employee legal advice

Facing a challenge at work? Having an employment law expert to help you navigate through the legal maze will help you feel at ease.

Settlement agreements

Our specialist solicitors for employees have each handled a vast number of settlement agreements.

Employment tribunal support

Our team is experienced in conducting tribunal hearings, so we represent you at all stages.

Clear and empathetic advice

Practical straightforward advice to help you during a difficult time.

Our employee solicitors

If you’re worried about your future career, feel you have been treated unfairly, been dismissed, made redundant or have a grievance, our specialist team of employment solicitors and HR advisers will provide you with the help and advice you need to resolve your dispute in the best possible way.

We understand this is a difficult and worrying time. We will advise you at the outset on how to settle your dispute, and if this is not achievable, then we will provide clear advice on your rights to pursue an employment tribunal claim. We are with you every step of the way to advise you on the best course of action to protect your position and fight your corner.

Get in touch

Our employee advice services at a glance

When an employment issue arises, getting swift, knowledgable advice and support from solicitors who have an in-depth understanding of employment law is essential, to help you achieve the best outcome.

We advise employees, professionals, senior executives, and directors across a wide range of sectors including:

  1. Unfair dismissal

    Have you been dismissed without your employer having a fair reason to do so or following a fair procedure? We appreciate this is a worrying time and our experts can advise you on whether you have a claim for unfair dismissal and handle this on your behalf.

  2. Discrimination

    The Equality Act 2010 protects an employee from being discriminated against in the workplace because of a protected characteristic, for example age, race or disability. We regularly advise individuals on raising a grievance to give you protection, pursuing a tribunal claim and reaching a successful settlement.

  3. Redundancy

    If you’ve been placed at risk of redundancy you need to know whether it’s fair and reasonable under the circumstances. Has your employer followed a fair consultation process, does it have a legitimate reason to place your role at risk, are there any suitable alternatives? We can help you during the consultation process to protect your position and advise if you have a potential claim for unfair dismissal.

  4. Settlement agreements

    We can advise you on the terms of the proposed settlement agreement and also advise whether the financial proposal is fair under the circumstances. Our team regularly advise individuals and aim to get you the best outcome possible under your circumstances.

    Find out more

  5. Disciplinaries and grievances

    Are you facing disciplinary action at work and need urgent advice? Or do you need to raise a complaint at work? We can advise you on the best course of action including drafting letters on your behalf to appeal against disciplinary action or raise a grievance.

  6. Equal pay

    The Equality Act 2010 ensures that both sexes should receive equal pay for equal work. Our team has handled numerous equal pay claims for individuals and groups, getting expert advice is crucial in this complex area.

  7. Whistleblowing

    This happens where you bring information about a wrongdoing to the attention of your employer or a relevant organisation, for example a regulator. This is often called “blowing the whistle” and can protect you against being dismissed or subjected to detrimental treatment. We can advise you on the best route to take to protect yourself and bring a tribunal claim if the situation cannot be resolved. 

Settlement agreements

Our specialist solicitors for employees have each handled a vast number of settlement agreements (formerly known as compromise agreements), from the simplest to the very complex and valuable.

  1. What is a settlement agreement?

    A settlement agreement is a legally binding agreement usually between an employer and an employee which either settles an existing claim by an employee or waives an employee’s right to bring potential claims against the employer in an employment tribunal/civil court.

  2. When are they used?

    Pre-termination negotiations

    Settlement agreements are usually used on termination of an employee’s employment following what is referred to in employment legislation as a “pre-termination negotiation” – which is sometimes referred to as “a protected conversation”.

    A pre-termination negotiation allows an employer to discuss a proposal to end the employment relationship on negotiated terms. If conducted properly (we can discuss this with you in more detail), this conversation will not be able to be referred to in a future employment claim.

    The terms reached following the negotiation will be documented in a settlement agreement.

    Disputes

    If there is an existing dispute between the parties, a settlement agreement can be used as a way of resolving that dispute. Usually, the employee will agree to waive potential claims as well as the existing claim. Again, the terms of the agreed resolution will be set out in the agreement.

  3. Why do I need to take legal advice?

    Basically, to make sure the settlement agreement works.

    In order for the waiver of statutory employment rights to be valid, certain conditions must be met. This includes a condition that states that the employee must have received independent legal advice from a relevant adviser (either a qualified lawyer or certified trade union official/advice centre worker) on the terms and effect of the agreement and its effect on the employee’s ability to pursue any rights before an employment tribunal.

  4. What will the legal advice involve?

    We will ask you/the employer to send us a copy of the settlement agreement. We will also ask to see a copy of your employment contract and any relevant correspondence between you and your employer.

    We will talk to you about the circumstances surrounding the agreement. Following this, we’ll review the agreement, and advise you on any suggested amendments to the legal terms of the agreement. Depending on the scope of your instructions, we may also advise/negotiate on your behalf in respect of the commercial terms of the agreement.

    Once we are both happy with the terms, we will take you through the agreement and explain the effect of the clauses. If you’re still happy, you can sign the agreement. 

    We will usually be asked by the employer to sign a certificate which will confirm that we have given you the relevant advice to validly waive your claims.

  5. How long does it take?

    This depends on the circumstances. However, we will work hard to meet any deadlines that have been set by the employer.

  6. Who meets the costs?

    This is usually part of the commercial terms of the deal. Typically, the employer will meet the costs of advising on the terms and effect of the agreement. If you ask us to negotiate any of the commercial terms of the deal, then the employer may push back on being asked to pay for the time spent on that part of the negotiation, and so you may have to contribute towards the costs.

  7. What do I need to do now?

    If you need any further information or would like to arrange an appointment to speak to one of our experts, please contact us.

    Get in touch

Why choose Wilkin Chapman?

