how insolvency affects your employment status. What is insolvency? Insolvency is where an employer has no money to pay the people they owe in full and they have to make special arrangements to try to meet these debts. Types of insolvency There are…

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What are my rights if Im having a baby?

What are my rights if Im having a baby?

The UK allows parents a legal right to take time off in order to have or to adopt children, and to bring those children up. This was not always the case, and indeed the UK lagged behind much of Europe in the 1980s, with no law allowing parents time off to have children. The legal situation in the UK was clarified in the late 1990s, when the Labour Government introduced the Employment Relations Act 1999…

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Can I take leave as a new father?

Can I take leave as a new father?

Can I take leave as a new father? If your partner is having a baby or you are adopting a child you may be eligible for paternity leave. Paternity leave is time off from work specifically for those in one of these situations. If your partner is having a child or you and your partner are adopting a child you may be eligible for: one or two weeks paid Ordinary Paternity Leave up to 26…

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What are my rights if Im adopting a child?

What are my rights if Im adopting a child?

You have the right to adoption leave and pay if you are: adopting on your own; or a member of a couple adopting together. If you are a couple adopting together, you can choose which of you takes the adoption leave — the other person may be entitled to maternity or paternity leave and pay. To be able to take adoption leave and receive adoption pay you must: be newly matched with a child for…

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Can I change my working arrangements if I have children?

Can I change my working arrangements if I have children?

Can I change my working arrangements if I have children? If you have children there are rights that allow you to adjust your working hours to better suit looking after your child or children. Adjusting your working hours to suitable raising a child or children is called ‘Flexible working’ and all employees have the right to request flexible working arrangements; not just parents and carers. Furthermore, if your child is a new-born or recently adopted,…

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Can I change my working arrangements if I care for an adult?

Can I change my working arrangements if I care for an adult?

If you are an employee who cares for an adult, you also have the right to ask to work to a flexible working pattern. The right is limited: you must have worked for your employer for 26 continuous weeks; and you can only make one application every 12 months. Types of flexible working The sorts of working pattern that you might be able to follow include: annualised hours (calculating the hours you work over a…

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How to resolve a problem at work

How to resolve a problem at work

If you have a problem at work find out about the different ways, both informal and formal, that you could try to help sort things out. Before taking action try to work out what the problem is and make sure it isnt a simple mistake or misunderstanding. Try to sort it out informally first Problems with your employer will probably come under one of two categories, grievances or disciplinaries. Grievances These areconcerns, problems or complaints…

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Can I take time off if I am someones carer?

Can I take time off if I am someones carer?

If you are someone’s carer, you have a right to ‘dependant care leave’. This is ‘reasonable’ unpaid time off to deal with issues to do with people you care for. Unlike other types of leave, you don’t have to have worked for your employer for a minimum period before you can take it. You can take time off if there is an unexpected problem in caring for: your husband, wife or civil partner; your child;…

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Caring for someone while working

Caring for someone while working

If you find yourself caring for someone but need to work at the same time, there are a few things recommended you do. Informing your employer The first thing you should do if you find yourself caring for someone whilst working is to tell your employer. If you are caring for someone with a disability, it is likely unforeseen events can occur that may affect your work or prevent you from getting to work on…

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What if Ive been made redundant?

What if Ive been made redundant?

What is redundancy? Redundancy happens when a company or organisation changes and certain jobs are no longer needed. Those that lose their job in this way are made redundant. What can I do if I don’t think I deserved to be made redundant? Sometimes when someone is made redundant it could be considered unfair dismissal and you may be able to take your former employer to court. For example, if your employer makes you redundant…

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Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service)

Acas (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service)

The Advisory Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) is a non-departmental body, predominantly funded by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). Created as a statutory body by the Employment Protection Act 1975, ACAS aims to utilise better employment relations in order to improve workplace institutions and everyday working life. What services does Acas provide? Acas provides its services to individuals, groups of employees and employers. It can assist in terms of preventing problems arising…

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Bringing a claim for wrongful dismissal

Bringing a claim for wrongful dismissal

What is wrongful dismissal? Wrongful dismissal typically involves an employer dismissing an employee, which in turn breaches the employee’s contract.  Unlike unfair dismissal, which is based solely on statutory rights, wrongful dismissal is a cause of action that is founded not only on statute, but also on contract law. An example of wrongful dismissal is when an employer ends an employee’s contract without giving them the proper notice. Although the notice period is agreed by…

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Caring and your pension

Caring and your pension

If you are a carer and find you are not earning enough to pay for National Insurance contributions, you may still qualify for an additional State Pension or National Insurance Credits. Carer’s Credit To qualify for a state pension a person must have worked and made National Insurance contributions for 30 years. If a person has worked some of those 30 years but not all, then they are entitled to a state pension that corresponds…

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What if Ive been discriminated against?

