Managing employees can be challenging, but your human resources may determine whether your business sinks or swims, so it’s important that you have the right strategies in place for preventing and handling common human resource (HR) problems. In many ways, engaging a specialist legal service can help your business in this respect.

Legal employment documents

Your business’ employment documents will play a major role in your employee relations. These documents include employment contracts, an employee handbook, and the mandatory written statement which must be provided within two months of each employee’s start date.

  • Written statement of employment: There are strict statutory requirements with respect to the written statement of employment; a lawyer will have an in-depth understanding of these requirements and will see to it that you are compliant with all aspects of drafting and issuing the written statement, avoiding any potential penalties.
  • Employment contracts and handbooks: As for employment contracts and the employee handbook, you can decide what to include depending on the job position in question and based on your business’ needs. However, there are provisions that should be included in both documents in order to limit your liability as an employer, to minimise the risk of unfair dismissal claims by employees, and to protect your business’ sensitive information and trade secrets. A lawyer will be instrumental in drafting employee contracts and handbooks to this end, and will also prepare the documents to be easily enforceable in Court if necessary.

Internal conflict resolution

In cases of misconduct or poor performance on the part of an employee, disciplinary action may be needed, including a demotion or dismissal. In such circumstances, lawyers will ensure that you adhere to Acas’ statutory code of practice in following disciplinary procedures so that you avoid any potential lawsuit, and will also ensure that you follow the clear disciplinary procedures outlined in your employee’s contract and employee handbook.

Should the situation become acrimonious in spite of your best efforts, a lawyer will advise as to what measures should be taken under UK employment law, and will seek the least contentious resolution to the dispute.

Restructuring advice

If you’re restructuring your business, whether you’re downsizing, hiring more employees, or changing your general company set-up, the only way to avoid legal complaints and possible disputes is by complying with all statutory requirements and seeking legal advice from a specialist law firm to ensure that all changes are carried out fairly. This will prove particularly important where employees are going to be made redundant or dismissed, as unfair dismissal claims can easily arise. Even recruiting new employees will require compliance with employment legislation to avoid claims such as discrimination, for example, making legal counsel essential at every phase of the restructuring process.

Representation before an employment tribunal

If an employee conflict cannot be resolved internally or through mediation, you may be brought before an employment tribunal because of an alleged breach of contract, or on claims of unfair treatment. A law firm with experience in dispute resolution and employment law will be able to defend you and your business, not only by drawing on the terms of your business’ legal employment documents, but also by gaining an in-depth understanding of both sides of the story. By having a better understanding of the employee’s grievance, a skilled lawyer will have a better chance of settling or winning your case.

At The London Law Practice, we specialise in all aspects of company and employment law, as well as dispute resolution. For more information or to book a free initial consultation, contact us today.


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