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Employment

Breach of Contract
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Dealing with a situation involving breach of contract can be daunting for employees – who may fear they could lose their job, or be penalised in some way, if they complain to their employer about a breach of their contract of employment.

Section 1 of Employment Rights Act 1996 provides that an employer shall give a written statement of particulars to the employee not later than two months after beginning of the employment.

Terms of an employment contract may be set out in writing – or may be implied or included in materials, such as a job description, job advertisement, or in-house job guidelines.

An employment contract might cover any aspect of a job, from the location an employee works at – to holidays, sick pay and any training needed and agreed to.

It is very important that both the employee and their employer understand and agree the terms of the contract.

It is also important to understand that there may be terms implied regarding the contract, even though they are not expressly stated – for example, a duty of trust between employer and employee.

If a dispute arises between an employee and their employer, the contract will usually be the initial focus in any discussions or mediation and the following will be considered:If a dispute arises between an employee and their employer, the contract will usually be the initial focus in any discussions or mediation and the following will be considered:

• Formation of the contract

• Terms of the contract (including implied terms)

• Changes to contractual terms

• Remedies for breach of contract.

Terms of a contract implied rather than stated in writing might include:

• Obedience

• Fidelity

• Working with due diligence and care

• Mutual trust and confidence

• Health and safety

• Redress for grievance

Initially, it is a good idea to try and address any issues with an employer directly before deciding to take legal action and make a claim for breach of contract.

An employee can raise the matter with a line manager – or write to a more senior member of staff such as a director. Approaching a Trade Union representative or staff association at work is also another way to tackle a breach of contract issue.

A matter can also be referred to mediation or an Employment Tribunal if it is not possible to settle the matter directly with an employer.

Workers and employees are entitled to receive the same pay as a colleague doing the same job or work of equivalent value.

This means that men and women doing the same work should be paid equally.

The principle of equal pay was introduced under the Equal Pay Act 1970 and is part of sex discrimination laws. However, there can be many instances where workers are not paid the same amount for work of equivalent value – or where women may receive a lower wage because of factors such as maternity leave or part-time work as a result of childcare responsibilities.

The provisions on equal pay and sex discrimination contained in the Equality Act 2010 were intended to ensure that pay and other terms of employment were non-discriminatory and without any bias, including sex discrimination.

Under the Equality Act, any discrimination with regards to equal pay can be challenged – including discrimination on the grounds of age, race, religion, sexual orientation, or any other discrimination made unlawful by the Equality Act.

Equal pay for men and women is also implied in employment contracts as a result of the Act – and equal pay claims may also involve human rights legislation.

In any claim, it is likely that an employer will have to explain the reasons for not paying employees equal pay.

A comparison will be made with an employee of the opposite sex who does the same job – known as the comparator – which the claimant (ie the person making an equal pay claim) will have to name.

A claim for equal pay will involve proving that the claimant does the same or a job of equivalent value as the comparator – contracts will be compared, as well as factors such as bonus payments or subsidised travel.

Our employment lawyers act on behalf of claimants and respondents in all Employment Tribunal related matters, including equal pay claims.

We can also represent all types of employers, both large and small in defending equal pay claims – as well as representing individual employees and collective employees in matters relating to the Employment Rights Act 1996, Equal Pay Act 1970 and the Equality Act 2010.

Service Fees

We operate a transparent fee scale – and can offer a range of competitively priced funding options for claimants and respondents:

No-win-no-fee.

Damage based fee.

Contingency fee.

Fixed fees (for specific tasks)

Insurance funded cases.

Some cases can also be funded with Home Contents Insurance or Contents/Buildings Insurance, which has additional Employment Protection Cover. We will advise on the best funding option at the initial client meeting.

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