Employment Law UK – A Guide and Free Advice

Employment Law In The UK Explained, What does it cover?

Employment Law covers all aspects of employment as well as the relationship between employees and employers. The law covers what an employee expects from their employers and what employers expect of their employees. It governs employees’ rights in the workplace.

If you believe that your employer is not adhering to the employment law that covers your rights as an employee, you could be entitled to file a claim against them through an employment tribunal. However, there are specific steps you must take beforehand which are detailed in our guide below. To find out more about employment law and unfair dismissals, please click on the Select a Section below.

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Guide to Employment Law UK

Employment Law

Employment Law

Employment Law UK refers to all legal aspects of employment which includes legislation that keep you safe from unfair dismissal and discrimination. It covers your contract of employment, rights, wages, safety in the workplace  as well as responsibilities and obligations in an employer-employee relationship.

It is worth noting that when it comes to employment law solicitors, they typically specialise in employment law for employees, or they are experts in representing employers, but rarely would an employment lawyer specialise in both representing employees and employers.

If you feel that you have been treated unfairly in the workplace, not been paid on a regular basis, have been asked to work unreasonable hours or you have been discriminated against, you could be entitled to file for compensation through an employment tribunal providing you can prove your employer seriously breached your terms of employment. However, there are other reasons why an employer might fall foul of employment law which are detailed in the following section.

To find out how an Advice.co.uk expert who specialises employment law can establish whether you have a case against your employer, please contact us today.

What Does Employment Law Cover?

If you are wondering what aspects of employment, employment law covers, the following list details some examples:

  • Bullying or harassment in the workplace
  • Age discrimination
  • Sex discrimination
  • Being discriminated against for a religious belief
  • Being discriminated against for gender or sexuality
  • Disability
  • Unfair or wrongful dismissal
  • Grievances
  • Contracts of employment
  • Health and safety in the workplace
  • Equal pay
  • Parental leave
  • Minimum wage
  • Working hours
  • Redundancy
  • To protect the rights of employees
  • To protect the rights of employers

The list above provides just some examples of what employment law UK covers, but it covers many more. If you feel you need more advice on your rights as an employee, please contact Advice.co.uk and an expert who specialises in  employment law for employees, will happily listen to your questions before offering free legal advice on how best to proceed.

What is the UK Employment Law Notice Period?

When it comes to a notice period which falls under employment law UK, there are 2 types which are detailed below:

  • Statutory notice period
  • Contractual notice period

Statutory notice refers to a minimum legal notice that can be given to you and employers should typically offer you as their employee the following:

  • 1 week’s notice if you have worked for your employer continuously for 1 month or more but have worked for them from less than 2 years
  • 2 weeks’ notice if you as the employee have been working for an employer continuously for 2 years plus 1 additional weeks’ notice for every year completed on a continuous basis with the maximum being 12 weeks (i.e. if you have worked for an employer continuously for 5 years, you would be entitled to 5 weeks’ notice)

As an employee, you must give your employer at least 1 weeks’ notice if you have worked for them for 1 month and it is worth noting that this minimum is not affected if you have worked for them for a longer period.

Contractual notice is set out by an employer in the terms and conditions of your employment and it can be a longer period than that set out in a statutory notice. For example, an employer might set out in your contract of employment that you must give them 1 months’ notice.

An employer has the right to terminate your employment without giving you any notice for gross misconduct which covers a variety of things some of which are detailed below:

  • Theft
  • Violence
  • Physical abuse
  • Serious breach in health and safety
  • Gross negligence

Your employer should provide a clear description of your gross misconduct in the workplace and they must adhere to a “fair procedure” as they would for any other disciplinary offence.

What about fixed term contracts?

When it comes to fixed term contracts, in general, notice periods do not apply unless a contract is terminated prior to the date it is due to expire in which case a statutory notice should be applied.

If your employer failed to give you a correct notice period, it could be a breach of your employment contract in which case you could be entitled to file a claim for compensation through an employment tribunal. To speak to an Advice.co.uk expert  who specialises in employment law for employees, please call us today.

