Fixed Costs Employment Law Solicitors for Small Businesses Are you a start-up business or a growing business looking for a cost-effective and affordable employment support service? Do you want to avoid being tied into lengthy contracts where the subscription costs can mount considerably over time? Do you prefer the peace of mind that comes with fixed fees, rather than hourly rates? Do you need someone you can trust to handle everything employee-related for you?
At DSM Legal our services are designed specifically for small businesses.
We are experienced employment law solicitors and and unlike some companies we will not sell you a one-size-fits-all package, much of which you will not use but will still pay for.
For further information call us on 01925 937070 or complete our contact form and we will call you back at a time convenient to you.
At DSM Legal Solicitors, we are dedicated to helping you protect your business and will offer the guidance and support that you need. We work with experienced HR consultants and have access to a team of specialist barristers, so no matter what your requirements - whether drafting a contract of employment or a settlement agreemetn or advising you TUPE or redundancies or restructuring - we are here to help.
Our aim is to take away the hassle of dealing with employee-related issues and to prevent problems arising in the future.
How we can help
Our full law service includes everything from drafting documents which are fully compliant with legislation to helping you defend an employment tribunal claim.
We are aware of the impact a dispute with an employee can have on your business. The time and disruption caused is often disproportionate to the issues and without exception such problems are best dealt with at the earliest opportunity. The solution to what might seem an insurmountable problem to a business owner focused on running their business with the benefit of expert legal advice is often simpler than it might first appear.
Our HR Services
We are committed to helping your business succeed by providing advice and support in all areas of managing your employees.
Essential services include:
Drafting of employee handbooks
Preparation of policies and procedures
Preparation of letters to be sent to employees
Assistance with managing redundancies
Sickness and absence management
Employment Law Services
We will advise you on which elements of our employment and HR support services are essential for your business and when they should be implemented so that you can relax knowing your business is legally compliant.
It may be that you require just one aspect of the service or a combination - it all depends on the size of your business and the stage it is at.
We believe that all businesses should be able to access affordable legal and HR advice and assistance. We are committed to providing small businesses with the same access to employment law resources that larger organisations take for granted.
Our employment law services include:
Managing dismissals effectively
Advising on employment disputes, including disciplinary and grievance matters
Providing specialist HR facilitation of grievance or disciplinary hearings
Advice on redundancy process
Advice on TUPE and/or reorganisation
Advice on dealing with allegations of discrimination and how to avoid them
Legal advice and drafting of settlement agreements
Advice on defending employment tribunal claims
Representation at employment tribunal hearings
We have arrangements with carefully selected barristers to represent your business at tribunal should it ever be necessary to defend an employment tribunal claim. You will meet your barrister in person and have the opportunity to discuss any of your concerns directly - always with our full support.
What are the costs?
We operate on a fixed fee basis so that you never receive an unexpected legal invoice. Our price menu clearly sets out the costs of each service. Please just tell us what you want!
Your requirements may be simple - such as drafting contracts or employee handbooks or you may need more complex advice and assistance in dealing with an issue with an employee.
Whatever the need of your business, we are here to help.
Our commitment to you and your business
We know how important your business is to you and we will listen carefully to your concerns.
We are here whenever you need us and will respond quickly to your queries.
Your business will have the full support of our team - whether that be a solicitor, HR consultant or barrister.
We will advise on our fixed fees in advance - so that you are in control.
We will add value by being proactive. This means advising on simple measures which can be put in place to avoid your business running into problems.
We will provide as little or as much support as you need. Our aim is to reduce the burden of employment law issues that can turn out to be costly, time-consuming and stressful.
Unfair Dismissal Claims
We are experts at advising on unfair dismissal claims. It is a very simple process for an ex-employee to issue a claim in the employment tribunal. Even if you have made someone redundant they can still bring a claim for unfair dismissal if they believe, for example, that they have been unfairly selected. We are here to help reduce the risk of that happening by advising on what steps can be taken to protect your company when dismissing employees.
Whilst in most cases, an employee will need to have two years' continuous service, there are exceptions to this rule. Automatic Unfair Dismissal claims do not require an employee to have been employed for two years.
It should be noted that to bring a discrimination claim it is not necessary to have been employed for a minimum period of time - an employee can bring a claim on day one of their employment.
What Makes a Dismissal Unfair?
Unfair Dismissal has a particular meaning in law. It is a creature of statute and the right to claim unfair dismissal is enshrined in the Employment Rights Act 1996.
An employee can claim unfair dismissal in the employment tribunal if an employer does not have a good reason for dismissing them (substantive unfair dismissal),or does not follow a proper procedure (procedural unfair dismissal).
This is a complex area of law and can be a minefield for businesses. The time and expense of having to defend an unfair dismissal claim which could have been avoided can be astronomical.
Employment Rights Act 1996
The ERA (1996) sets out a number of potentially fair reasons for dismissal, including:
Capability. This could be because an employee is unable to work due to ill health. Care must be taken to ensure that proper procedures are followed if considering dismissing an employee on these grounds as there is the potential for an employee to claim disability discrimination. Other capability reasons may relate to, for example, underperformance.
Conduct. A serious offence such as theft, unauthorised absence or misuse of company property in breach of company policy can lead to summary dismissal (ie instant dismissal) for gross misconduct.
Redundancy. A redundancy dismissal, like any other dismissal, can be unfair. Great care must be taken by an employer to follow a proper and well documented redundancy process. This is where our HR service can prove invaluable.
Contravention of a duty or restriction imposed by or under an enactment. An example of this would be if a delivery driver was convicted of a driving offence which led to a driving ban. In that situation he or she would not be able to do the job.
Some other substantial reason. This can cover a variety of situations, including commercial reasons such as a restructure or reorganisation of the business. However, again, care must be taken to ensure that the correct processes are followed and carefully documented so that a business does not leave itself open to a claim that is is not a SOSR case, but a redundancy for which an employee (if employed for at least two years) should be paid redundancy pay.
Automatic Unfair Dismissal Claims
There are some cases where dismissal is automatically unfair, for example dismissal due to parental leave, maternity leave or time off for dependents. If an Employment Tribunal identifies an automatic unfair dismissal, it can prescribe an uplift of compensation.
It is also important to ensure that the whole dismissal process from start to finish is handled properly and is beyond reproach. If your business does not have proper policies and procedures in place and - just as importantly - does not follow them, then the business is left wide open to the risk of an unfair dismissal claim.
Dealing with Discrimination at Work Claims
It is important to be aware that some actions or words, whilst not deliberately intended to discriminate can have that effect in law. Companies can quite innnocently leave themselves open to allegations of discrimination by not having the correct documentation and support in place. Don't let it happen to your business.
Call us for further information and assistance.
It is unlawful to discriminate against people at work on the grounds of sex, age, disability, race, religion or belief, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender reassignment and marriage or civil partnership. It is supported by the Equality Act 2010 and you can find out more information on ACAS’s website (The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service). www.acas.org.uk
What is Discrimination in the Workplace?
It is illegal for employers to discriminate against an employee because of a protected characteristic - inlcuding Gender, Pregnancy, Disability, Sexual orientation, Gender reassignment, Marriage or civil partnership, Race, Age, Nationality, Religion or belief or Ethnicity.
Something as simple as making a remark in jest which relates to a protected characteristic can land an employer in trouble and lead to an employment tribunal claim.
What to do next
If you have looked at our website and need employment law or HR advice why not contact us for further information? We are always happy to have discuss any concerns you may have.
Our Warrington office is minutes away from Junction 8 of the M62. Email [email protected] for more information. Free parking onsite and disabled access.