Employment Disputes


how to resolve employment disputes with Employment Law Friend

What is an employment dispute?

The term covers all sorts of issues that you might have at work. Anything that you might consider complaining to your boss (or about your boss) about, including mistreatment from management, colleagues, third parties and even customers, where your employer didn’t do enough to prevent or resolve it.

How are employment disputes settled?

You can resolve a workplace dispute in several ways, depending on the severity of the dispute and what area of your statutory or contractual rights are affected.

Most disputes begin with an informal complaint, or raising a grievance. In some employment disputes you may be able to skip the grievance stage, and in others, raising a grievance may cause you more hassle than its worth. Our expert employment law advisors can help you compose a formal grievance letter, or, make an initial assessment on the prospects of your claim.



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Types of employment disputes

If you cannot resolve your employment dispute using your employer’s internal grievance process, the next steps may differ slightly depending on what type of dispute you have. This can be trickier to determine than it might first seem.

Discrimination Disputes

You’ve been subject to detriment, as a result of a protected characteristic. This might be direct, or a policy which affects everyone with your characteristic. It also includes victimisation - being treated unfairly because you have or might be expected to report discrimination.


Dismissal Disputes

You’ve been fired, and it wasn’t fair. This may be a case of potentially unfair dismissal. However, it could in fact be wrongful or constructive dismissal. This will depend on the circumstances of the termination of your employment:

You were dismissed as a result of exercising your legal rights.

For example:
  • Refusing to work in unsafe conditions
  • Joining a trade union
  • Making a statutory request to change your working hours
  • Taking leave

You were dismissed, or made redundant, without following proper procedure (your contract was breached).

For example:
  • You were fired after your first warning
  • You were not paid your entitled holiday or notice pay
  • Your fixed term contract was terminated early (except in cases of gross misconduct)
  • You were fired for raising a grievance

You were forced to resign by your employer or their conduct.

For example:
  • Your employer isn’t paying you as much as they should
  • Your employer has made unreasonable changes to your job
  • Your employer has allowed discrimination or harassment against you
  • Your employer has failed to provide essential PPE

Harassment Disputes

Harassment is defined as unwelcome verbal or physical behaviour based on a protected characteristic. If the harassment is not based on a protected characteristic, then it will be classed as bullying, which you can bring a claim for in some cases, though it relies on a different aspect of employment law, see more below.


Pay Disputes

Here's where it can get really tricky.

  • If your employer is under paying you - this may be unlawful deduction of wages.
  • If your employer withholds your bonus you might also have a claim under breach of contract, discrimination, or even no claim at all.
  • If your employer withholds your notice pay, redundancy pay, or holiday pay, after you leave your job, you may also have a claim for wrongful dismissal
  • If your employer has been paying a member of the opposite sex better pay, for equal work, you pay have an equal pay claim, under sex discrimination

Escalating an employment dispute: The employment tribunal process


Escalating an employment dispute

As you can see, employment disputes must be handled correctly once they progress to a legal dispute. It is not enough to simply be right.

Once you understand which part of the law your employment dispute relates to, you can escalate the dispute to tribunal.

Where can I seek help on employment issues?

We offer a huge amount of free information regarding all sorts of employment disputes in our news section, in the top banner.

We also work with an excellent selection of panel solicitors who can help you, from case assessment, to settlement review and negotiation, to managing your claim and representing you at court or tribunal.

If you need fast, frank advice from an employment law specialist, you can book in fixed fee services with our legal advisors, in the next working day. If you have to bring a claim to tribunal yourself, your Employment Law Friend is here to get you expert advice at the crucial moments along the way, to give you a fighting chance of beating the big dog.


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