Am I Protected at Work by Law for Unfair Dismissal?

Employment law UK encompasses unfair dismissal from your job by an employer if they do the following:

  • Dismiss you for no good or valid reason
  • Fail to adhere to a company’s disciplinary process or formal dismissal process (in Northern Ireland: failure to follow statutory minimum dismissal process)

With this said, there are situations where a dismissal may be deemed unfair should you have done the following:

  • You requested flexible working hours
  • You refused to take rest breaks – deemed a refusal to give up working time rights
  • You resigned from your job giving the right notice period
  • You joined a trade union
  • You took part in industrial action (legal) that went on for twelve weeks or less
  • You needed time off work for jury service
  • You requested maternity, paternity or adoption leave
  • You were on maternity, paternity or adoption leave you were entitled to take
  • You attempted to enforce your right to be paid Working Tax Credits
  • You were exposed to wrongdoing at work an example being whistleblowing
  • You were forced into retirement which is referred to as “compulsory retirement – an employer must have a valid reason for forcing an employee into retirement, but this can be challenged through an employment tribunal

When it comes to constructive dismissal, if you have been forced out of your job because of your employer’s unreasonable behaviour, you could be entitled to file for compensation against them. Examples of constructive dismissal are detailed below: 

  • An employer fails to pay you
  • You are suddenly demoted for no good or valid reason
  • You are forced to accept what is considered as being unreasonable changes which includes working hours
  • You are harassed or bullied in the workplace 

It is worth noting that an employer’s breach of your contract could be a series of serious incidents or one single incident all of which adds up to a loss of trust and confidence. ACAS strongly recommends that you try to resolve any issues with an employer first, but if you are unsuccessful, you should then seek legal advice sooner rather than later because of the time limit associated with this type of claim.

However, if you feel you have a strong case for constructive dismissal, it is much wiser to resign from your job straight away because if you don’t, an employer could reasonably argue that you accepted what was being asked of you, how you were treated and their conduct.

To speak to Advice.co.uk about your claim, please call us today.

Can I Claim For Being Unfairly Dismissed From Work Under Employment Law?

Under employment law UK, an employer must have good cause to sack (dismiss) you from your job. All employers can dismiss their employees but should they do so in an “unfair” manner, you would be entitled to challenge an employer’s decision. In order to establish if you were unfairly dismissed, you would need to confirm the following:

  • Your employment status – your employment rights are dependent on whether you are classed as an employee and the length of time you worked for an employer on a continuous basis. The qualifying period is normally 2+ years
  • Whether under the employment law, your dismissal would be deemed unfair

Unfair dismissal employment law is complex and because there is such a short time limit to this type of claim, it is essential to seek legal advice as soon as possible if you plan to begin an action against an employer for unfair dismissal.

There are things you can check to establish if you can challenge an employer’s decision to dismiss you which are detailed below:

  • That your employer terminated your contract with or without notice
  • Your employer refused to renew a fixed-term contract with you
  • Your employer made you redundant and this includes voluntary redundancy
  • Your employer sacked you because you went on strike
  • Your employer prevented you from returning to work following maternity leave

To file a wrongful dismissal claim against your employer, you would need proof that you were dismissed which could be an official letter, email or text message.

If you believe you have a strong constructive dismissal claim against your employer, you should establish the following:

  • Your employer put pressure on you to resign from your job
  • Your employer’s conduct was totally unreasonable which you believe constituted a serious breach of your contract of employment and you found this to be unacceptable

When it comes to automatically unfair dismissal, there are certain reasons why an employer would be at fault for making your leave your job which are detailed below:

  • An “automatically unfair” reason for dismissal
  • Discrimination

Under employment law UK, you have every right to challenge an employer’s decision to dismiss for either of the above reasons. Should you not have a written explanation of why you were dismissed, you should check the following which would establish if your dismissal could be deemed to be an automatically unfair reason:

