The Most Common Employment Contract Disputes
By Jamie Costello, Last updated: 2021-07-12 (originally published on 2020-02-28)
Employment contracts are put in place within businesses to define terms and conditions for employees that work within the business. Written contracts will be issued to employees when they’re in process of being employed in a role within the company.
According to the Employment Rights Act of 1996, it’s the employers given duty that they provide the employee with a written document that outlines terms of their employment within 2 months of their starting date. Yet, even when official documents are issued there can be common contract disputes that arise during employment which can easily lead to internal discussions or even legal action.
So despite a contract being in place, what are common contract disputes that you’re still likely to come across? Here common employment contract disputes that are in place.
This is in fact probably one of the most common disputes within employment law. It can be rather costly and time consuming when an employee has to be dismissed from their role. This is one of the many reasons why contracts are put in place, so employees adhere to the terms of their role.
However, there can be occasions where employees feel their termination from the role has been made wrongfully. Whether they still feel they were in their rights for whatever they were dismissed for or they’ve been dismissed controversially, employees may try to contest the reasons for their dismissal.
Disputes With Wages
Whilst wages would have been agreed beforehand, employees can begin a wage dispute case if they feel an employer has not been compensating them for the time they’ve been working on the job. This can include factors such as overtime and tips that have been earnt. As a regulation, employers should be providing their staff with minimum pay wages.
Another form of wage dispute is in regards to worker misclassification. This can happen when an employer wrongfully declares that a worker is in fact a contractor rather than someone who is employed by the business. This can be extremely detrimental to the worker, particularly with tax issues and benefit payments. This is why it’s important that terms and conditions are agreed via an employee contract beforehand.
Claims of Harassment or Discrimination
Harassment and discrimination in the workplace can be an extremely serious offence. There are currently laws in place to protect workers from discrimination and harassment and is relevant to any employee that works for the business.
Discrimination relates to unfair treatment of an individual based on their age, race, gender, religion, sex, pregnancy, disability or sexuality. It’s unfortunate to think that there can be instances where employers will use this against their employees, but it can happen. So employees can be protected from such cases, there should be internal HR processes within the business that can help with such scenarios. If not, external organisations are present that can help employees to deal with such matters.
Severance agreements are formalities that are outlined in a contract which documents the responsibilities of both parties when a job termination occurs. It’s a form of compensation that’s agreed when contracts include a non-disclosure or non-compete agreement. It’s worth noting that these are subject to litigation so if your company offers this or you’re an employee that’s been offered one, aim to seek legal advice first through litigation solicitors first. This will help you understand what rights you have in place and what complications could arise with the agreement.
Employment law can cover a range of claims that occur between employers and employees. If you feel as though you’ve been wrongfully dismissed or have a dispute in your contract, it’s best to follow your internal processes or seek help from legal professionals who can guide you through the situation.
Jamie Costello is a legal assistant based in Manchester, UK. The topics he writes about varies from business law to dispute resolution. He uses his knowledge from education and working alongside internal litigations solicitors within his role to help collate his articles.
This article does not constitute legal advice.
The opinions expressed in the column above represent the author’s own.