Contract of employment
(V). Contract of employment
The Union's Legal Services Department assists members, branch representatives and officials in assessing and pursuing breach of contract claims. All requests for advice, assistance or representation in breach of contract claims should be made to the Legal Services Department. The Legal Services Department may refer the matter either to the panel of trained representatives or instruct specialist employment solicitors from their panel to advise on prospects and/or represent the member(s).
Breach of contract claims can be run either in the Employment Tribunal for unlawful deduction of wages claims or for breaches of contract outstanding or arising at the termination of employment, or in the county court for any breach of contract claim.
A claim for unlawful deduction of wages must arrive at the Employment Tribunal no later than 3 months less one day from the date the deduction was made (that is, when payment should have been made and wasn't or when the wrong amount was paid). If there was a series of similar deductions time runs from the date of the last deduction.
Other breach of contract claims can be made in the Employment Tribunal after the employment has ended. Such claims must be lodged with the tribunal within 3 months of the date employment was terminated.
The time limit for breach of contract claims in the county court is 6 years from the date of the breach of contract.
The contract of employment is made up of the following:
1. the standard letter of appointment / contract / statement of particulars of terms and conditions,
2. documents / agreements referred to in the contract as being part of it
3. terms implied by law or by custom and practice
In order to assess whether or not there has been a breach of contract, the Legal Services Department therefore need copies of all relevant documents including:-
1. the latest applicable standard contract/statement of terms
2. any relevant instruction/policies or national and/or local agreements
3. evidence of the alleged breach of contract, for example, pay slips
It would also be useful for Legal Services Department to be sent copies of any correspondence and/or notes of meetings about the matter.
The remedy for an unlawful deduction of wages claim is a declaration that the complaint is well founded and an order to reimburse the amount outstanding.
The compensation for breach of contract is calculated by assessing what the claimant would have received had the contract been properly complied with. The claimant is expected to "mitigate their loss" (that is, to do all they can to minimise their loss) for example, by seeking alternative employment where there has been a dismissal without proper notice.
In the Employment Tribunal, the maximum that can be awarded from breach of contract is £25,000.00. There is no maximum for the amount that can be claimed in the county court.