As noted in yesterday's Guardian, FindLaw UK's Contact Law service saw a steep increase in the number of people seeking employment-related legal advice in July.
Wimbledon-based Contact Law, a find-a-solicitor service that refers legal enquiries to more than 5,000 solicitors around the UK, says it recorded a 15% increase in online and telephone requests for employment advice last month, compared with a 1% increase in June and a 3% increase in May.
Contact Law spokesman Dan Watkins says the increase in legal claims would put further strain on UK employers already struggling to cope with the recession. "The sharp rise in employment-related legal enquiries in July is a shot across the bows to all UK employers, in both the public and private sector," he said. "We all know about the economic and financial pressures facing Britain's companies, but the next chapter could be the legal issues facing them as more assertive employees look to take legal action."
Apparently four out of 10 of the people referred to solicitors by Contact Law in July had already lost their jobs and intended to claim either unfair or constructive dismissal, while one in five sought advice on their redundancy rights.
The news of a steep rise in requests for employment law advice comes at a time of increasing uncertainty and pressure in the workplace, and will not surprise many in the legal profession. As Sarah Veale, head of equality and employment rights at the TUC, says; "When you've just lost your job, you have nothing to lose in taking legal action against your employer".
- Employment law Q&A (Community)
- Employment law news (The Solicitor)
- Law firms report rise in job-related legal advice cases (Guardian)
- Unfair dismissal articles (Findlaw.co.uk)
- Constructive dismissal articles (Findlaw.co.uk)
- Redundancy rights articles (Findlaw.co.uk)
- Other employment law articles (Findlaw.co.uk)