What if Ive been discriminated against?

What is discrimination? Any situation where you have been treated differently because of your gender, marital status, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion, believes, or age can be considered discrimination. What kinds of discrimination are there if it happens at work? There are two kinds of discrimination that can occur while you are at work: Direct discrimination – Where you have treated less favourably due to gender, marital status, race, disability, sexual orientation, religion, believes, or…

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Zero hour contracts

Zero hour contracts

What are zero-hour contracts? Zero hour contracts are contracts where there is no minimum weekly hours specified. A zero-hours contract may have you working any or no hours each week.  Person with a zero-hours contract usually means there is no obligation for employers to offer work or for works to accept it. Why would I be offered a zero-hours contract? You may be offered a zero-hours contract if your employer does not need you to…

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What are my rights if I work part-time?

What are my rights if I work part-time?

What are my rights as a part-time worker? Just like full-time workers, part-time workers’ rights are protected by the law.  Am I a part-time worker? If you work fewer hours than a full-time worker then you can be considered part-time. However, there is no specific number of hours that defines a full-time worker and it is likely you can find out whether you are a part-time or full-time worker via your contract or job description. …

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Do I need a written contract of employment?

Do I need a written contract of employment?

A written contract of employment is important because it protects you as a worker and clearly states what you can expect from your employer. While it is not always essential to have an employment contract in writing – a verbal agreement can still be legally valid – it is far better for you to have an employment contract in writing. It is a legal requirement for and employer to give their employees a ‘Written Statement…

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Unfair dismissal

Unfair dismissal

If you feel your employer ended your employment unfairly, either because of the reason why you were dismissed, or the process they used, then you may have been unfairly dismissed and might be able to complain to an Employment Tribunal (or Industrial Tribunal in Northern Ireland). What is unfair dismissal There are several ways your dismissal could be unfair: your employer does not have a fair reason for dismissing you (eg if there was nothing…

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Discrimination against fixed-term employees

Discrimination against fixed-term employees

The Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002 prohibit an employer treating a fixed-term employee less favourably than a comparable permanent employee, unless the treatment can be objectively justified. These regulations impact areas such as: rates of pay; training; access to occupational/company pension schemes; holiday entitlement; maternity/paternity leave; sick pay; employment opportunities; protection against redundancy or dismissal. Do I qualify as a fixed-term employee? A fixed-term employee is someone who works under a…

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Employment Tribunals: an introduction

Employment Tribunals: an introduction

Employment Tribunals deal with legal disputes in the workplace. Before applying to an Employment Tribunal, find out what they involve, whether you can make a claim, and where to get help and advice. What is an Employment Tribunal? Guidance is also available in Braille, on audio tape, in large print, on disk and in other languages Call 0845 7959 775 Find an Employment Tribunal office Employment Tribunals hear cases involving employment disputes which have not…

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Collective agreements and collective bargaining

Collective agreements and collective bargaining

One of the main aims of a trade union is to negotiate with employers about matters affecting their members and other employees. These negotiations are known as ‘collective bargaining’. Find out how collective bargaining works and what impacts collective agreements could have on you. Collective bargaining Where a trade union and an employer agree to bargain about terms and conditions, the employer is said to recognise the trade union. Once a trade union is recognised…

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What is the least I should be paid?

What is the least I should be paid?

What is the least I should be paid? The national minimum wage is the lowest you can be paid by an employer in the UK. The amount varies dependent on your age and situation. The follow are the current minimum wages for 2014: if you are 21 or over the national minimum wage is £6.50 per hour if you are 18 to 20 the national minimum wage is £5.13 per hour if you are under…

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Working part-time after you retire

Working part-time after you retire

Reaching State Pension age doesn’t mean you have to give up work – paid or voluntary. You can choose to keep on working while taking your State Pension entitlement, or delay your claim and get paid more later on. The government also offers schemes and incentives to help you find work. Tax on part-time work and other income Income you receive from part-time work in retirement counts as ‘taxable income’. This is a long with…

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What to do if you are unfairly dismissed

What to do if you are unfairly dismissed

If you feel you have been unfairly dismissed by your employer, you should try appealing under your employer’s dismissal or disciplinary procedures. If this does not work, then you may be able to make an appeal to an Employment Tribunal (Industrial Tribunal in Northern Ireland). Resolving the problem with your employer Before making a formal complaint for unfair dismissalyou should try and resolve the reasons for your dismissal with your employer. You and your employer…

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Discrimination against part-time workers

