You can get free advice on work issues from Acas. You can also ask for help from a solicitor, who may be able to negotiate with your employer on your behalf. Your household contents insurance policy may cover legal expenses too.
You can also check online at Advicelocal to see whether there is a Citizen’s Advice bureau or law centre near you. However, they can’t represent you in a tribunal hearing.
The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS) offers free advice for employees and employers. It also provides letters, forms and policy documents to help businesses reduce legal risk and foster positive workplace relationships.
ACAS’s codes of practice provide guidelines for how employers should handle specific employment issues. They cover topics such as discipline and grievance, disclosure of information to trade unions, and time off for industrial relations activities.
Both employers and employees should try to resolve workplace disputes informally before resorting to formal proceedings. However, if this is not possible, the ACAS code of practice should be followed. Failure to comply with the code could result in compensation awards being reduced or uplifted by employment tribunals.
The Equality Advisory Support Service (EASS) helpline advises people on discrimination and human rights issues in England, Scotland and Wales. The service matches barristers willing to provide pro bono work with individuals who are experiencing difficulties with their employment. It can offer advice, representation at mediation and preparation of documents such as skeleton arguments.
You can check if there is an EASS near you on Advicelocal – enter your postcode and select ‘employment’ from the topic menu. You can also use the site to find Citizens Advice, law centres and other local organisations that offer free advice. The TUC can also advise you on a range of issues including workplace health and safety.
Several charities and advice centres are able to provide free legal help for employment law issues in England, Scotland and Wales. These include the Equality Advisory Support Service (EASS) and the Employment Tribunal Customer Contact Centre. The EHRC can also help with issues involving equality and human rights.
The EHRC can investigate complaints of discrimination, based on the “reasonable suspicion” that someone has committed an offence. It can also investigate whether an employer has breached any of its own policies. This can help to prevent employment tribunal claims. An employer can also offer to settle a dispute with an employee through early conciliation.
Employment Tribunal Customer Contact Centre
Tribunals are intended to be less formal than courts and so people can choose to attend their hearings either with professional legal representation, with a representative (such as a friend or relative), or unaccompanied. They can also request extra help to participate, such as a sign language interpreter or accommodation for disability or vulnerability.
If you don’t have access to a solicitor, try using the website Advicelocal to find a Citizen’s Advice Bureau, law centre or independent advice agency in your area that might be able to provide free employment law advice. These organisations may charge fees for other services, such as the preparation of a tribunal claim form.
Many of the workplace rights that we take for granted were won by trade unions and other workers. But, today, workers are facing unprecedented attacks on their right to join a union and the freedom of collective action.
A trade union is an organisation of workers who seek to safeguard their interests, improve working conditions and wages and thwart anti-worker policies by negotiation with management. The agreements negotiated by a trade union are called collective agreements (CBAs).
It’s illegal for an employer to discriminate against you because you are a member of a trade union or taking part in union activities, with rare exceptions. See the Advicelocal website to find a local Citizens’ Advice service or Law Centre near you.
When you have a work issue, it can be helpful to consult a solicitor. A solicitor is a legal professional who can advise you on legal issues and represent you in court. You may be able to find a solicitor through an online service, such as Advicelocal. It will help you locate organisations that provide help with employment problems near you.
Acas runs a helpline that can answer queries and explain how the employment tribunal process works. It can also help you to conciliate a dispute with your employer, but it cannot represent you in a court case. You can also get advice from your local Citizen’s Advice Bureau or law centre.free online employment law advice for employees UK