My faith in the legal profession has been fully restored thanks to the service I received…
Helen has unlimited patience and talked me through the options open to me and then using her vast experience brought my situation to a satisfactory conclusion which exceeded all of my expectations.
#1 Legal Expense Insurance
Do not delay in adding legal expense insurance to your household contents insurance. For an average fee of around £30 per annum, this can cover your legal fees for employment or other legal disputes up to £50,000. This funding can prove invaluable to some.
Please note, if you do have legal expense insurance you have a legal right to nominate your preferred adviser regardless of what the policy or insurer says. If you would like to receive more information about this do not hesitate to contact us.
#2 Contracts of Employment
When starting a new job, check over the contract of employment. Specifically, try and negotiate as long a notice period as possible. Also, check the restrictive covenants. If post termination clauses are overly restrictive or unfair raise your concern before signing or agreeing to them otherwise when leaving you could be prevented from accepting your ideal next job. If in any doubt, take advice on them before accepting or resigning.
#3 Follow Your Instincts and Act Immediately
Discuss your problems with your employer as and when they occur.
#4 Communicate with your employer by email
Use emails as a way of recording events, agreements or discussions after the event. A conversation can be denied or misconstrued. Emails can easily be retained for future reference. In the workplace employers are used to receiving emails and therefore receipt of an email may be more acceptable (or subtle) than a formal letter landing on your employer’s desk.
#5 Be careful of your tone in written communication
It is very easy to fire off an email, letter or memo when you are angry, frustrated or stressed. It is important you realise that every piece of communication you have with your employer could be retained or used as evidence if the matter were to progress internally or externally (to an Employment Tribunal). Make sure you read all written communications at least 3 times to ensure it is clear, concise and objective. Try to avoid becoming too personal or over stating or exaggerating events or your feelings. Try and be as measured and objective as possible. Remember an Employment Judge could one day be reading your written communication as a piece of evidence.
#6 Gather Evidence
This is very important. If you are experiencing problems, please keep a diary and retain evidence files which should include not only your diary entries, notes, minutes or phone records, emails or letters. Do not throw this away even if you think the situation has resolved itself. Problems have a habit of reoccurring.
If you are stressed or suffering from an illness and struggling, you should tell your employer. If your employer does not know, they cannot manage you properly.
#8 Medical Advice
If you do not feel well or stressed as a result of your problems, take advice from your doctor. To stay at work if you are not well enough to properly perform can make you vulnerable to doing or saying something you will later regret. If you have company sick pay, you are entitled to use this even if you are subject to investigation or disciplinary proceedings.
#9 Grievance or disciplinary meetings
If you have been invited to a grievance or disciplinary meeting, ensure you are as prepared as you can be. Before any grievance or disciplinary you should make sure you are in receipt of all documentation gathered as part of the investigation. You should read this carefully, request any missing information or documentation and prepare as thorough statement as possible to present at the grievance or disciplinary hearing. If the matter is very serious and could lead to resignation or dismissal you would be well advised getting assistance from us or other lawyers with the drafting of such statements.
Before you resign or write a resignation letter, please take advice. The basis and timing of a resignation is extremely important and can make a real difference to settlement or Employment Tribunal proceedings.
#11 Take legal advice sooner rather than later
As soon as you identify an underlying problem, seek some legal advice. Listening to friends, family or untrained supporters can be confusing and result in misdirection. Friends and family should provide emotional support. Unless they are employment advisers they are not the best people to provide strategic or legal advice.
#12 Choose your Solicitor carefully
Selecting the right solicitor can be a real challenge. There is a misconception that if a firm is big and expensive they are the best option. This is not always case. We recommend employees try and find specialist advisers who are used to or mostly work for employees. We believe working for employees is highly specialised. If you choose the wrong solicitor, this could potentially only serve to increase your stress and stretch your finances.
#13 You Can Change Your Solicitor
If you have taken legal advice and are not happy or comfortable with the adviser you may be well advised to explore alternative representation or a second opinion.