All employees will have a contract of employment, whether or not any terms are put in writing. However, every employee should receive, in writing, the basic terms and conditions of their employment setting out certain terms including the names of both the employee and employer, the employee’s pay, and holiday entitlement.
Employment contracts record the agreement between the employee and employer. They cannot, however, override your statutory employment rights such as your right to minimum wage, maternity pay, or the right to rest breaks.
Even where a contract is written down, they are often regarded as a ‘basic’ contract and entered into without much thought. Many employees do not actually know what is included in their contract of employment. However, employment contracts can often include obligations on employees which they ought to fully understand.
For senior employees, executives, or directors these obligations can be wide-ranging and onerous, for example, restrictive covenants which restrict your right to work following the termination of your employment. Much post-termination litigation, particularly in the County Courts or High Courts relates to these obligations. At Allan Janes we have substantial experience dealing with such post-termination litigation including bringing and defending injunctions relating to employment contracts. This type of litigation would, in many cases, have been avoided had the employee really considered the contract that they were entering into at the start of their employment.
We are able to review employment contracts and advise on the effect of the agreement you are entering into, and where appropriate, can assist you in negotiating terms with your employer.
Breach of contract
If your employer has breached your contract of employment, you may be entitled to bring a claim against them - either in the Employment Tribunal or in the civil courts.
A breach of contract may take many different forms, and can relate either to the ‘express’ terms of your contract (which are recorded in writing) or the ‘implied’ terms which are imposed by law (such as the duty to maintain your health and safety or the duty to pay).
If your employer commits a fundamental breach of your employment contract, you may have be entitled to leave your employment and bring a claim for unfair dismissal and/or breach of contract. Many employees do not know whether an employer’s breach of contract is sufficiently serious to be a ‘fundamental’ breach – or that a fundamental breach of contract can be the last straw in a serious of breaches which together are fundamentally serious.
Our employment solicitors can support and assist you in all contractual matters, from negotiating terms at the beginning of the employment, to challenging a breach of contract in the Employment Tribunal or civil court.