Discrimination against part-time workers

The Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000 prohibit an employer treating part-time workers less favourably in their contractual terms and conditions than comparable full-time workers, unless different treatment can be justified on objective grounds. Do I qualify as a part-time worker? The statutory definition of a part-time worker is rather broad. It encompasses any worker paid by reference to the time they work and, having regard to the employer’s dealings with other…

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Your Employment Tribunal hearing

Your Employment Tribunal hearing

The employment tribunal is the court of law where many cases relating to employment law and employment matters are heard. If you have a dispute at work, or feel that a grievance you have raised has not been dealt with properly, then you may find yourself taking your case to an employment tribunal. Employment tribunals are very much a last resort in employment law, although that doesn’t necessarily mean you must exhaust all other avenues…

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Trade union representatives

Trade union representatives

If your employer deals with trade unions, you may be represented in your workplace by colleagues who are trade union representatives. You may even wish to become a representative and talk to your employer on behalf of your colleagues. What is a trade union representative? A trade union representative (rep) is a member of a trade union who represents their work colleagues in dealings with an employer. They often provide advice on employment matters directly…

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How many hours can my employer make me work?

How many hours can my employer make me work?

Working hours are often a contentious issue in employment. Although many employees work a standard 40-hour working week, many are asked to work longer hours in order to satisfy demand or cope with short staffing. The law aims to protect employees from having to work excessive hours, which can be dangerous to the health and wellbeing of the workforce. The European Working Time Directive (2003/88/EC) states that workers should be entitled to work no more…

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Can my employer force me to retire?

Can my employer force me to retire?

Recent legislation has removed the right for your employer to be able to force you to retire when you reach the age of 65. Previously, so long as they followed a certain set procedure your employer could make you retire when you reached the age of 65 (known as the default retirement age) regardless of the job you were doing or whether you wanted to stay. Why did the law change? The reasoning for this…

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Instant dismissals

Instant dismissals

If your employer is dismissing you from your job then there are certain procedures they should follow. In some cases your employer might be able to instantly dismiss you without going through the normal disciplinary procedures. What is instant dismissal? If your employer instantly dismisses you without making any investigation into the reasons why you are being dismissed, the circumstances are nearly always considered unfair. An example of an unfair dismissal could be where a…

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Discrimination because of trade union membership or activities

Discrimination because of trade union membership or activities

The Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (‘TULRA’) forbids employers refusing to employ someone or treating them unfairly because of trade union membership or participation in trade union activities, or conversely because they refuse to join a trade union or eschew trade union activities. Refusal of employment A court or tribunal will deem that you have been refused employment if a prospective employer or an agent acting on their behalf: refuses or deliberately…

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Constructive dismissal FAQs

Constructive dismissal FAQs

This article answers some frequently asked questions about constructive dismissal. To find out how to claim constructive dismissal, click here. What is constructive dismissal? Constructive dismissal is a term used when an employee is not formally dismissed by their employer, but is forced to resign because of their employer’s unlawful behavior. In order to pursue a claim for constructive dismissal, you must show that: your employer committed a serious breach of your employment contract; you…

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Making a claim to an Employment Tribunal

Making a claim to an Employment Tribunal

If you have a problem at work that you can’t sort out, you might be thinking about making a claim to an Employment Tribunal. Find out what to do to make a claim and where to send the claim form. Before making a claim Before you make a claim, it will be helpful to seek specialist advice, particularly about: the tribunal process the kind of evidence you might have to present to support your claim…

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Trade union recognition

Trade union recognition

When a trade union and an employer agree to bargain about employment terms and conditions, the employer is said to recognise the trade union. Find out what it means if your workplace has a recognised trade union. The role of a recognised trade union A recognised trade union represents workers in negotiations with their employer. These negotiations will usually centre on workers terms and conditions. When an employer recognises a trade union, it will be…

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What should I do if I have a problem at work?

What should I do if I have a problem at work?

What are my options if I am unhappy about something at work? If an employee has concerns about something at work, they should always try to communicate with the offending person(s) – be they an employer or a colleague. For maximum legal protection to be afforded to an employee, they are required to act quickly. Failing to do so could mean that an employee is deemed to have accepted their working conditions (however unfavourable they…

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Retirement age

Retirement age

These days, for most people, the decision of when to retire is a personal choice, but this hasn’t always been the case. This article explains why the default retirement age was abolished and what retirement age means today. What is the ‘Default Retirement Age’? The ‘Default Retirement Age’ (DRA) came into effect in 2006. The DRA gave employers the power to force employees into retirement at the age of 65. Employees could ask to continue…

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Unfair constructive dismissal

Unfair constructive dismissal

You may be able to claim unfair constructive dismissal if you are forced to resign because of your employer’s unlawful behavior. In order to pursue a claim, you must show that: your employer committed a serious breach of your employment contract; you did not accept the breach; and you felt forced to resign because of that breach. 1. Serious breach of your employment contract a. Examples of serious breaches of contract Examples of serious breaches…

