Can you take your employer to court?
As an employee, you have clear legal rights which you can enforce in the courts if you cannot resolve a dispute directly with your employer. Whether you have been subjected to unlawful discrimination, unfairly demoted or made redundant or bullied, the law is on your side and taking your employer to court is a possibility. You and the employer have probably tried to resolve matters but the nature of employment disputes is such that sometimes matters cannot be resolved to everyone’s satisfaction.
Initial steps to take
Legal action should always be a last resort and it is vital to be properly prepared to increase your chances of success. Your employment solicitor will do most of the preparation of your case but you will need to provide them with as much information as possible to enable them to do it, including:
- your written account: if you have kept a diary of what happened, make sure it is as complete as you can before giving it to your lawyer. If you have no diary, provide a comprehensive written account of what went on;
- your employment contract: if you do not have one, a written statement of employment, your offer letter and any other communications between you and the employer about your contractual terms;
- pay slips: pay slips and details of other payments such as bonuses, overtime and commission;
- communications with others: for example, electronic communications and phone messages with your employer, management staff and colleagues that relate to the dispute;
- social media posts: any comments or posts made on social media that could be evidence of, eg. discrimination or bullying; and
- details of any disciplinary action: if you have any documents relating to a formal grievance you have made and resulting disciplinary processes, give these to your solicitor.
How a specialist employment solicitor can help you
Whether you want your old job back or you want to call your employer to account for what has happened to you at work, a specialist employment solicitor is your best chance of getting the result you deserve. Employment law is a complex maze of different laws and regulations which change regularly.
Specialist employment lawyers ensure they stay up to date so they can confidently provide clients with the best legal advice possible. They will carefully analyse the information you provide, identify the legal issues including any procedural breaches on the employer’s part and advise you on your chances of success in court.
If you go ahead, your solicitor can make a formal claim to the Employment Tribunal on your behalf, draft a comprehensive witness statement for you and contact potential witnesses, such as colleagues, who may be willing to provide evidence to support your claim.
A specialist employment solicitor is familiar with the courts and employment tribunals and will be able to guide you throughout proceedings, explaining what happens at each step. If your claim reaches a final hearing you will have to give evidence, but your solicitor will support you in this. However, our aim will be to settle your claim before any final hearing.
If you are worried about a backlash from your employer
Bringing legal action against your employer can be a daunting prospect but the law protects you from being unfairly dismissed or victimised simply because you have brought an employment claim. This means that if you are subsequently dismissed or mistreated you could bring a separate legal action.
Your employer must disclose all relevant evidence and must not stall the process once proceedings have started. Both parties must comply with a strict timetable to enable the claim to be resolved in a timely manner, so you can be confident that your claim will progress properly.
However, you should bear in mind that sensitive information could be brought up by the employer in its defence. That could be your previous employment record which you would rather have remained locked away, or details of previous grievances against you at work if is relevant to the claim. However, your solicitor will protect you from unnecessary disclosures and work hard to ensure your integrity is not undermined during the process.
It is understandable to be concerned about the financial impact of a large compensation on your employer’s business if you win. Your employer will be financially protected against employment claims through indemnity insurance, so you do not need to worry that your employer will be left out of pocket.
Employment tribunal claims can be long and arduous, but you will find the process smoother with a specialist solicitor to represent you. For further information, please contact us on 01732 770660, [email protected] Warners Solicitors has offices in Sevenoaks and Tonbridge, Kent.
This article is for general information only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Please note that the law may have changed since this article was published.