The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on both employers and employees and is likely to continue to have an impact for months to come. Many employers have taken advantage of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough Scheme) in an attempt to preserve jobs through the crisis, but not all employers have used the furlough scheme correctly and many employees have suffered a detriment as a result.
If you have been furloughed, you have the same employment rights as you did previously.
This includes maternity rights, other parental rights, rights against unfair dismissal and rights to redundancy payments if you are eventually made redundant and although the Furlough Scheme created a form of agreed lay off even where there was no contractual lay-off provision, it does not allow employers to compel employees to be furloughed without their consent, or to be discriminated against when being selected for furlough.
In circumstances where your employer has breached your employment rights as a result of the COVID crisis, or for any other reason, you may have grounds to bring claims at the Employment Tribunal and should take appropriate legal advice.
Examples of some of the COVID related grounds which may give rise to a claim at the Employment Tribunal include:
The above list is not exhaustive.
Have you been adversely affected by the impact of COVID-19? Did your employer fail to reach an agreement with you in writing about being furloughed and instead furlough you on reduced pay without your consent? Where you unfairly selected to be furloughed? Are you unfairly being left on furlough while others have been allowed to return?
If your employer has breached your legal employment rights, you may have a legal claim against them and be entitled to compensation. The most common employment claims to arise during the COVID-19 crisis are likely to be for:
You should note that for most employment claims, you only have 3 months less one day in which to commence the tribunal process by lodging your claim with ACAS. This is simply a necessary procedural step, and the tribunal can only extend the time to issue in exceptional circumstances, otherwise you will be time barred. It is therefore recommended that you see professional advice as soon as possible.
You are advised to seek legal advice if wish to bring an Employment Tribunal claim as soon as possible, and in particular about the actual deadline in your case for taking action.
If you have a dispute with your employer and would like us to assist you in determining your options, call us on 0141 611 9785 or submit your details using the webform below and one of our employment law specialists will contact you.