• Doncaster

    01302 327 136
    Mon-Fri 9-5pm

  • Retford

    01777 703 100
    Mon-Fri 9-5pm

  • Worksop

    01909 500 511
    Mon-Fri 9-5pm

  • Clowne

    01246 810 050
    Mon-Fri 9-5pm

  • Rotherham

    01709 375 561
    Mon-Fri 9-5pm


  • Sheffield - Waterthorpe

    0114 251 1702
    Mon-Fri 9-5pm

  • Sheffield - Chapeltown

    0114 246 7609
    Mon-Fri 9-5pm

'Personal Employment' Category Archives

July 17th, 2019

Employment solicitors for employees

Employment law for employeesYou can rely on our employment experts for employees for advice and support in protecting your career and employment rights.

We believe that every employee should have the ability to protect their employment rights and safeguard their career. That’s why we provide employees in need with reliable and sound legal advice regarding employment law.

To ensure that we provide our customers with reliable information on how we can help, we’ve updated our ‘Employment Law for Employees’ page.

On this page, you will find out how we can assist with:

  • Unfair or constructive dismissals
  • Discrimination
  • Redundancy
  • Settlement agreement
  • Change of contractual terms
  • Disciplinary and grievance hearings
  • Breaches of contract
  • Bullying and harassment at work
  • Retirement

Contact Foys Solicitors for employment law advice for employees

For a free initial consultation and a discussion on how our employment law services can help you, call us on 01302 327 136 today. Alternatively, you can fill out our Contact Form or email us at enquiries@foys.co.uk.

January 23rd, 2019

Dealing with workplace stress – Can you take sick leave?

Workplace stress - can you take sick leave?Labour force surveys in 2018 showed that 595,000 workers in the UK suffer from work-related stress, depression or anxiety. If you think that you may be experiencing workplace stress, hear what the employment solicitors at Foys have to say on what your rights are, and what steps you can take with regard to your employer.

What is workplace stress?

While every job comes with some level of pressure, workplace stress is any type of harmful reaction people experience from excessive demands placed on them at work. It can cause mental and physical problems like anxiety, depression, chronic fatigue or insomnia. When employees try to relieve the stress with alcohol, cigarettes, tranquillisers or other drugs, more serious health issues may arise. They may suffer ailments like heart disease or ulcers if the stress persists. Some factors that can trigger workplace stress include:

  • long hours and shift work;
  • lack of control or insecurity;
  • lack of job satisfaction, boredom or isolation;
  • hostile superiors or colleagues;
  • poor working environment such as noise, overcrowding and poor facilities;
  • low pay.

What are your employer’s responsibilities in regard to work stress?

While there is no specific law addressing workplace stress, employers are responsible for the general safety and well-being of their employees at the workplace under the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999 Act as well as under common law. This means that they have an obligation to:

  • identify foreseeable risks to the employee’s health;
  • prevent harm to their health that can be predictably caused by work;
  • consider any physical or mental disability that has a substantial or long-term effect on the employee’s ability to work.

All these legal obligations should cover an employee’s workplace stress problems, but you will need to bring your situation to the attention to your employer as soon as possible. Unless it is obvious, you should not assume that your employer is aware of your difficulties, and this may weaken any claim you may make against them in the future.

Steps you can take to address workplace stress

  • Speak to HR or a line manager. Do keep written or electronic records of your requests, even though you are at an informal stage. This will count towards evidence that you have brought your problem to the employer’s attention.
  • Seek clarification on your exact roles and responsibilities. This will help ascertain whether you are working in excess of the scope that your position calls for.
  • Ask for training or support for your overload at work.
  • See if new channels of communication or reporting structure can be set up. Regular work meetings may help here.
  • Failing all the above, file a formal grievance in accordance to the organisation’s HR policy.
  • Request a flexible working arrangement if this will alleviate your stress at work.