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Positive discrimination

Positive discrimination

Positive discrimination is the process of giving preferential treatment, especially in employment, to minority groups of society that have been prejudiced against in the past. It should be noted that ‘preferential treatment’ does not mean that these individuals will automatically be preferred to another candidate, but rather should two candidates be deemed a similar level, the individual from the minority group will be preferred. For example, should two candidates who are equally matched in skills…

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Constructive dismissal

Constructive dismissal

Constructive dismissal is when an employee is forced to quit their job against their will because of their employer’s conduct. Find out what you can do if you feel that you have to leave your job. What is constructive dismissal? Constructive dismissal is a form of dismissal. If you resign from your job because of your employers behaviour, it may be considered to be constructive dismissal. You would need to show that: Your employer has…

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Giving and receiving a reference

Giving and receiving a reference

For job applicants, it’s essential to know the law on giving and receiving a reference as a good or bad one can make all the difference in an employer’s decision to hire you. Similarly, if you’re an employer or manger asked to give a reference, it’s important to know what your obligations are since you can incur significant liability if you make a mistake. No duty to provide a reference While it’s good practice to…

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Types of trade union representatives

Types of trade union representatives

If you have a problem at work you might need to talk to your most appropriate workplace representative. If you arent sure who the most appropriate representative is, you should talk to your shop steward or branch representative who will normally know. Permanent trade union staff Many trade unions employ paid staff to act as representatives (reps) for employees in the workplace. They often work closely with lay reps (eg shop stewards and other workplace…

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Disability in the workplace – clinically obese

Disability in the workplace – clinically obese

Question: I have been clinically obese all my life; am I able to make my employer make adjustments in the workplace to accommodate me? Answer: In employment law there are rules about what the law counts as a disability, or not. The Discrimination Disability Act (DDA) says that ‘disability’ means a physical or mental impairment, which has a substantial and long-term negative effect on your ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. According to this…

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What if my employer has a problem with me?

What if my employer has a problem with me?

What happens if my employer has a problem with me? If your employer has an issue with an aspect of your work, for example if there are concerns about your performance, attendance or perhaps your conduct at work. Prior to taking any formal action they should investigate the matter to ensure the issues are well-founded. It is likely they will ask you to take part in this investigation, usually in the form of an interview….

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The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS)

The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS)

The Pensions Advisory Service (TPAS) is an independent non-profit organisation which provides free information, advice and guidance on state, company, personal, stakeholder and occupational pensions.  It also helps any member of the public who has a problem, complaint or dispute with their occupational or private pension arrangement. If you would like to contact TPAS their information can be found here: Address 11 Belgrave Road London SW1V 1RB Telephone Numbers (lines are open 9am to 5pm)…

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What rights do people with disabilities have at work?

What rights do people with disabilities have at work?

If you are disabled, the Disability Discrimination Act (or DDA) prevents discrimination against you in all areas of employment. It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a disabled person because they are disabled, in recruitment and selection, during employment and sometimes even after the employment has ended. It is also unlawful for an employer, without justification, to treat a disabled person less favourably at work for a reason related to their disability or…

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What should you do if you feel forced to resign?

What should you do if you feel forced to resign?

Over the past couple of decades employment law has increasingly bestowed more rights on employees to help protect them from losing their job. If you feel under pressure to resign you should contact a solicitor for legal advice immediately. A solicitor will often agree to advise you on a fixed-fee basis and should be able to inform you of your full rights and how to apply them to your specific case. If an employer wishes…

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Pre-employment checks

Pre-employment checks

When you start a new job, your employer may wish to carry out a number of checks. The checks that they carry out could depend on the type of job you are going to do. Find out what kind of checks could be needed. Types of checks An employer may need to carry out certain checks before you start work. Identification documents Before you start working for a new employer they will probably want proof…

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Trade union elections

Trade union elections

Trade unions must by law hold elections for certain senior positions. Many trade unions also hold elections for other positions. Find out how elections are held, what your trade unions responsibilities are and which positions must be filled by election. Statutory elections Trade unions must hold elections to fill the following positions: president (or equivalent) general secretary (or equivalent) members of the executive positions that automatically mean that the holder is a member of the…

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Employment rights and the Disability Discrimination Act

Employment rights and the Disability Discrimination Act

Disabled workers share the same general employment rights as other workers. However, there are also some special rights for disabled people under the Equality Act 2010. Learn more about your rights and the Equality Act 2010. Employers and the Equality Act 2010 Under the Equality Act 2010, it is unlawful for employers to discriminate against disabled people. The disability parts of the act cover: application forms interview arrangements aptitude or proficiency tests job offers terms…

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What if Ive been dismissed unfairly?