  • You were on maternity leave or pregnant
  • You requested your legal rights in the workplace an example being to be paid a minimum wage
  • You took out an action because of health and safety issues in the workplace
  • You refused to work on a Sunday (if you work in a betting shop or retail outlet)
  • You are a member of a trade union and take part in any activities which includes official industrial action or you acted as a representative for employees
  • You reported your employer for any wrongdoing (whistleblowing)

Should you have been in continuous work for the same employer for a minimum of 2 years and your job is terminated, it would be deemed automatically unfair for the following reasons:

  • The company/business was taken over by another employer
  • You failed to declare a spent conviction

It is worth noting that under employment law UK, your employer can sack you for any of the above reasons, but it cannot be the reason that they officially dismissed you. Because it can be confusing and complex, it is essential that you seek legal advice when you need to establish if you have a strong case against your employer.

If you feel you have been discriminated against by your employer, you should check the following:

  • You are pregnant or on maternity leave
  • You are from a particular race, ethnicity or country
  • You are married or in a civil partnership
  • You are a man or a woman
  • You are disabled
  • You are a lesbian, gay, bisexual or trans (LGBT)
  • You are seen to be from a specific religion or have a particular set of beliefs
  • You are older or younger than the people you work with 

Again, an employer has the right to dismiss your if you fall into any of the categories above, but it cannot be the main reason for your dismissal.

An employer may not give you an honest reason for why they dismiss you which is why it is always better to see legal advice as soon as possible to establish whether the reason you lost your job was automatically unfair or due to discrimination.

How Do I Start a Claim for Unfair Dismissal?

Before you start a claim, you must “lodge a formal grievance” against your employer which you should do through with (Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service) and you should do this prior to resigning. This gives you an opportunity to settle the dispute with your employer without the need to go before a tribunal. It is a free service offered by ACAS known as an “Early Conciliation Service”. The time you spend negotiating early conciliation does not affect unfair dismissal time limits associated with your claim.

Should your efforts at resolving the dispute through early conciliation fail, you would then be sent an “early conciliation certificate” from ACAS which is used when filing a claim through an employment tribunal.

It is worth noting that if you do not lodge your grievance prior to leaving your job, an employment tribunal could reduce your award among by up to 25%.

However, if the relationship between you, and your employer is so bad that you cannot remain in your job or because you believe you have a constructive dismissal case against them, you do not have to file a grievance which an employment tribunal would take into account when considering the amount you would be awarded.

If you plan to negotiate an “exit” with a lump sum payment and a “job reference”, you should lodge a grievance because it could lead to a better outcome.

To talk to a unfair dismissal expert about employment law UK and how it might affect your case, please call us today bearing in mind that the time limit for unfair dismissal claims is 3 months.

What Can I include in a Claim if I am Unfairly Dismissed under Employment Law?

When it comes to “compensatory awards”, once a tribunal has granted a basic award, they could then deal with these which tend to be that much larger. Under the Employment Right Act, an employment tribunal would take into consideration the consequences of an unfair dismissal action on the part of your employer which are detailed below:

  • Loss of wages – this includes any contractual benefits like a company car, private health insurance and could include non-contractual benefits providing there is reasonable expectation that you were going to receive them
  • Loss of future wages
  • Loss of your statutory rights – you would have unfair dismissal protection or qualify for redundancy payment before 2 years have elapsed
  • Loss of pension
  • Loss of commission/bonus – these could be included even if the payments were discretionary but it was reasonably implied you would receive them

Call us today to find out how an Advice.co.uk unfair dismissal expert can help you calculate the amount of compensation you could be entitled to receive through an employment tribunal.

Unfair Dismissal Compensation Claims Calculator

If you believe you have a case for unfair dismissal, you should seek legal advice as soon as possible because of the short time limit associated with this type of claim. The table below provides information on the amount an employment may award you if your claim is successful.