Your rights and remedies under the law:

  • Sick leave – If work stress is negatively affecting your health, you may want to visit a General Practitioner (GP) to apply for sick leave. You are legally entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) for a period of up to 28 weeks from your employer.
  • Personal injury claim – If you can demonstrate that you have suffered a recognised psychiatric illness such as clinical depression, as a result of work stress alone, you may bring a personal injury claim against your employer for failing in its duty of care to provide a safe work environment.
    In the event that you resign from your job as a consequence of workplace stress, you may bring a claim of ‘constructive dismissal’ where the employer was in breach of the terms of contract to provide a safe workplace.
  • Non-work related stress – If the source of your stress comes from outside the workplace, such as relationship problems, bereavement or physical disability, you should notify HR or your line manager. If the stress is serious enough to classify as a “disability”, you may qualify for protection under the Equality Act 2010, where the employer must make reasonable adjustments in the workplace to accommodate your condition.

Foys can help with employment law

If workplace stress takes a heavy toll on your well-being, you may choose to agree on a mutual termination of your employment on suitable financial terms with your employer. It is recommended that you seek professional advice from a qualified employment solicitor such as Foys before taking this step, as you are very likely to be asked to sign a settlement agreement setting out the full terms binding the two parties.

To find out how we can help you, fill out our Online Form – or call your local Foys Solicitors office:

  • Doncaster – 01302 327 136
  • Retford – 01777 703 100
  • Worksop – 01909 500 511
  • Clowne – 01246 810 050
  • Rotherham – 01709 375 561
  • Sheffield (Waterthorpe) – 0114 251 1702
  • Sheffield (Chapeltown) – 0114 246 7609

This post is not legal advice and should not replace professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances. It is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.

January 16th, 2019

Employment Law – Statutory shared parental leave

Parents on shared parental leaveTraditionally, only a mother who has given birth has the option to take paid time off work to look after a newborn. But with Shared Parental Leave (SPL), eligible parents of all newborns and adopted children born or adopted on or after 5 April 2015 can spend quality time with their child in those exciting first few months. Our employment solicitors explain exactly how shared parental leave works.

Understanding shared parental leave

Shared parental leave allows a second person (a married partner, a civil partner or partner to the mother) to share 50 weeks of additional leave, which would have otherwise only be used by the mother as maternity leave.

It is worth mentioning that shared parental leave does not change the existing maternity and paternity leave. For example, it does not replace the two weeks of leave that a mother who has given birth receives following the birth of her child (four weeks for factory workers). It also does not change the one or two weeks’ paid paternity leave. However, it does replace ‘additional’ maternity and paternity leave.

The 50 weeks of shared parental leave – of which 37 weeks is paid – are only applicable to parents who meet the eligibility criteria, and can only be used during the first year of the child’s birth or adoption.

Why does shared parental leave matter?

The law reflects the modern roles of women and mothers, allowing them the choice to return to their careers earlier if they want to, giving the new dads a greater share of childcare. It is designed to let two people ‘take turns’ in looking after a newborn, or helping an adopted child adapt to the new surroundings and familial structure.

At present, the UK government is trying to raise awareness of shared parental leave, as current statistics show that less than 10,000 parents used the scheme in the last tax year. Experts argue that the low uptake is indicative of the gender pay gap. This may be due to many families relying on the higher income of men, which would likely lead to a significant reduction in household income if shared parental leave was used – thus making it an unappealing option when compared to maternity leave.

How it works

The parents are able to split up the 50 weeks of leave and up to 37 weeks of pay between each other in a flexible manner.

For example, a mother may want to return to work after 16 weeks of maternity leave (equating to two mandatory weeks + 14 additional weeks). This would leave 36 weeks of leave which can be shared between the mother and her spouse/partner.

This flexibility allows, for example, the mother to return to work if there is a busy period expected in her workplace without having to worry about the care of the child during that period.

It is worth noting that not all leave has to be taken in one block. Rather, parents can book up to three blocks of leave during the child’s first year – but they must give employers at least eight weeks’ notice before any block of leave to ensure that the request is not rejected.