What if Ive been dismissed unfairly?

Have I been unfairly dismissed? If you have lost your job and you don’t think your employer had valid grounds for dismissing you, you may have been unfairly dismissed.  Unfair dismissal occurs when your employer either doesn’t have a good reason for dismissing you or they have not followed their formal disciplinary and dismissal process correctly.  For example, unfair dismissal can occur in the following scenarios: you have asked for flexible working you have refused…

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Making a complaint about discrimination

Making a complaint about discrimination

Despite huge advances in equality in modern societies, discrimination remains commonplace in many spheres of day-to-day life. Discrimination means treating another person differently because of an inherent characteristic. Examples of characteristics that form the basis of discrimination include age, gender and sexual orientation, although there are many others. In the UK, many forms of discrimination are outlawed by virtue of European human rights legislation (article 14 and protocol 12), but also due to the Equality…

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Compensation and other remedies for constructive dismissal

Compensation and other remedies for constructive dismissal

There are two remedies available for constructive dismissal: re-employment; and/or compensation. 1. Re-employment If you claim unfair constructive dismissal and you want your old job back, you can ask for reinstatement. Or you can ask for re-engagement, which means a different job with the same or an associated employer. Before a tribunal/court orders reinstatement or re-engagement, it will weigh and balance the following factors: The employee’s wishes: the court/tribunal will not order either remedy unless…

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References and job offers

References and job offers

References are used by employers to find out if you are suitable for a job and are a reliable employee. Before you accept a job offer make sure you know your rights and what a prospective employer expects of you. References Does your employer have to give you a reference? If you want to leave your job you’ll probably want a reference. It’s good practice for your employer to give one, but they don’t have…

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Trade union ballots

Trade union ballots

All trade unions have systems to involve their members in decision-making. These can involve the holding of ballots and elections to measure opinion among members. In some cases trade unions are required by law to ballot their members. The result of the ballot decides what happens. Statutory ballots There are three circumstances where the law says that a trade union must ballot all of its members. These are: in advance of a merger with another…

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Sexual orientation discrimination

Sexual orientation discrimination

It is against the law for your employer to discriminate against, victimise or harass you because of your sexual orientation, or your perceived sexual orientation. Find out about your rights and what to do if you are treated unfairly because of your sexuality. Protection from discrimination You are protected against sexual orientationdiscrimination if: you are lesbian, gay, bisexual or heterosexual people think you are gay, lesbian or heterosexual when you are not you have gay…

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Bringing a claim for unfair dismissal

Bringing a claim for unfair dismissal

This article explains what an unfair dismissal is and how you can bring a claim against one. Fair and unfair dismissal Dismissal from employment may be fair or unfair, depending on the circumstances in which it occurs. ‘Unfair dismissal’ is when the employer does not: a) have a good reason for dismissing the employee; or b) follow the company’s formal disciplinary or dismissal process. Remedies for unfair dismissal In the event of a successful claim…

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Sex discrimination and equal pay

Sex discrimination and equal pay

Sex discrimination occurs when an employer treats an applicant or employee different because of their gender and is covered by the Equality Act, 2010. Discrimination of this nature is illegal and if you feel you been discriminated against because of your gender there are courses of action available to you.  Types of sex discrimination There are four types of discrimination covered by the law. Victimisation – when an employee is treated unfairly because of a…

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How to claim constructive dismissal

How to claim constructive dismissal

You may be able to claim constructive dismissal if you are forced to resign because of your employer’s unlawful behaviour. In order to pursue a claim for constructive dismissal, you must show that: 1. your employer committed a serious breach of your employment contract; 2. you did not accept the breach; and 3. you felt forced to resign because of that breach. To find a solicitor to discuss whether you might have a case for…

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Voting in trade union elections

Voting in trade union elections

All trade unions involve their members in running trade union affairs, often by selecting individuals who take official positions within the trade union. These can either be local (eg shop stewards or branch secretaries), regional or national (eg members of the regional or national executives of the trade union). Balloting trade union members When it comes to determining the method of selecting individuals to to fill the most senior positions in trade unions, the law…

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Religion or belief discrimination

Religion or belief discrimination

Discrimination occurs whenever someone treats someone else differently because of a characteristic or opinion of that other person. Discrimination can take many forms and can be driven by many different prejudices, including racial prejudice, sexual orientation or gender prejudice and prejudice based on religion or beliefs. Discrimination can take many forms. At one level it might mean treating someone less favourably, perhaps by not offering a job or a promotion. At another level it might…

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Trade union political funds

Trade union political funds

Some trade unions maintain a political fund. This is a separate account which the trade union can use to provide financial support for a political party. For example, they could donate to a party or particular politician, produce leaflets in support at an election, or support party conference costs. Political funds Trade unions may have an interest in government policies or other issues of the day. It isnot unusual for trade unions to campaign in…

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Should I resign and claim constructive dismissal?

