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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Iam a self employed alarm engineer and have sub-contracted

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Iam a self employed alarm engineer and have sub-contracted to a National company to install temporary police alarms I have two other engineers that work part time for me, not employed. We have worked for this company for 8-9years, 24/7 365 days a year barring vacations. Recently the work from them has trailed off and over a three to four month period very little work has come our way. We have telephoned and emailed asking what is happening all that's said to us is they don't know. As all the installs have been for the local constabulary I spoke to the relevant department and was given an email address to which I sent a polite enquiry asking if they were considering not using the company any more as work had dropped off dramatically. They subsequently contacted the national company and they replied to me that as I had contacted their customer and that the customer had taken a 'very dim view' of my enquiry my services were no longer required. Do I have any recourse?
Submitted: 7 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 months ago.

Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 months ago.

Does the contract you have with the national company mention anything about making contact with clients directly? If so, please can you provide these details. Thank you

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
Not entirely sure on that, I have on numerous occasions spoken to force members and departments directly no one at the company has objected to this or told me to desist
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 months ago.

OK thank you, ***** ***** it with me. I will be in court today so will prepare my advice during the day and get back to you at the earliest opportunity. There is no need to wait here as you will receive an email when I have responded. Thank you.

Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 months ago.

Sorry just a couple more questions - did the contract have guaranteed hours of work and also was there a clause allowing for termination of the contract?

Customer: replied 7 months ago.
No, I never received a written contract, another engineer came to show me how to install the alarms, I took the work from there I'll double check but I'm pretty sure that I've never received any writte contract. Idid the work submitted my invoice and was paid the following month.
I had to go to their offices once to collect a secure phone so that I could receive my installs, removals and services emails and signed for that and have been visited by their chief engineer to have some ongoing training but really never seen any 'paper work' a such
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 months ago.

Thank you. As you are self employed you would not be protected against unfair dismissal, meaning that the employer does not have to provide a fair reason to follow a fair procedure to terminate your services.

In addition, under law, only employees are entitled to receive a minimum notice period in the event that their employment is terminated by their employer. The self-employed do not have the legal right to minimum notice periods on termination.

Whether a self employed worker is entitled to a notice period will depend on their contract. If there is a termination clause that specifies a notice period on termination, the employer would be expected to give that notice if they wish to end the employment relationship.

However, it is often the case that no written contract exists, or there is no notice clause in it. In such situations, the worker can still expect a 'reasonable' notice period to have their employment terminated. This is because even in the absence of a written contract they will be working under an implied common law contract and to terminate such a contract a reasonable notice period is required. The only exception is if the contract was terminated because of gross misconduct, that is any misconduct serious enough to justify the employment relationship terminating immediately.

What is a reasonable notice period will vary greatly and will depend on the individual circumstances, industry practices, length of employment, frequency of payment, etc. There are far too many variables to consider, which means it is usually impossible to give a precise indication as to what would be reasonable in each case. It is therefore down to the courts to make that decision. The worker can nevertheless raise this issue with the employer and attempt to negotiate a reasonable notice period with them, a period that they will both be happy to accept.

This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the options you have for challenging this if they have not given you an appropriate notice period, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there is no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you

Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 46183
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Expert:  Ben Jones replied 7 months ago.

Thank you. If they have not provided the correct notice then you can pursue them for compensation. Whenever a dispute arises over compensation owed by one party to another, the party at fault can be pursued through the civil courts. As legal action should always be seen as a last resort, there are certain actions that should be taken initially to try and resolve this matter informally and without having to involve the courts. It is recommended that the process follows these steps:

1. Reminder letter – if no reminders have been sent yet, one should be sent first to allow the party at fault to voluntarily settle this matter.

2. Letter before action – if informal reminders have been sent but these have been ignored, the party at fault must be sent a formal letter asking them to resolve this amicably within a specified period of time. A reasonable period to demand a response by would be 10 days. They should be advised that if they fail to do contact you in order to resolve this matter, formal legal proceedings will be commenced to pursue the compensation due. This letter serves as a ‘final warning’ and gives the other side the opportunity to resolve this matter without the need for legal action.

3. If they fail to pay or at least make contact to try and resolve this, formal legal proceedings can be initiated. A claim can be commenced online by going to www.moneyclaim.gov.uk. Once the claim form is completed it will be sent to the other side and they will have a limited time to defend it. If they are aware legal proceedings have commenced it could also prompt them to reconsider their position and perhaps force them to contact you to try and resolve this.

Whatever correspondence is sent, it is always advisable to keep copies and use recorded delivery so that there is proof of delivery and a paper trail. The court may need to refer to these if it gets that far.

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