Legal advice for employees
Our employment team regularly advises on the terms of employment contracts and we can work with you to ensure you receive the benefits you are expecting.
We can advise you in respect of a new position and also in the event that your employer has proposed changes to your existing contract of employment.
We will go through all of the terms and conditions to ensure that your rights are adequately protected and that there are robust procedures in place to deal with disputes and other circumstances which could arise in the future.
In the event that you believe your employer has breached the terms of your employment contract, we can advise you of the options available to you.
What goes in a contract of employment?
As well as specifics concerning pay, benefits and notice periods, an employment contract usually contains a number of terms intended to protect the employer and their business.
This could include restrictive covenants preventing you from acting in a certain way, both during your employment and after you leave. Common examples include confidentiality and restrictions on going to work for a competitor or soliciting your employer’s clients or customers after you leave.
The employer may also want to include a clause allowing them the flexibility to alter part of the terms of the employment contract in the future. You may want to take advice before agreeing to clauses that could potentially be restrictive or onerous.
An employment contract will usually include a grievance procedure and dispute resolution process to be followed, or it will refer to the business’s employee handbook.
Contract clauses relating to pay and bonuses can be complex, for instance, if the bonus is only payable in certain circumstances and how a bonus will be calculated. You should ensure that you are happy with the criteria used.
Changes to an employment contract
If your employer is proposing changing the terms of your employment contract, it is advisable to seek legal advice before signing. They do not necessarily have the right to alter the terms of your employment.
You may feel at a disadvantage if your employer is pressing you to sign, however if the terms are less favourable and you do not wish to agree, then you can refuse to sign, provided you have not previously agreed to accept certain changes.
If your employer tries to impose changes and you do not object, you could be held to be in agreement. If you do object, then you run the risk that your employer may dismiss you. In any event, you should speak to an employment lawyer to protect your rights and your position as far as possible.
Our employment team can advise you in respect of a new contract of employment, in respect of any changes your employer may be proposing or in the event that you believe your employer has breached the terms of your employment contract.
It is important to seek legal advice without delay as strict time limits exist for bringing claims and you may also be deemed to have agreed to conditions if you do not raise any objection to them.
Hutchinson Thomas is the first law firm in Wales to be awarded the Law Society Mark of Excellence. The firm and many of our lawyers are recognised year on year in the Legal 500 publication as leading individuals in their field.
We are friendly and approachable and will work closely with you to ensure that your rights are observed and that any deal you agree to is as beneficial as possible.
If you have been offered an employment contract and you would like legal advice before signing it or you have any other contract-related queries, call us on the following numbers or fill in our contact form.