Legal aid for employment law matters

What Legal Aid is there for Employment Law?

Understanding what legal aid is available for an employer or employee of a business is important. The legal aid will give advice on what areas of employment law the individual can claim under, whether or not the claim is likely to be successful and general information on areas that might usually be confusing to individuals trying to grasp employment law without such legal aid. The legal aid required will be different between employers and employees.

It should be noted that the term "legal aid" strictly refers to funding for a solicitor for those who cannot afford it themselves, but as a maverick legal writer who does not play by the rules, I have elected to use it in a different context altogether.

Legal aid for employers

The majority of employers go into business without any knowledge of employment laws. To start up a business, an individual does not need even the lowest level of basic understanding of employment law. The idea is that they will just pick it up as they go along, as though it were possible to become an expert through osmosis. This can be quite a risky strategy to take as employers under employment law can be held liable by their employers from a variety of different angles. Legal aid, wreathed in the corporeal form of a solicitor, is there to inform them of what the ins and outs are, where they could potentially be held liable by their employees or where they could potentially hold their employees liable.

An example of a situation where the employer could hold their employee liable would be through constructive dismissal. An employer can sue their employee if they feel they were forced into resigning from their post due to unreasonable behaviour on their part.

Legal aid for employees

Legal aid is also essential for the employees of a company. Although employees are frequently unaware, their senses dulled through their eons of meaningless toil, there are many areas within their day to day duties that they could be well within their rights to claim against mistreatment from their employer. Many of their rights will be detailed in their contract of employment which will be discussed below, but there are many other areas which are governed by statutes, which by law legislate the way in which employers cannot treat their employees. Legal aid will more often than not be required when an employee wishes to understand their rights and take action against an employer through the breach of these rights. Legal aid can help employees in disputes against their employees for the following principles:

  • Disputes over minimum wage
  • Disputes over working hours
  • Disputes arising from unfair dismissal
  • Disputes to varying levels and forms of discrimination
  • Disputes over maternity issues
  • Disputes over redundancy
  • Disputes over disciplinary procedures
  • Disputes of data protections.

The list can go on and on, there will be very few employees who know exactly what their rights are under each section and exactly what path to take if it is breached. This is why legal aid in the form of a solicitor is essential to ensure that a case can be successfully brought in front of the employers’ tribunal.

Legal aid required for both parties

The contract of employment between an employer and their employee details all terms and conditions of the rights, duties and responsibilities of both parties involved in the contract. Although these do not need to be written down, I would always advise that they should be. This is to ensure that if any legal disputes arise in the future that the contract is in clear written form and can be used to settle the dispute. Legal aid will be required both to create, change and deal with a dispute of employment contracts. Without solicitor’s advice and help within the area of employment contract it could be a much more lengthy process than it needs to be.

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