Questions we have been asked this month

Employment & HR Article

21 November, 2017

Q. In 2015 member of staff in discussing workload with another more junior member of staff has purportedly authorised an increase in hours for the junior staff member equating to 7 hours per week. The junior staff member had not realised until now and has since raised a grievance regarding the underpayment.

A. It is likely that due to the time which has elapsed since the extra hours were started, that the increase will have been incorporated as a term of the staff member's contract via custom and practise.

Therefore failing to pay the difference would most likely result in a breach of contract claim for the monies owed as a result of the underpayment.

The grievance would need to be investigated, and a potential outcome to the process could be a Settlement Agreement where you would pay the monies owed in exchange for the member of staff to waive her breach of contract claim. By doing this it avoids

Practically speaking one of the recommendations as part of the grievance could be disciplinary action against the staff member for purportedly authorising the increase.

Q. A member of our support staff has been absent for several months now with fit notes quoting a variety of different reasons for absence. We have been unable to contact her to arrange a welfare meeting nor has she responded to any of our requests regarding Occupational Health referrals. Where do we go from here?

A. An employee has a duty under their contract of employment to keep in touch with their employer whiles absent due to sickness. If an employee is not abiding by this duty, then there is potential for disciplinary action. However in this situation it is advisable to tread carefully given the lack of evidence as to the nature of their absence.

The only option, once all other methods of communication have been exhausted, is to write to the staff member with a view to holding a formal meeting to discuss the nature of their absence. The employee should be warned that their absence at the meeting (it is always reasonable to provide two opportunities for an employee to attend) could result in you having to take a view on the limited evidence available as to whether they are able to remain in employment.

Notwithstanding this, any clear signs which point towards disability or other Equality Act considerations should be carefully considered before arriving at a dismissal.

If you are looking for any more information with regards to our services view our Education section. You can also contact Ruth Rule-Mullen in our Education department via email or phone on 01772 220195. Alternatively send any question through to Forbes Solicitors via our online Contact Form.


20 Feb 2019

Employment & HR


Employment Appeal Tribunal finding on religious discrimination in nursery case

Ms De Groen had been employed as a teacher by Gan Menachem, an ultra-orthodox Jewish Nursery, since July 2012…

Read the article

Emma led us through a complex Employment Tribunal case which we would not have successfully succeeded without her and the team at Forbes support, they made us feel at ease throughout the process

Alexander Dennis Limited

More clients

We wouldn't work with any other firm when it comes to employment and HR topics.

Charlotte Jackson
UK HR Business Partner
Voith Paper Ltd

More clients

The service offering at Forbes is of outstanding quality and value and has consistently exceeded our expectations.

Kathryn Robinson
Head of HR
Accrol Papers

More clients

Head of department Jonathan Holden leads a team of 'highly competent individuals' covering the full range of employment matters.

2018-19 edition Legal 500

More clients

Forbes Solicitors provides 'swift, efficient and pragmatic advice to its clients'.

2018-19 edition Legal 500

More clients

We find that the Forbes team take a pragmatic and supportive approach and enjoy working with their team.

Jayne Mizon
HR Manager
Kepak Convenience Foods

More clients

We approached Forbes Solicitors on a recommendation because as a small independent organisation we needed clear guidance and backing on HR matters.

Stephen Neaves
Piccadilly Garden & Support Service

More clients

The Forbes team were fantastic, the work and effort they put in was impressive and I was made to feel at ease throughout the proceedings. I can not thank the Forbes team enough

Peter Morley

More clients

Without doubt Jonathan Holden is like a security blanket. He understands that schools need to act in the best interest of school as a whole

Brenda P Allen

More clients

I will keep promoting you and your services because I'm fully committed to the quality of your work and the impact that it has in school.

Sharon Asquith
Ashton Community Science College

More clients

Amy Stokes was more than helpful throughout the whole process - Thank you Amy.

Stephen Fielden

More clients

Forbes are proactive in relation to changes in legislation and keep me informed via regular seminars, updates and bulletins.

Nicola Watson
Business Support Manager
Birchall Catering Supplies Ltd

More clients

I have always found everyone at Forbes to be approachable, helpful and professional, and would have no hesitation in recommending them to any other business

Catherine Ogden
Commercial Director
E A Foulds Limited

More clients

May I say how much the employment team at Forbes have helped Samlesbury Hall with staff issues over the past ten years.

Sharon Jones
Hall Director
Samlesbury Hall

More clients

...we have found Forbes to be an excellent team of people to work with, fully understanding our needs and goals.

Landon Helsby
Managing Director
Apeks Marine Equipment Ltd.

More clients

Make an enquiry