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Process of Resolving an Employment Dispute

Employment Dispute

This information is intended to provide a general and generic overview only and is not intended to represent comprehensive legal advice. It should not be relied upon without first obtaining detailed legal advice.

A problem within the workplace can arise for any number of reasons as a consequence of disputes between employers, management and their staff of employees. When disputes do arise within the workplace, they should be resolved promptly to minimise the disruption of other employees as well as ensure the seamless running of a company or business.

The methods by which resolution takes place can vary from workplace to workplace but it is vital to ensure that written procedures and policies are correctly in place so that employees and employers know where they stand in addition to knowing the methods of resolution available to them.

Appraisals and periodic review meetings can also be an excellent way to prevent such workplace issues or problems arising by identifying the problems at an early stage.

While the best case scenario can see disputes resolved through informal meetings, this is unfortunately not always the case, which is often when employers will need to turn to the implemented procedures which is where we at Lanshaws can help you if you’re in the Nottingham, Derby and Leicester area.

Here we break down the dispute process and methods of resolution which should be considered when constructing your own policies and procedures.

Problems that are not addressed

While issues can be resolved informally, this is not always the case in which instance it is beneficial to pursue formal processes which usually take place in accordance with implemented grievance procedures to avoid any further employment issues being created. These include, low morale, declining confidence, health problems, relationship difficulties and more commonly long term absence.

It is important to consider that the longer an employment issue continues, the increased risk there is of damaged relationships as a result of trust and confidence.

Dismissal

At points whereby employment relationships are at breaking point, employees may decide to issue proceedings against employers on grounds which could include but are not limited to unfair dismissal, gross misconduct, performance related issues or discrimination. This can even result in a claim being issued by the employee during the course of their employment.

However, such claims depend on certain factors which include, complaints being made prior to an employment tribunal and time limitations as to when the complaint was made. These factors are fundamental to a case for employment tribunal as it could lead to a case being rejected.

New legislation introduced this year (2014) also created a mandatory requirement that employees must also contact ACAS prior to new claims being issued. ACAS will provide a special number which should be stated at the beginning of the claim. It is advised that both employees and employers seek legal advice prior to this stage.

Employment tribunal

At the point where an employment tribunal is sought, a claim will be issued using a standardised form which should be submitted together with an issue fee. This form will ask for key information related to the claim such as what the claim is for and what the dispute is concerning. Copies will then be distributed to the required parties to allow time for a defence to be built as part of the case.

A series of processes will be undertaken in a step by step process throughout the course of the tribunal which both parties will have to adhere to; these will be clearly stated in a timetable format provided by the tribunal. Such steps and dated deadlines can include details of financial losses being sought and dates for exchanges of documents including witness statements.

We advise that written records are kept throughout all stages of dispute prior to the employment tribunal to ensure maximum precision.

Should the dispute end up progressing to a hearing date, which will allow both the two parties to state their cases, employees will be required to submit a further fee.

Resolving a dispute

It is ideal for workplace disputes to be resolved at an early stage not only to preserve relationships between the two parties but also because to pursue litigation can be a lengthy and expensive process which can often cause distress and upset.

However, where relationships between employers and a member of staff have broken down, negotiations for financial settlement may be preferred. Where these are unsuccessful, employers should invite the employee to enter into a settlement agreement (formerly a Compromise Agreement.)

Settlement agreements (formerly known as compromise agreements)

Settlement agreements, which were formerly referred to as Compromise Agreements are confidential documents which prevent employees from seeking employment rights in consideration of a financial settlement. These are extremely common in disputes and often arise in connection with any type of employment dispute, from redundancy and discrimination right through to absence and grievance.

There is a legal requirement prior to settlement for the employee to take the agreement to an independent advisor or solicitor so that they are aware of their employment rights and understand what they are entering into. An employer will usually make a contribution toward the legal fees incurred as a consequence of this.

As a method of parting company without recourse, this more formal route is often favoured as it is in the best interests of both employees and employers.

This information is intended to provide a general and generic overview only and is not intended to represent comprehensive legal advice. It should not be relied upon without first obtaining detailed legal advice.

If you have any questions or are unsure about anything please give us a call on 01159 985245 if you’re in the Nottingham, Derby, Leicester area