Should I resign and claim constructive dismissal?

If your employer acts unlawfully and commits a serious breach of your employment contract, you may need to resign. In this case, you may have a claim for constructive dismissal. Before resigning, you should be aware that you will need to: prove your employer committed a serious breach of your employment contract; show that you did not accept or waive the breach; and demonstrate that you had no other option but resign. 1. What conduct…

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Am I a worker?

Am I a worker?

What is the legal significance of a person’s employment status? A person’s employment status, under employment law, determines their rights and their employer’s responsibilities. Classifications of employment status include: worker employee self-employed and contractor director office holder What is a ‘worker’? Generally, a person is considered a ‘worker’ if: they have a contract or verbal agreement to personally perform work in exchange for financial gain or a benefit in kind (for example, future work) they…

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Resolving problems with trade unions

Resolving problems with trade unions

If you are looking to make a complaint against a trade union then it is suggested you contact the United Kingdom Certification Officer. What does the Certification Officer do? The Certification Officer has a number of duties and responsibilities. They: certify the independence of trade unions ensure the statutory requirements governing mergers between trade unions and employers’ associations maintain a list of trade unions and employers’ associations oversee the political funds and finances of trade…

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Discrimination in the workplace

Discrimination in the workplace

Discrimination means treating some people differently from others. It isn’t always unlawful – some people are paid different wages depending on their status and skills. Find out about the different types of discrimination. What is discrimination? Equal opportunities law aim to create a ‘level playing field’ so that people are employed, paid, trained and promoted only because of their skills, abilities and how they do their job. Discrimination happens when an employer treats one employee…

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Trade union rules and membership register

Trade union rules and membership register

Find out about a trade union’s duties around their rules and membership register. For example, they have to give a copy of their rules to anyone who asks for one. They must also keep an up-to-date membership register. Trade union rules and membership contract If you join a trade union, you enter into a binding contract with it. That contract is the trade unions rules and sets out the terms and conditions of your membership….

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Constructive dismissal case studies

Constructive dismissal case studies

Case study 1: Discrimination/harassment Gabby pursued her childhood dream and joined the fire service. After a period of training she was assigned to a small rural fire station. Her watch manager Julian resented having a woman assigned to his team and he singled her out for additional cleaning and administrative duties. He also banned her from driving the station’s fire engine (commenting “women drivers should not be allowed on the road”) and made disparaging, sometimes…

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What are my rights as a worker?

What are my rights as a worker?

As a worker there are certain rights that you are entitled to. Read on to learn more about what some of these rights are. What is the difference between my contractual rights and statutory rights in an employment law context? When an employee enters into an employment contract with an employer, they automatically have conferred on them: 1. ‘contractual rights’, as laid out in their contract of employment 2. ‘statutory rights’, which are rights provided…

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Unfair dismissal FAQs

Unfair dismissal FAQs

What is unfair dismissal? Dismissal can be unfair for a variety of reasons. For example, your employer may lack a fair reason for dismissing you; your employer may fail to follow the correct dismissal process; or your employer may dismiss you for an automatically unfair reason. What are fair grounds for dismissal? If you pursue a claim for unfair dismissal, your employer has the burden of showing your dismissal was based on one of six…

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Transgender discrimination and the law

Transgender discrimination and the law

There is a large amount of legislation in England and Wales that protects individuals’ rights not to be discriminated against. If you feel you are being unlawfully discriminated against for any particular reason you should contact a local solicitor for specific legal advice. Types of discrimination Discrimination usually takes one of four forms: Direct discrimination – This is when two or more people are in the same circumstances and yet one person is treated differently…

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Trade union finances and accounting records

Trade union finances and accounting records

Trade unions have certain rules they must meet over their finances and accounting records. Find out about the right of trade union members to be sent and have access to some of a trade union’s finance and accounting records. Duty to keep accounting records A trade union must keep proper accounting records of its finances. They must have a system of controlling their records,cash holdings,receipts and payments. An audited set of financial records must bepart…

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What are my rights as an employee?

What are my rights as an employee?

Employees have rights and many of these rights are legally protected, meaning all employees have recourse to the law to ensure those rights are observed, and that they receive compensation or some other form of redress when they are not. Some employee rights are statutory, this means they are given by the law of the UK and apply to all employees. Other rights are contractual, which means they are given by your particular employment contract….

