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Legal question re working without any Terms agreed

(11 Posts)
Passthedamnhamplease Wed 13-Aug-14 16:04:48

Hey wise mumsnetters.
This is a question for my neighbours really. Their daughter has been working for 4 years at a photography studio without any form of written contract. I know there is a contract just by virtue of her working and being paid, but there are no written terms. The studio are under the impression she has no contract and have said a few times they won't give her one as they need to be able to fire her at will. She also lives in a flat above the studio.
She is getting increasingly stressed by how this employer is behaving (unsurprisingly!) so I said I'd investigate her legal position for her. I know her employer should have legally written down her terms including notice, pay, bonuses etc 4 years ago, but they didn't.
What options does she have?
Thanks in advance.

vettles Wed 13-Aug-14 18:56:14

Even if she doesn't have a full written contract, she has the legal right to request a summary of the most important terms (hours, pay, etc). See the above link for more details.

Also, because she's worked there for four years, she should be given four weeks notice if they did fire her, and it would need to be a fair dismissal too - they can't just fire her 'at will'.

thinkfast Wed 13-Aug-14 18:58:28

Does she have a tenancy agreement relating to the flat? If not they may find it hard to evict her if they wanted to ever do so

MoralisRubric Thu 11-Sep-14 20:55:22

Is there a reason why she needs one, unless she has a dispute there is no need to force an employer to provide one, practically. Legal he should have provided a 'Statement of Particulars' after two months of employment stating what he thinks is here terms and conditions.

Unless there are issue i wouldn't press ahead. if they are enforcing terms and conditions which is doesn't like etc it maybe a good idea to explain what is the problem if there is any.

She should have a lease agreement as this is legally required, but not essential if she ain't needing anything enforced. However, if here rent is being taking out of her wages there is a requirement to have this in writing, as an employer is only allowed to take 10% of the Total wage, Weekly or monthly depending how she is paid, of any debt owed, unless in writing.

In practice just because you can have it, doesn't mean you really need it - one would have suggested she may have left or enforced this a few years ago.

so is there any issues which she finds her employer is enforcing unfair terms and conditions.

ThatBloodyWoman Thu 11-Sep-14 21:01:18

She cannot be fired at will after 4 years of employment -contract or no contract.
There would need to be grounds for her dismissal.

If you have been working doing regular things for several years, it is seen as 'custom and practice' and is effectively a contract if sorts.

To change the terms they will need to givd her notice.

She can then either accept the terms or end her employment.

If the new terms are substantially to her detriment, she could make a claim of unfair dismissal.

MoralisRubric Thu 11-Sep-14 21:20:20

A Contract of Employment is created by conduct, this maybe backed up in writing. After a Year of employment no-one can be fired for unfair reasons, unless you fall into a protected class/ category in terms of the Equality Act 2010.

I would also remind people that their are Tribunal Fees when raising an unfair dismissal case in the Employment Tribunal - Which is expensive a minimum of £350.00.

If she is unhappy she should find alternative employment and leave in a respectful manner, if she wants a reference - while this is completely unfair due to her employers actions. In Practice it is currently impractical to do anything unless you have money - disgusting I know, that's what you get voting a Tory Government.

ThatBloodyWoman Thu 11-Sep-14 21:23:10

Moralis the qualifying period for employment protection has recently been raised to 2 years, stealthily, by this government of ours.

ThatBloodyWoman Thu 11-Sep-14 21:24:29

If she is not in any dispute at present I was strongly recommend that she join a Union as an independent member.

MoralisRubric Fri 12-Sep-14 08:09:50

ThatBloodyWoman I thought it only applied to those who were employed after April 2012 there would be a two year qualifying period? in this case employment would ahve started in 2010 - so a year employment is the qualifying period.

ThatBloodyWoman Fri 12-Sep-14 08:19:51

Yes, but after 4 years she would have protection anyway in this case!

I was just pointing out that its not the case that after a year of employment no one can be fired for unfair reasons, as a general point!

MoralisRubric Fri 12-Sep-14 17:17:12

an excellent observation though, and a good point to make if those employed after april 2012 may have thought they had a year to qualify for protection.

Side Note: there is no qualifying period if your discriminated which is automatic within the Equality Act 2010.

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