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Employment Law for Individuals

Reviewing Employment Contracts

Susie Al-Qassab
Susie Al‑Qassab
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Natalie Wellock
Ellen Clabburn
Ellen Clabburn

Our Employment Law specialists regularly advise on all aspects of employment contracts.

Whether you’re starting a new position or want advice on the enforceability of a restrictive covenant in your contract, our leading employment lawyers would be happy to assist you.

How we can help

Employer making changes to your contract

During employment you may require advice on changes which your employer is seeking to impose, and whether those changes are authorised by your contract, and, if not, what your options are.

Ending your employment

If you’re thinking of ending your employment, or you are at risk of dismissal by your employer, we can advise on express/implied duties in your contract which may be relevant to the circumstances of your leaving (for example implied duties of loyalty or if you are a senior employee then possible fiduciary duties which will be relevant if you are intending to move to a competitor or are part of a team move).

You may also require advice on the enforceability of post termination restrictions (restrictive employment covenants) in your contract. These clauses are used by employers to restrict your activities for a period of time after you leave (non-compete provisions, non-soliciting/dealing with clients, non-poaching of key employees) but aren’t always enforceable. We can advise you on whether or not the restrictions in your contract can be enforced.

Starting a new job

When you’re starting a new job we can advise on and explain new contract terms. We can suggest points to negotiate with your prospective employer, or negotiate directly on your behalf. Typical areas of focus are payment arrangements (particularly bonuses, incentives and commission arrangements), probationary periods, termination/notice provisions, and post termination restrictions.

Contractors & freelancers

Our leading employment law solicitors can advise you if you have a contract as a contractor or a freelancer, rather than as an employee.

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Why choose Hodge Jones & Allen?

We can help you negotiate better terms and conditions.

Specialist employment law expertise

Our team of specialist employment lawyers regularly advises on employment contracts, executive service agreements, consultancy/contractor/freelancer agreements and non-executive director appointment letters.

Straightforward advice

Guiding you with clear, straightforward advice at every step, we make sure you’re aware of all your options. If a contract dispute arises we help you find a resolution, and if necessary, can start (or defend) legal proceedings on your behalf and represent you either in the Employment Tribunal or at the High Court.

Cost-effective advice

Our costs are highly competitive and transparent. We will provide you with clear funding options and up-front cost estimates, keeping you up-to-date throughout.

“It’s very hard to put into words how thankful I am for your guidance and support through-out the dispute process and of course reaching a good outcome."

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Featured cases

Lawyers successfully countered poaching claim and enforceability of non-compete restriction

We recently represented a tech sector employee whose previous employer was threatening legal proceedings to stop her working for a competitor and suing for thousands of pounds of damages for poaching its clients. We successfully countered the poaching accusations and disputed the enforceability of the non-compete restriction her old employer sought to rely on. Our client was able to continue working for her new company and no damages were paid.

Advised employee to enforce a change to her contracted hours

We advised an employee who worked for a high-street retailer who was seeking to enforce a change to her contracted working hours. We helped her to dispute and resist the change and in the face of a potential constructive dismissal claim, her employer backed down. We were able to help her agree alternative arrangements which worked for her and a phased transition.

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Frequently asked questions

Can my employer change the terms of my employment contract?

It’s difficult for an employer to make major changes to your terms of employment without your consent. Always check your contract because it may allow your employer to make certain changes (either in respect of specific terms, or more generally).

Do I have a claim?

Following on from the previous answer, even if there are variation clauses, for example around where you can be required to work, if the changes proposed are important (which would include the location of the office), or disadvantageous to you, your employer’s ability to impose change is limited, and your employer must at least have a good business reason to justify the change, and consult with you and give you sufficient notice before implementing the change. If a major change is forced upon you in breach of your contract, you may have a constructive dismissal claim. You may also have a claim for unlawful deduction from wages if the change results in a reduction in your pay.

My contract says my employer can dismiss me on one week’s notice during my probationary period, is that fair?

Always read through the terms of your employment contract carefully before signing it. One week’s notice during probation is legal because it complies with statutory minimum notice.

However, if your contract otherwise provides for one month’s notice, which many do, your employer would also need another express term in your contract allowing for one week only during probation. This may be a term that you want to negotiate before you sign i.e. increase one week’s notice to two weeks, or shorten the length of the probationary period.

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"Meetings were offered at all stages of the process, and my solicitor ensured that every step was taken for a successful result in my case, highlighting the incompetency of the other party."