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Fair reasons for dismissal

Fair reasons for dismissal

Dismissal from a job is often difficult, and usually comes with disappointment, anger or outrage, and worry about the future, whether another job will be found quickly and the financial uncertainty that comes with the loss of a regular income. Dismissal from a job can be for many reasons. Often the reason behind the dismissal will affect how you feel and what happens next. If you believe that what has happened was justified, or if…

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Overview of discrimination law

Overview of discrimination law

It is unlawful to discriminate against a person at work or in employment services on the following grounds: age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy and maternity; race, caste, ethnicity, national origin or skin colour; religion or belief; sex; sexual orientation; part-time work; fixed-term work; trade union membership or activities. Equality Act 2010 The Equality Act harmonises discrimination law for the following ‘protected characteristics’: age; disability; gender reassignment; marriage and civil partnership; pregnancy…

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Time off for trade union duties and activities

Time off for trade union duties and activities

If your employer recognises the trade union you are a member of, you have the right to take a reasonable amount of time off for trade union activities. If you are a representative, you may have the right to take a reasonable amount of time for some of your duties. Entitlement to time off You are entitled to reasonable time off without pay to take part in trade union activities if you are a member…

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Health and safety representatives

Health and safety representatives

Your employer has a duty to consult all staff about health and safety issues in the workplace. They do this by either talking direct to employees or to a safety representative acting on behalf of the employees. Rights and functions of safety representatives If your employer recognises a trade union and the union has appointed a safety representative (rep), your employer must consult the safety rep. If there is no recognised union, your employer must…

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Calculating holiday entitlement

Calculating holiday entitlement

Calculating holiday entitlement Holiday is one of the few employment benefits enjoyed by almost all workers in the UK. The right to paid time off for holiday accrues in almost all circumstances, and paid holiday features in full time, part time and even temporary contracts. Holiday pay, or annual leave, is a legal employment benefit in many countries around the world. In the European Union countries are free to determine the amount of paid holiday…

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Transfers of insolvent businesses – employee rights

Transfers of insolvent businesses – employee rights

If your employer is insolvent and their business is being transferred or taken over by another company, your employment rights might be protected, depending on the type of insolvency proceeding. There are some differences to the protections offered during a normal transfer. Employment protection during insolvency If your employer is insolvent and they are closing the business, selling the assets and distributing the proceeds to creditors your employment rights will probably not be protected during…

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Continuous employment

Continuous employment

Many of your employment rights only apply if you have a minimum period of continuous employment. Continuous employment usually means working for the same employer without a break, however there are exceptions to this. What continuous employment means Continuous employment usually means working for the same employer without a break. Absence from work due toany of the following counts as continuous employment, provided your employment contract continues throughout: sickness maternity leave paternity leave adoption leave…

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Working time limits (the 48-hour week)

Working time limits (the 48-hour week)

Find out about your right to not have to work more than 48 hours a week on average, unless you choose to or work in a sector with its own rules. Your normal working hours should be set out in your employment contract or written statement of employment particulars. The weekly maximum working hours Usually adult workers cannot be forced to work more than 48 hours a week on average – this is normally averaged…

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Types of information and consultation arrangements

Types of information and consultation arrangements

If you have the right to be informed and consulted about important workplace issues, you may have an information and consultation agreement in place with your employer. It could cover the performance of the business, expected levels of employment in the future or changes in business direction. What are the types of agreement? There are three types of information and consultation (I&C) agreement: pre-existing agreements – if your employer already has arrangements in place negotiated…

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Workplace stress

Workplace stress

One in five people suffers from workplace stress, with half a million people reporting they have become ill as a result. This article looks at the causes and remedies of stress and explains your rights. What is stress? If you have a job that challenges you, you should expect to feel some pressure at work. However, when that pressure is excessive and you suffer an adverse reaction to it, then it has become stress. Stress…

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Holiday entitlements: the basics

Holiday entitlements: the basics

All workers have a right to at least 5.6 weeks paid annual leave, but you could receive more than that. Your employer can control some things about your holiday, including when you should take it and whether they include bank holidays in your entitlement. The basics of holiday rights There is a minimum right to paid holiday, but your employer may offer more than this. The main things you should know about holiday rights are…

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Basic employment rights guidance in foreign languages

Basic employment rights guidance in foreign languages

Help on employment rights and how to deal with problems at work if you do not speak English as a first language. Help and advice in Arabic, Chinese, Gujarati, Punjabi, Russian, Somali and Urdu. Help with PDF files If you have any problems with the PDF files, try reading the ‘Help with PDF files’ article. Help with PDF files Arabic Help on how to deal with problems at work In Arabic. Download ‘Problems at work?…

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Your employment rights as a volunteer

