How can I sue my employer?
If your employer breaches your employment rights, you are entitled to take legal action against them because they have failed to fulfil their contractual commitments to you. Your employment contract is a detailed document of responsibilities that your employer has to you, and in turn you have to your employer..
But, before you track down a lawyer, you need to ensure that you formulate a water-tight case and follow a procedure before you take your case to an employment tribunal. Get it wrong at this stage and you could lose more than just your job.
- Step 1: Know your rights - Get familiar with your company's grievance policies and procedures. You can access this information by speaking to your Human Resources department or accessing them on you company's intranet.
- Step 2: Keep notes - Without solid evidence or witness corroboration, it can be difficult to prove that your rights are being breeched by your employer and it could end up as your word against theirs. Keep a journal of what you observe and experience. This could be used as evidence to support your case if it goes to court.
- Step 3: Make your complaint official - Inform your Human Resources department of your grievance and give them the opportunity to investigate your complaint in an official capacity. If appropriate, alert your trade union representative who will offer support and advise you on the best course of action. Even if this course of action proves fruitless, it is an important step should you consider taking a legal case at a later stage.
- Step 4: Step-up the ante - If you become dissatisfied with your employer's handling of your complaint, you have the right to take the matter to an employment tribunal which will decide if your employer dealt with your allegations in a reasonable manner. Contact your local Citizen's Advice Bureau and the Equal Opportunities Commission for free legal advice and a list of practitioners in your local area who can to handle your case.
- Step 5: Make your decision - Choose a solicitor that specialises in employment law issues. Find out what their success rate is in winning cases on behalf of their clients. And make sure that you inform your solicitor of the steps that you have taken to resolve your grievance.
You may be looking to take your employer to a tribunal while still holding down you job. Or you may be suing them for unfair dismissal. Whatever your position, if you go down the legal route you must be prepared to leave your job - by the time you have resolved to sue, the relationship with your employer is pretty much over.