Contracts don’t have to be written down, they can also be made verbally. And a breach of contract can occur regardless of how the contract has been made. Breaches of employment contracts are more common than you might think and employees and employers alike can be left in a difficult situation. Our employment law solicitors in Brighton and Hove will advise you if your employment rights have been left to one side.
What Is a Breach Of Employment Contract?
A breach of employment contract occurs when an employee or employer doesn’t keep to the terms of their contract. They can be small, such as not working the stated number of hours, or more serious, such as dismissing an employee without notice.
Regardless of who has breached the contract, our breach of employment contract solicitors always advise to try and settle matters informally and follow company procedures before raising a claim. This will help save time and money if successful.
What Should I Do If My Employment Contract Is Breached?
As an employee, if your employer breaches your employment contract, your first port of call should always be to make them aware of it and to try and resolve the matter informally. If this doesn’t work, you should then raise a grievance followed potentially by an employment tribunal claim, or breach of employment contract claim.
If you’re unable to resolve the matter informally and need to raise a claim, you should seek legal advice to understand the strength of your claim.
Our breach of employment contract solicitors will help you understand:
The Seriousness Of Your Case
If a serious breach of employment contract has occurred, such as an unlawful reduction in your working hours or your pay has been cut, and this means you have had to resign, you may be eligible to claim for constructive dismissal. Constructive dismissal is extremely difficult to prove, and if going down this route, it’s vital you seek legal advice.
Other kinds of breaches can result in various other claims, for example an employer not giving you notice when making you redundant could be grounds for wrongful or unfair dismissal.
Whether You Have Been Financially Disadvantaged
If you have lost out financially and you have proof, your claim for breach of employment contract could include compensation, or be filed as a claim for an unlawful deduction from wages. This is particularly true for cases where your employer has refused to pay your wages, holiday pay or contractual sick pay.
Where to File Your Claim
If you or your employer have terminated your employment, the likelihood is that it’s best to file your claim at the employment tribunal, with a few exceptions. However, if you’re looking to continue working for your employer, any claims for breach of employment contract must be brought to the county court.
When bringing a claim to employment tribunal, you must ensure you have followed the correct procedure and that your claim is brought within the proper time frame or your claim may be rejected.
First, you must ensure you have contacted ACAS and gone through early conciliation before raising an employment tribunal claim.
Second, you must ensure your claim is brought in time, namely:
Within 3 months less 1 day of your last date of employment for most cases, or;
Within 6 months if raising a claim for redundancy pay or equal pay
If you fail to raise your claim in time, you won’t be able to take it before an employment tribunal. Instead, you will need to file it at county court level and await a hearing date.
When bringing a claim for breach of contract to court rather than tribunal, the claim must be raised within 6 years of the breach of contract. Unlike going to employment tribunal, court also poses the risk that you will have to pay costs towards the other side if you lose.
Why Use a Breach Of Employment Contract Solicitor?
Understanding the strength of your claim and the different employment claims processes is complicated and it’s vital that you seek the advice of a breach of employment contract solicitor at the earliest available opportunity. Failure to do so could not only result in the loss of your job and your ability to be employed in the future, but could have much further reaching consequences.
Furthermore, once you are involved in an employment tribunal or court matter, there are further deadlines to be met and documents to provide which, if missed, can mean your case is thrown out.
Can My Employer Punish Me for Bringing a Claim for Breach Of Employment Contract?
Many employees are understandably worried about the consequences of bringing a claim against their employer, especially if they are still working for them or wish to continue doing so. You may also be relying on colleagues as witnesses to your claim who may fear the repercussions of speaking up.
It’s illegal for an employer to victimise you if you have brought a claim against, or supported someone else’s claim against them. If an employer victimises you in this way, you may be able to raise a claim for discrimination. Our breach of employment contract solicitors can help with this.
However, employers do have the right to raise a counterclaim, which could be for significantly more than the amount you are claiming for. And if the counterclaim is raised in court, you may be liable to pay their expenses if you lose.
How Can Britton and Time Solicitors Help?
If you decide to bring an employment tribunal claim for breach of your employment contract, then our breach of employment contract solicitors can advise and represent you at every stage.
If you want to book an initial consultation with one of our breach of employment contract solicitors then contact us or call us on 01273 726951.