For international executives who work in or have connections with a number of different countries, it can be difficult to work out which country’s laws and Courts offer you protection in an employment matter. In some cases, you may even have a choice between a number of different legal jurisdictions. If you are looking to take up employment, working wholly or partly in Great Britain, we can help you check your proposed new contract and ensure that the deal you strike is a sensible one.
Example issues to consider are:
- Does the contractual notice period give you adequate protection?
- Are the place of work and duties clauses suitably defined?
- Are the bonus or share right clauses adequately worded?
- Is the summary dismissal clause reasonable?
- Are the post-termination restrictions reasonable and enforceable?
- Can you accept this offer without acting in breach of any current contractual restrictions?
What Are Your Rights During Employment?
Before you engage in any discussions with your employer it is helpful to get a basic understanding of your legal rights. These rights could exist under one or a number of legal jurisdictions. In Great Britain, your rights can come from a number of different sources.
- Contractual rights: These are those rights set out in your contract of employment, such as your job title, your holiday entitlement, your notice period and your right to be paid salary and other benefits. Depending upon the wording of the contract, it may also include the right to a bonus or certain restrictions on who you can work for after your employment ends. Contract claims can be pursued in the High Court, County Court or, in certain cases, the Employment Tribunal.
- “Common law” rights: These are the rights that derive from the general law around your treatment by your employer, such as negligence, personal injury or defamation. These types of claims are pursued only in the High Court or County Court.
- Statutory rights: These are those additional rights that derive from statute. There are a great number of them, including:
- The right not to be unfairly dismissed (usually only available to those with one year’s service or if your employment started after 6 April 2012, two years’ service);
- The right to a statutory redundancy payment (only available to those with two years’ service);
- The right not to suffer unauthorised deductions from your wages;
- The right not to be discriminated against on certain prohibited grounds: gender, gender reassignment, pregnancy, marital status, racial origin, national origin, disability, sexual orientation, religion/belief, trade union membership, and age;
- The right not to suffer detrimental treatment due to whistleblowing;
- The right to receive the minimum wage;
- The right to request flexible working;
- The right to holiday pay; and
- Various maternity and paternity rights.
Claims arising from statutory rights can normally only be pursued in the Employment Tribunal.
At Slater and Gordon we are experts in finding practical and client-focused solutions to the issue that you face. But first, we need to understand what rights you have. The extent to which you can bring a claim or have legal protection in Great Britain will depend on the type of right involved.
Please note that slightly different rules apply in Scotland and the focus here is on the law of England and Wales. Northern Ireland, though part of the United Kingdom, is not part of Great Britain (GB), and different provisions may apply.