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14 May 2024

Employment

What Does An Employment Solicitor Do?

Employment solicitors give their clients legal advice on workplace-related matters.

If you’re facing issues with employees at your workplace, you may be considering seeking guidance from employment law specialists on the best next steps. 

In brief, an employment solicitor gives clients legal advice regarding workplace-related matters, like contract law or employer responsibilities

These specialists also advise businesses on preventing workplace cases from going to tribunal hearings and preparing cases for court if Employment Tribunals occur. 

Employment Solicitor Areas of Expertise

Employment law solicitors for employers have several areas of expertise, which include:

  1. Advising on disciplinary action
  2. Drafting employment contracts
  3. Advising on Employment Tribunals
  4. Dealing with industrial action and Trade Unions
  5. Restructuring and redundancies

1. Disciplinary Action

Employers need to carry out legal disciplinary procedures to keep the workplace safe and fair for those working within it. 

Disciplinary action may require several formal meetings, along with time-consuming paperwork, so it’s important employers understand how to deal with the process accordingly. 

Employment law solicitors for employers can inform businesses on lawful ways to discipline employees. Whether the matter involves poor performance, misdemeanours, or employee grievances after disciplinary procedures, an employment solicitor will advise to ensure that matters are handled in accordance with good-practice.

2. Drafting Employment Contracts

New staff members or employees taking on new roles in your company should receive a contract of employment. An employment solicitor can advise businesses on proposed employment contracts before new employees receive them. 

They will make sure that the contract follows all legal conditions and carry out a full examination of explicit terms involving confidentiality, termination, restrictive covenants, and intellectual property protection

Employment law is always changing, so if your business is growing and has employment contracts in place already, it’s crucial to review them to avoid costly disputes. All organisations should have, in addition to contracts of employment, have in place policies and procedures in a staff handbook, for example; company rules, disciplinary and grievance procedures, equal opportunities policies and Health & Safety procedures.

Your employment solicitor can check that employment contracts, handbooks, and other policies and procedures, are relevant, up-to-date, and legally compliant. 

You can find out more about these legislation changes with our post on employment law changes in 2024

3. Advising On Employment Tribunals

Employment solicitors can advise on all matters relating to employment tribunals.

The Employment Tribunal is a specialist tribunal that hears claims from employees who believe their employer has treated them unfairly or illegally. 

The main disputes heard at Employment Tribunals involve unfair termination, employment discrimination, and redundancy pay cases. Other complaints include equal pay rights, sexual harassment, and disability discrimination. 

Employment Tribunals can lead to lost time and money for the business facing the claim, while losing tribunal cases can invite damaging press and publicity.  

Employment solicitors aim to protect employers from tribunal claims and can use preventative measures, like mediation, early conciliation, and the use of settlement agreements, to resolve the case before it makes it to court. 

That said, if an Employment Tribunal occurs, employment solicitors will help employers marshall their evidence in order to best present their case and increase their likelihood of tribunal success. 

4. Dealing With Industrial Action and Trade Unions

Prioritising a good relationship with employee representatives and trade unions can be beneficial for a business, but workplace relations may become damaged in certain situations. 

Businesses that are freezing payments, changing ownership, restructuring, or losing employees, should have an industrial relations action plan ready to deal with disputes. 

Some industrial action matters employment solicitors can help employers with include:

  • Creating a custom industrial relations plan for a business
  • Discussions with trade unions threatening industrial action
  • Ensuring that any industrial action is lawful
  • Preparing contingency plans in the event of industrial action
  • Preparing correspondence to employee representatives, trade unions, and employees

Employment solicitors advise businesses from both public and private sectors on industrial action and trade union matters. 

These specialists will have the skills to deliver practical strategies that prevent significant disruption to the business, helping employers maintain good relations with trade unions. 

5. Restructuring and Redundancies

If a job role within a business is no longer needed, an employer may need to make an employee or group of staff members redundant. If this occurs, an employment solicitor can help you follow proper procedures to ensure that any redundancy dismissal cannot be challenged as unfair. 

To show that redundancy dismissals are fair, the employer must show that redundancy is the genuine reason for the employee’s dismissal. They also need to prove they acted fairly, which includes applying fair selection criteria and consulting with staff members before making any definitive decisions. 

Employment law solicitors for employers can assist with changes related to redundancies and restructuring. They will help prepare a plan that follows a practical timetable, warn about possible problems that may arise, and how to deal with these issues if they occur. 

How We Can Help

At Harding Evans, we provide employment law advice to some of the largest businesses across Wales and the UK. 

Our employment solicitors are skilled in a range of employment matters and will deliver a custom approach to all employment disputes. 

If you’re caught in a legal battle with your employees, our employment solicitors will support you and ensure you understand every step of the legal process. 

To discuss your legal needs involving employment law disputes, contact us today or send us an email at hello@hardingevans.com

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