Basic awards

Maximum that can be awarded in the basic award  
6 April 2018 – 5 April 2019 £15,240
6 April 2017 – 5 April 2018 £14,670
6 April 2016 – 5 April 2017 £14,370
6 April 2015 – 5 April 2016 £14,250
6 April 2014 – 5 April 2015 £13,920

Automatically unfair dismissal awards

 Minimum Award for automatically Unfair Dismissals Maximum Award for Automatically Unfair Dismissals
6 April 2018 – 5 April 2019£6,203£15,240
6 April 2017 – 5 April 2018£5,970£14,670
6 April 2016 – 5 April 2017£5,853£14,370
6 April 2015 – 5 April 2016£5,807£14,250
6 April 2014 – 5 April 2015£5,676£13,920

Compensatory awards

Compensatory Awards  
6 April 2018 – 5 April 2019 £83,682
6 April 2017 – 5 April 2018 £80,541
6 April 2016 – 5 April 2017 £78,962
6 April 2015 – 5 April 2016 £78,335
6 April 2014 – 5 April 2015 £76,574

Additional awards

 Minimum Order for Additional Awards Maximum Order for Additional Awards
6 April 2018 – 5 April 2019 £13,208 £26,416
6 April 2017 – 5 April 2018 £12,714 £25,428
6 April 2016 – 5 April 2017 £12,454 £24,908
6 April 2015 – 5 April 2016 £12,350 £24,700
6 April 2014 – 5 April 2015 £12,064 £24,128

No Win No Fee Solicitors Specialising in Employment Law

Working with a solicitor who specialises in employment law for employees on a No Win No Fee basis allows you to seek legal representation when you need it. It takes all the worry of finding the money to pay for legal advice about employment law UK which for the layman can be a complex affair that bogs you down with complicated legal jargon.

Because employment law is complex and because there is such a short time limit to filing a claim through a tribunal, we always advise our clients to get legal help as soon as possible. With our free initial, no obligation, you can tell us about your case which allows the opportunity of establishing if you have a strong case and what type of claim you should file against an employer on a No Win No Fee basis.

We would ask you to sign a Conditional Fee Agreement which would allow us to begin work on your claim without having to ask for a retainer or upfront fee. We would work with you in contacting all the relevant people and offer advice on the evidence needed to prove your claim in front of a tribunal.

Get in touch today to find out how an employment law for employees expert can walk you through the process of filing a claim through a tribunal.

Why Work With an Advice.co.uk on Your Personal Injury Claim

We are recognised nationwide as being trustworthy, reliable legal advice providers and we offer a free, no obligation, initial consultation to all our clients. This allows you the chance to ask questions about employment law, unfair or constructive dismissal claims and for a specialist unfair dismissal lawyer to assess your case in a first instance.

We would work with you on a No Win No Fee basis, taking all the financial pressure of finding the funds to pay for legal advice when you need it most, off the table. The team of expert solicitors we work with have years of experience in successfully handling this type of claim at employment tribunals and they work hard to ensure you are awarded the level of compensation you rightly deserve. Having signed a Conditional Fee Agreement means you would have nothing to pay if your claim is unsuccessful. We would only deduct the agreed fee directly from the amount you are awarded in a successful claim.

We respect the short time limit associated with employment tribunal claims and offer essential legal advice on how best to proceed whether it’s contacting ACAS, preparing to lodge a grievance or representing you at an employment tribunal.

Call us today to find out how an employment law for employees expert can help establish if you have claim offering essential advice on the type of evidence needed to support an unfair dismissal claim.

Call us Today

To discuss your case with a wrongful dismissal expert, please call Advice.co.uk today on 0161 696 9685.

You can also request a “call back”, just fill out the form provided at the top of the page  and an expert who specialises in employment law for employees will get straight back to you.

Our email address is claims@advice.co.uk and we promise to get back to you asap to discuss your claim and advise you on how best to proceed.

Links to Useful Information

More about unfair and constructive dismissals:

Unfair and constructive dismissals

To find out if you have an unfair dismissal claim, please follow the link below:

Check if your dismissal was fair

To find out what the difference between employment law and personal injury, please follow the link below:

Crossover between personal injury and employment law

To read more about “general legal tests” a tribunal carries out on unfair dismissals, please follow the link below

More about general legal tests