Our employment team is the largest in Lincolnshire and East Yorkshire with considerable strength at all levels of post-qualification experience.

We have extensive experience of acting for employees bringing claims for unfair dismissal, wrongful dismissal, whistleblowing, discrimination, and equal pay. We approach your matter with sensitivity, knowing this will have an impact on your career, income, and professional reputation.

Frequently asked questions

  1. What work is covered within this estimate?
    • Meeting with you to obtain full instructions, drafting and filing your claim form (ET1) with the tribunal showing us as your representative

    • Providing you with a letter outlining our views on the prospects of your success

    • Receiving your former employer’s defence (ET3) to your claim and taking your instructions on the contents

    • Obtaining from you all relevant documents and compiling a list of documents relevant to your claim. Exchanging lists of documents with your former employer or their representative, considering their list and requesting copies of missing documents

    • Considering all disclosed documents and their impact on the merits of your claim. Agreeing the bundle of documents

    • Drafting a schedule of loss setting out the value of your claim and serving this on your former employer

    • Liaising with ACAS throughout your case to seek a settlement if these are your instructions

    • Drafting your witness statement, agreeing the contents with you and serving this on your former employer

    • Receiving your former employer’s witness statements and seeking your comments on their statements

    • Preparing your case for hearing in the employment tribunal. We have priced on the basis that you utilise counsel for the advocacy. We will therefore need to instruct counsel

    • The stages set out above are an indication and if some of the stages are not required the fee will be reduced

  2. Factors that could make a case more complex
    • If you wish to bring additional claims alongside your unfair/wrongful dismissal claim (these can include matters such as discrimination, unlawful deduction from wages, holiday pay owing)

    • Making or defending any applications to the tribunal to deal with issues that arise as your case progresses

    • Being ordered to provide further information about your claim by the tribunal

    • The number of witnesses you wish to rely on. The simple case average is based on you having one witness and your former employer no more than two witnesses

    • If it is an automatic unfair dismissal claim e.g. if you are dismissed after blowing the whistle on your employer

    • The final hearing being listed for more than one day

    • Making or defending a costs application

    • If you wish us to undertake the advocacy on your case at the final hearing or attend the final hearing to support the barrister appointed to undertake advocacy

  3. How long will my case take?

    Unfortunately, it is quite difficult to provide you with a fixed timescale. Your case may resolve at any of the steps set out above. If your case proceeds from a claim form through to the final hearing, the date for your hearing is dependent upon the tribunal’s availability.

    This varies considerably depending on the location of the tribunal but as an estimate, it is likely to be approximately 6 to 9 months from the date that the claim is lodged. This is just an estimate and we will be able to give you a more accurate timescale once we have more information, and as your case progresses.

Fees - What's the cost?

Our fees are calculated on an hourly rate basis, with the hourly rates being commensurate with the qualification and expertise of the team members.

These range from £150 to £330 inclusive of VAT. When we meet with you, we will assess the complexity of your case and match you with a solicitor or paralegal within the team to ensure you are receiving advice at the right level with a suitable hourly rate.

Our fee estimates are provided on the basis that your claim progresses all the way up to and including a final hearing at the employment tribunal. Many cases do settle before this hearing takes place, and as we calculate our fees on an hourly rate basis, this will affect the total amount you are billed by us. We will be happy to provide you with a full case specific estimate when we meet with you.

You should always check whether you have legal expenses covered on any of your insurance policies (e.g. car or home insurance) to bring employment related claims, as these may cover our fees.

  1. Estimated fees for a small case

    The simple case estimate involves a claim for unfair or wrongful dismissal only, with none of the complicating factors outlined in the FAQs above and is limited to a one-day hearing.

    We estimate that these types of cases take between 30 to 35 hours at an average hourly rate of £240 inclusive of VAT. This means on average costs are between £7,200 to £8,400 inclusive of VAT.

    VAT is currently charged at 20%

  2. Estimated fees for a medium complexity case

    The medium complexity case estimate involves one other claim alongside a claim for unfair or wrongful dismissal (e.g. discrimination, whistleblowing), as well as one of the complicating factors outlined in the FAQs above and is limited to a two-day hearing.

    We estimate that these types of cases take between 35 to 75 hours at an average hourly rate of £240 inclusive of VAT. This means on average costs are between £8,400 to £18,000 inclusive of VAT.

    VAT is currently charged at 20%

  3. Estimated fees for a high complexity case

    The complex estimate is based on a case which involves a number of types of claims alongside the unfair/wrongful dismissal claim, as well as two or more of the complicating factors, and a multi-day final hearing. 

    We estimate that these types of cases take between 75 to 115 hours at an average hourly rate of £240 inclusive of VAT. This means on average costs are between £18,000 to £27,600 inclusive of VAT.

    VAT is currently charged at 20%.

  4. Disbursements

    Disbursements are payable in addition to our fees. These are payments made to third parties, such as a barrister. The only disbursements we would anticipate are barrister’s fees should they be instructed to represent you at the final hearing.

    Simple case

    We estimate these will vary between £1,020 - £1,800 inclusive of VAT (on the basis of a one-day hearing) depending on their experience, to prepare your case and represent you at the final hearing.

    Medium complexity case

    We estimate these will vary between £2,100 - £4,200 inclusive of VAT (on the basis of a two-day hearing) depending on their experience, to prepare your case and represent you at the final hearing.

    Complex case

    We estimate these will vary between £4,200 - £12,000 inclusive of VAT (on the basis of a three-day hearing).

    VAT is currently charged at 20%

Quick contact form

Submit an enquiry and one of our team of experts will be in touch as soon as possible to discuss your needs.

Or call the employment law team on 01522 515987

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Partner & Head of Employment Oliver Tasker 01522 515987 Lincoln
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