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Breach of Contract – Employer

Breach of Contract – Employer

A contract of employment is a legal agreement made between an employer and employee. A breach occurs when the employer or employee breaks a term of the contract such as an employer not paying wages or an employee not working their agreed hours.

It is recommended that all employees have a written Contract of Employment to clarify what the terms of employment are. A dispute often arises where the terms are ambiguous or have not been drafted properly. Outdated documents can also be problematic and so it is important to keep them periodically under review.

Before pursuing legal action for breach of contract, the parties should seek a resolution between themselves, ideally on an informal basis where possible. In the case of an employee, they may submit a formal grievance where the matter remains unresolved which could also result in a claim for constructive unfair dismissal in certain circumstances.

Where legal action becomes necessary, proceedings can be issued in the civil court or the Employment Tribunal. For claims issued at the Employment Tribunal there is a limit of £25,000 that can be awarded and there are restrictions on the type of claim that can be made. Where a claim is issued at an Employment Tribunal there is a strict time limit of when to do so. There will also be an issue fee and a hearing fee payable.

Before issuing a claim, consideration should be given to the cost and what outcome the party wishes to achieve. In some circumstances, an employer bring a counter claim against the employee.

Some employees will be a member of a trade union and it is advised that they are consulted before taking any action as they could be able to offer legal support and advice, if not, the matter can be discussed with the Citizens Advice Bureau or a solicitor.

If you think there has been a breach of contract, check the terms of a Contract of Employment or similar document to clarify the position. A properly drafted Contract of Employment will often avoid protracted litigation because the terms are clearly outlined and both parties understand the position. Where the problem persists, contact Lanshaws Solicitors on 01159 985245 to find out more.