Eligibility

This is where things can get a bit complicated as there is different criteria for birth parents and adoptive parents.

For birth parents, this gov.uk page lists three scenarios: both parents want to share the SPL and ShPP (Statutory Shared Parental Pay), the mother wants to take the SPL and ShPP, or the mother’s partner/spouse wants to take the SPL and ShPP.

For adoptive parents, they must show that they share responsibility for the child and meet the work and earnings criteria as listed on this gov.uk page.

Self-employed fathers aren’t eligible for shared parental leave. However, a self-employed mother who qualifies for maternity allowance (up to £140.98 a week for 39 weeks) can use the maternity allowance or exchange it for shared parental leave and pay for her employed spouse/partner.

Can your employer refuse your request for shared parental leave?

If you are a new parent and plans to take shared parental leave, you must give your employer eight weeks’ notice. If an employee requests leave for one continuous block or period of time, the employer cannot dispute or deny this – even if that period happens during an inconvenient time for the employer.

However, if an employee requests their leave in multiple blocks (examples: one week in May, two weeks in June and one week in August), the employer can refuse the request and suggest dates that are more suited.

If you feel that you have faced shared parental leave discrimination or have been unfairly dismissed due to shared parental leave, use our free initial consultation to talk to us about your situation today.

Returning to employment after shared parental leave

As an employee, you have the right to return to the job that you have left, although it doesn’t mean that role remains the same. In your absence, the company may make some changes to your role and you may return to a new set of responsibilities.

Contact Foys today

At Foys, our team of employment solicitors have helped many employees with their employment rights throughout South Yorkshire.

Get in touch using our Online Form – or call your local Foys Solicitors office:

  • Doncaster – 01302 327 136
  • Retford – 01777 703 100
  • Worksop – 01909 500 511
  • Clowne – 01246 810 050
  • Rotherham – 01709 375 561
  • Sheffield (Waterthorpe) – 0114 251 1702
  • Sheffield (Chapeltown) – 0114 246 7609

If you liked this, you might also like:

This post is not legal advice and should not replace professional advice tailored to your specific circumstances. It is intended to provide information of general interest about current legal issues.

November 7th, 2018

Is it legal for employers to give a bad reference?

Employer reading a reference

References can make or break an employment opportunity. A good reference can get you into otherwise unattainable positions, but a bad one can seriously hinder your career. But is it legal for an employer to be able to affect your future in this way? The employment law solicitors at Foys Solicitors discuss what you need to know.

The laws behind references

There are relatively few laws regarding the references themselves, considering the impact they can have. Generally, an employer is not obligated to provide information about a former employee’s performance, whether it is good or bad. The exception to this is if the work is in a regulated industry such as financial services, which requires a reference by law.

If your employer does give you a reference, then it must be a fair and accurate representation of your work. As bad references can be detrimental to a career, there is the option of claiming for damages if you believe that your reference is misleading or inaccurate. However, there are several different claims you can make.

Defamation

Defamation is one of the most common claims made in regards to job references, and also one of the most misunderstood. The definition, in a legal sense, amounts to an untrue statement designed to harm the reputation of the target.

Defence against defamation hinges on whether the information was knowingly incorrect and whether or not it was provided with malice, but not necessarily on the actual validity of the information. Defamation is a surprisingly complex law, and before attempting to pursue a defamation case, you should contact our employment solicitors for sound legal advice and to ensure that your claim is worth taking further.

Unfair dismissal

There are cases where employees have been sacked or otherwise made redundant because their employers have been asked for a reference. Usually, this is a sign of the employee leaving for another job, prompting the employers to take the initiative. However, this can amount to unfair dismissal.

There are strict time limits on pursuing these types of claims, and every communication between you and your employer will be taken into account. Therefore, it’s important to start on the right foot by getting in touch with our unfair dismissal solicitors. We’ll help you pursue this case effectively and efficiently.

