Many employment rights only apply to “employees” – an employee is someone who has a contract of employment. A contract of employment may not be in writing, it can be something that is implied through custom and practice, in other words you have been treated like an employee – even a verbal promise can be a contract!
The Law requires your Employer to issue all new staff with a document known as a Statement of Employment Terms. This should be done within 8 weeks of starting work with that Employer.
Any changes to your contract should be confirmed to you in writing with 4 weeks of the change.
If you do not work under a contract of employment you may still enjoy some rights, but these are limited. It is not always easy to be sure which type of relationship applies, often the Courts have to decide. Some people are self-employed and only enjoy very limited rights as they do not need the same protection as an employee
If you have regular work and your employer deducts tax and National Insurance it is likely that you are an employee. If you only work “as and when required” in a casual arrangement or a zero hours basis, you are likely to be classed as a “worker” – which does give you some rights. In particular you are entitled to the Minimum Wage and Holidays with pay. You are also protected against discrimination. However only “employees” can claim unfair dismissal, redundancy or most maternity rights for example.
If you are not sure about your employment status or any of your employment rights – contact our Advice Line for further help.
I have had a job offer withdrawn.
If an employer has offered you a job but then changes their mind and withdraws the offer, whether you can take any action will depend on whether the job offer was made subject to any conditions.
If the job offer was subject to conditions, for example, the employer wanted to take up references or you were required to have a medical, and these were unsatisfactory, you will probably not be able to make a claim against the employer for any compensation. This is because there was never any contract of employment. There was only a conditional offer of a job and the conditions have not been met.
If the job offer made no mention of any conditions, even if it was verbal, you may be able to claim compensation in the employment tribunal or the county court (Court of Session in Scotland) for breach of contract. This is a breach of contract because you were offered the job with no conditions, you accepted the offer and then the offer was withdrawn. Although the job has not started, it has been decided that once a job has been offered and the offer has been accepted, there is a contract of employment. If the employer then withdraws the job offer, this will be dismissal and a breach of contract. If you have given up another job because you were offered the new job, you may also be able to claim compensation based on what you were earning in your previous job and on how long it would have taken you to find another job had you left that job to find another one.
If an employer withdraws a conditional job offer even though all the conditions were met, you may also be able to claim compensation in the same way.
If you think that the job offer has been withdrawn because of discrimination, you could consider making a discrimination claim to an employment tribunal. You would first need to investigate the circumstances around why you were not given the job, to see if the reason was really discriminatory or not.