A trade union will not always intervene to help you if you find yourself encountering legal issues at work, but they should be one of your first ports of call in any kind of difficulty.
Legal services vary from union to union, but will generally involve dispute resolution, help with personal injury claims, and guidance when it comes to personal grievances against a company.
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Representation And Tribunals
While an adviser, such as you might be able to find at the Citizen’s Advice Bureau, is able to advise you on sensible routes to go down from a legal point of view, a union representative is capable of much more.
A representative will have to be named on your tribunal claim form. They will talk directly to your employer on your behalf, saving you from potentially challenging confrontations, and they will represent you when the tribunal itself begins (as their name would suggest).
You will still probably have to speak in your own defence at your tribunal, barring exceptional circumstances, but having a representative will make things much easier.
Sometimes, you will receive time-sensitive communications to do with your tribunal; for this reason, you should share all communications related to your tribunal with your representative as soon as you receive them. They will be in touch with any new information or new developments in your case, so it’s essential to notify them if you will be unavailable for any period of time – such as when you’re on holiday.
Grievance letters are a way of formally noting that you are facing an obstacle at your place of work without starting legal proceedings.
They’ll involve any incidents which upset you, the time and date, of the incidents, the names of anyone involved and the names of any witnesses. You should include any amount of money you believe you are entitled to (for instance in the case of late payment of your salary), set out any evidence in support of your grievance, explain any reasonable solutions you have thought of, and also describe any informal solutions you’ve tried to put in place.
Your union can and probably will help you with writing a grievance letter in such a way that you don’t get into any trouble with the recipient, and that it clearly and effectively lays out your concerns.
Formal Legal Help
Unions may also help you with actual legal cases if they think you have a good chance of winning your case and your employer has a clear case to answer.
In this case, they may take over running your case entirely.
If your union lawyers don’t have specific-enough experience for your case, though, it’s worth shopping around for other sources of legal expertise.
Tags: Employment Law