Negligence

This is based on the fact that your previous employer has failed to take the proper care required to ensure that the reference is written correctly and the information is accurate. If you can prove that this is true and that it has caused damage to your future career as a result, then you have the basis for a negligence claim.

Negligence claims revolve around whether the employer can prove that they have made an effort to ensure that the information is correct. Proving that the reference is false will not necessarily win you the case if the employer demonstrates that they have taken sufficient measures to attempt to keep it truthful.

Call Foys today

Our solicitors are specialists in this field, which is perfect when you consider the complexity of the employment laws you’ll be forced to deal with. We also deal with business employment law, giving us a complete understanding of both sides of the case.

To find out more about how our employment solicitors, fill out our Online Form – or call your local Foys Solicitors office:

  • Doncaster – 01302 327 136
  • Retford – 01777 703 100
  • Worksop – 01909 500 511
  • Clowne – 01246 810 050
  • Rotherham – 01709 375 561
  • Sheffield (Waterthorpe) – 0114 251 1702
  • Sheffield (Chapeltown) – 0114 246 7609

Before you go, take a look at:

October 31st, 2018

Shared Parental Leave: the facts and figures

Paternity LeaveA recent legal case about Shared Parental Pay has thrown some doubts over whether Shared Parental Pay should be enhanced if Maternity Pay is enhanced. With the laws still unclear, it’s led to many couples not knowing what they are entitled to. At Foys, our employment solicitors specialise in cases involving equal pay, and we can show you everything you need to know.

What is Shared Parental Leave?

Shared Parental Leave (SPL) is paid time off work to look after a new child. If you and your partner are either adopting a child or having a baby, then you are permitted to share up to 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of pay between you. This does not replace maternity leave, and most employers will inform you of any interactions between the two types of leave, as well as which one you are using.

To be eligible for Shared Parental Pay (ShPP), you must have been in employment for at least 26 weeks before the 15th week before your child is due. The standard rate of pay is either 90% of your current earnings or £145.18 per week, whichever is lower. Enhanced pay can be offered at the employer’s discretion, and will vary from company to company. Most offer 100% of basic salary, but some may offer other packages such as 50% for a certain number of weeks.

Enhanced SPL vs Enhanced SMP

Offering enhanced pay is at the discretion of the employer with only the Equality Act 2010 as the primary law to protect employees. The recent legal cases have come to public attention because they touch upon possible discrimination. Some employers have offered enhanced pay to the wife of a couple but not to the husband; while this is perfectly legal, it raises the question of whether the company is discriminating against gender.

So far, the court has ruled that it does not constitute as discrimination, as a woman’s health needs require more money than a man’s while raising a child, but this was only after overturning a previous ruling in the ShPP case. There have been similar cases that have gone the other way, and the employment law surrounding this discrimination remains complicated and difficult to prove.

If you believe you’re entitled to enhanced pay, talk to us today. Our employment law team at Foys Solicitors have experience working for both individuals and companies and will advise you on all aspects of such a situation, allowing you to resolve it quickly and efficiently.

Returning to employment

It is illegal for your employer to either dismiss or otherwise make you redundant because you are on maternity leave, and doing so is considered unfair dismissal as well as pregnancy/maternity discrimination. You can still be made redundant while on leave, but the company must prove that the procedure to select you was fair and for alternative reasons.

As an employee, you have a right to return to the job that you left, but this does not mean that the job role has not changed. In your absence, it’s possible for your position in the company to be revised, and you may come back to a different set of responsibilities, albeit with the same pay. You can still claim against this if you feel that the job is no longer a match for your skills, but it’s best to seek the help of an expert before doing so to see if you have a valid case.

Contact Foys today

At Foys, our team of solicitors have many years of experience in dealing with these cases. Contact us today if you feel you’ve been unfairly dismissed or faced parental leave discrimination. Alternatively, you can use our free initial consultation for legal advice on your situation.