Your employment rights as a volunteer

Most volunteers don’t have a contract of employment and so don’t have the rights of an ordinary employee or worker. These include the right to a minimum wage, holiday and sick pay, and other statutory rights. Your employment rights If you volunteer, you’re normally told about this in a volunteer agreement. This is usually part of a set of documents, which includes a volunteer policy and voluntary work outlines, like a job description. The volunteer…

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Working at night

Working at night

There is extra legal protection for people classed as night workers. However, there are exceptions that you should be aware of. You can also find out here what to do if you are unhappy with your rights. What is the definition of ‘night time’? Night is generally the period between 11.00 pm and 6.00 am. You can agree with your employer to change the night time period. If you do, then it must be at…

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Information and consultation in multinational companies

Information and consultation in multinational companies

If you work for a multinational company you may have the right to be informed and consulted about important ‘transnational’ workplace issues. Transnational issues are ones that affect your company’s workplaces in more than one country. The right to be represented on a European Works Council You may have rights under the Transnational Information and Consultation of Employees (TICE) Regulations 1999, if you work for a business that is: part of a multinational company operating…

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Industrial action and trade unions

Industrial action and trade unions

Industrial action usually occurs when members of a trade union are involved in a dispute with their employer that cannot be resolved by negotiation. The trade union will ask its members whether they wish to take action over the dispute. Forms of industrial action Workers usually take industrial action by refusing to work altogether or refusing to do work in the way theiremployment contractsays they should. There are two main forms of industrial action: strike…

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Building up and carrying over holiday entitlement

Building up and carrying over holiday entitlement

If you are a worker in the UK you have a statutory right to at least 5.6 weeks paid leave. This comes to 28 days paid holiday if you work five days a week.  Holiday rights You begin accumulating paid leave as soon as you start working; however, there are some aspects of annual leave you may not be aware of: If you are working part-time, you are entitled to annual leave, but this will…

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Permission to work in the UK

Permission to work in the UK

If you want to come to the UK to work you may need to apply for permission under the points-based system. Find out about the different tiers, and what you will need for your application. Applying for a visa Your right to work in the UK will depend on where you are from. Unless you are a British citizen or a citizen of one of the European Economic Area (EEA) countries, you may need a…

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Can my employer legally enforce a dress code?

Can my employer legally enforce a dress code?

An employer can legitimately tell their employees to dress in a certain way at work; indeed, there is nothing to prevent an employer from including an express term in the contract of employment outlining the dress code that employees have to observe. Some may do so for health and safety reasons. However, even if there is no explicit reference to clothing in the contract, employees are still under an implied duty to obey their employer’s…

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Calculating your working time

Calculating your working time

Your employer cannot make you work longer than an average of 48 hours a week. If you work longer, you should discuss with your manager about either reducing your hours or signing an opt-out agreement. The basic calculation To know how long you are working, you need to calculate the number of hours you work each week (including overtime) and then average these hours over a set period. Your average working hours are calculated over…

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Output or piece work

Output or piece work

Almost all workers should be paid the National Minimum Wage, including output workers (often called piece workers). If you are paid for the number of things you make or tasks you do then you are probably an output worker. Output work Output workers, also called piece workers, are paid for the number of things they make (for example, articles of clothing) or tasks they do (for example, filling envelopes). Output workers often work at home…

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Picketing and picket lines

Picketing and picket lines

Picketing is used as a way of increasing support for industrial action. Find out when, where and how it is lawful to do it and what you need to know if you are thinking of joining a picket line or if you want to cross one. Picketing When workers involved in industrial action stage a protest at or near a workplace to increase support for their cause, this is called picketing. Workers who are involved…

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Joining a trade union

Joining a trade union

Find out about what trade unions are and what the benefits of being a trade union member could be. For example, trade unions will try to negotiate with your employer about your employment terms and conditions. What is a trade union? A trade union is an organisation made up ofmembers (a membership-based organisation)and its membership must be made up mainly of workers. One of a trade union’smain aims is to protect and advance the interests…

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Working in another EU Member State

Working in another EU Member State

UK citizens have the right to work in any European Economic Area (EEA) country. You can search for work using the jobs and skills search tool. If your employer sends you abroad to work you are a ‘posted worker’ – find out more about what this means. Right to work in other EU member states As a national of the European Union (EU) or Norway, Iceland or Liechtenstein (EEA countries) you have the right to…

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What is the law on unpaid internships and work experience?

What is the law on unpaid internships and work experience?

Unpaid internships and work experience placements are becoming increasingly sought after, usually by students or those just leaving higher education. They have also become more acceptable and thus offered more widely by a number of organisations. One of the reasons for this has been the increasing number of people graduating from university and the ever-decreasing job opportunities due to the current economic climate. Why do an unpaid internship or work experience? An unpaid internship or…

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