Can My Employer Do That?

Rights and Responsibilities

Both employers and employees have rights and responsibilities and to behave in such a way so as not to destroy the Trust and Confidence in the employment relationship. Your rights and responsibilities are set out below in more detail.  Your employer has a duty to behave in reasonable and fair way and to ensure they follow the law with regard to your Statutory rights. They cannot make significant changes to certain key aspects of your job such as pay, benefits and location or the tasks you do without your agreement. However, they can make some changes and to understand this better contact our consultants. It has become increasingly difficult for an employee to take action against an unfair employer for lots of reasons. Employees now need 2 years service for most claims in an Employment Tribunal and even if they have this service, they now have to pay unless they, and any partner, are on low incomes with little in the way of savings. There is only one recourse in law for an employee being bullied, if an internal  grievance is either not dealt with or not upheld, and that is to resign and claim constructive unfair dismissal (if they have 2 years service). This is a difficult claim to win.

Can I Claim?

This will depend on the type of contract or terms and conditions which you are engaged under. If you are an employee you have protection in law with regard to your employment or dismissal, subject to certain qualifying provisions. These qualifications vary depending upon the employment right. Workers also have some limited protection but the self-employed do not.

However, all types of engagement, including the self-employed, have protection from being discriminated against by the employer, his employees, his customers and suppliers. Applicants for jobs can also claim discrimination. These claims have no ceiling but are difficult to present and win without legal representation.

There are many combinations of working arrangements and other factors can be considered. The list below sets out the statutory rights applicable to employees, workers and the self-employed. This is a complex area of law and if you are in any doubt you should contact us for advice.

What are my Rights?
Employees are entitled the full range of employment rights; workers have only limited rights.

These come from two sources:

  1. Statutory Rights- these are rights set out in Acts of Parliament and are absolute rights
  2. Common Law Rights – these are rights which are based on the interpretation of the law by the courts and are less certain.

The following are statutory employment rights but some of them require service qualifications.
You have the right to:

  1. Minimum and Equal Pay
  2. Holiday entitlement
  3. Rest breaks and a maximum number of working hours
  4. Sick pay
  5. Redundancy pay
  6. Maternity, Paternity, Adoption Leave and Pay
  7. Family friendly benefits such as
    1. Request for flexible working
    2. Time of for dependants in an emergency
    3. Parental leave
  8. Statutory time off for eg public or trade union duties
  9. Be accompanied at discipline, grievance or dismissal meetings
  10. Not to suffer discrimination, harassment or victimisation or have your human rights breached
  11. A safe and healthy work place
  12. Data Protection
  13. Protection from detriment for a Public Disclosure (Whistleblowing)
  14. Be consulted about redundancy and a transfer of the business you work in (TUPE)
  15. Not to have deductions from pay unless the employer has a contractual right to do so
  16. Not be unfairly or wrongfully dismissed
  17. Limited pension provision (this is currently changing on a phased basis)
  18. Have your contractual terms of employment honoured

Keep your existing terms and conditions if your job transfers to another employer (TUPE)

Common law generally applies to the employment contract such as the right:

  1. To provide work (some limitations)
  2. To be paid
  3. To be reimbursed expenses incurred in carrying out your role
  4. To have a safe working environment

For the employer to behave in such a way as not to destroy the trust and confidence in the working relationship. This is a mutual obligation and applies to employees too.

Your Responsibilities
You have responsibilities as well as rights. These are common law terms in addition to trust and confidence which also apply to employees. These are:

  1. To work loyally and faithfully
  2. To obey reasonable lawful management instructions
  3. To exercise reasonable care and skill in doing your work
  4. To devote the whole of your working time to your employers business.

These terms are often now written into the employment contract but whether written or implied a failure to follow them could result in disciplinary action against you.

Are there any Risks in claiming in Tribunal?
Normally you will not have to pay costs if you lose your claim unless you have been vexatious and pursued a claim that you have been told had no or little prospect of success in which case you may find that you have to pay at least some of the employer’s costs.

Making a Claim
Our guide for employees provides you with the information to assess:

  1. Whether you are eligible to make a claim
  2. What claim(s) you can make
  3. How to make a claim to a tribunal
  4. How to prepare for the tribunal day
  5. How to represent yourself on the day
  6. Some do’s and don’ts in the procedure

Go to our guide by clicking here