Get in touch using our Online Form – or call your local Foys Solicitors office:

  • Doncaster – 01302 327 136
  • Retford – 01777 703 100
  • Worksop – 01909 500 511
  • Clowne – 01246 810 050
  • Rotherham – 01709 375 561
  • Sheffield (Waterthorpe) – 0114 251 1702
  • Sheffield (Chapeltown) – 0114 246 7609

Before you go, take a look at some of our other articles:

October 24th, 2018

Disciplinary hearings: common misunderstandings and what to do

Disciplinary hearing

Disciplinary hearings are often emotionally charged, and as a result, many of the rules and procedures surrounding them are misunderstood. However, it’s vital to follow the correct procedures for the issue to be resolved swiftly and efficiently as deviation by either party can result in a potentially costly court case. The team of employment law experts at Foys can explain some of the facts about disciplinary hearings.

Acas code of practice

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service code of practice sets out guidelines for handling disciplinary procedures informally. Contrary to popular belief, the code itself is not legally binding. However, if the case goes to court, a failure to follow it will be taken into account, potentially adjusting any payouts by up to 25%.

According to the code, an employer should follow several disciplinary steps:

  1. First, a letter will be sent to the employee to clearly state the problem, with full details about what has been done wrong. There should be an opportunity for the employee to respond to this.
  2. A meeting will be held to discuss the issue further. No disciplinary action should be taken before the meeting has occurred.
  3. A disciplinary decision will be reached. Normally, the employee will find out about this in written form soon after the meeting.
  4. After the action has been decided, there should be an opportunity to appeal the decision. The appeal should be done within a reasonable amount of time from the original decision, and be in written form.

Employers should have a written record of disciplinary rules and procedures to deal with employee conduct and performance, and it must be made available to all staff.

Mediation between employees and employee

Often, mediation can be an option when formal disciplinary action is not considered appropriate. However, it is voluntary and must be agreed on by both parties. Furthermore, though the employer can advocate its use, they cannot enforce any form of punishment on the employee for choosing not to use a mediator.

Mediation can only be used where appropriate; it is not a way for managers to shift their responsibility elsewhere. If your manager wishes for you to consider mediation, then it’s worth ensuring that you understand what that includes. A free initial consultation with the mediators at Foys will help you understand when mediation is the right choice.

Suspension and dismissal

Suspension

The purpose of a disciplinary suspension is often misinterpreted. The decision to suspend an employee is often part of the investigation process rather than a punishment, and the reason should be made clear. If you are suspended because an allegation of misconduct has made against you, you are allowed to know the details of the allegation. Suspensions should be kept as brief as possible, and during the period of suspension, the contract of employment and usual pay arrangements will continue.

Dismissal

Employers do not have the right to dismiss you on nothing but their preference. Clear guidelines must have been set out in advance and disciplinary procedures for breaking them detailed. Failure to follow these guidelines gives grounds for an unfair dismissal claim to be made. You can also claim for being unfairly selected for redundancy. If you have worked at that particular workplace for two years or more, you should make sure that the employer followed a fair procedure when making you redundant, and has tried within reason to find you other employment within the company (known as suitable alternative employment). If not, then you have grounds to make an unfair redundancy claim.

Not every eventuality can be prepared for, and there may be cases where your employer is forced to use their discretion to make a decision. In these instances, it can be hard to determine what is considered ‘fair’ practice in the eyes of the law. Consider contacting our employment solicitors to know for certain whether you should pursue the case or not.

Get assistance from Foys

At Foys, our dedicated team of solicitors are experts in untangling the complicated laws surrounding disciplinary tribunals. We can advise you when you have a potential case and what rights you have as an employee.

To find out more about how we can help you get your career back on track, get in touch using our Online Form – or call your local Foys Solicitors office:

  • Doncaster – 01302 327 136
  • Retford – 01777 703 100
  • Worksop – 01909 500 511
  • Clowne – 01246 810 050
  • Rotherham – 01709 375 561
  • Sheffield (Waterthorpe) – 0114 251 1702
  • Sheffield (Chapeltown) – 0114 246 7609

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