As a member, you have access to £100,000 worth of legal expenses per case and you can access that 12 times per calendar year. This means just by having a South & Mid Wales Chamber Membership, you have access to £1,000,000 worth of legal cover completely free. Do you think you will never need it? Read more about the chamber members who have.
Employment – Performance management
A Chamber member called in relation to an employee who was under performing in her role. The member wanted to look at options in terms of disciplinary action and potential termination. The advice team were able to advise fully in relation to the procedures that needed to be followed and the client was able to put in place a performance improvement plan for the employee.
The member continued to call the Chamber Advice line as complications arose during the procedure when the employee highlighted an underlying medical condition that was having an impact on her ability to perform to the standards expected.
Our advice team identified the medical condition as a potential disability under the Equality Act 2010. At this point it became important for the member to seek medical advice in relation to the impact the medical condition was having on the employee’s ability to perform her job. Our team were able to refer the client to our template letters to request consent from the employee to obtain a medical report. Our advisors identified that this process was likely to be time consuming and were able to have a frank discussion with the member about what she was looking to achieve.
Following our advice, the member was able to mutually agree to terminate the employee via a settlement agreement. The client was able to avoid the need to gather medical information and was able to bring the matter to a conclusion in a timely and cost effective way. The advice team were on hand to provide support at every step of the way.
Employment – Conduct
A Chamber member called in relation to an employee who had committed a serious data protection breach. The employee had disclosed details of a client’s hotel booking to a friend who was the ex-girlfriend of the client making the booking.
Our advice team identified this as a potential gross misconduct matter and were able to refer to the client to our template letters for suspension and disciplinary action. Our advisors were able to explain the correct procedures to follow and guide the member along the way.
Following a thorough investigation and a disciplinary hearing, on the basis that the employee accepted her actions were wrong and showed significant remorse, the member decided a final written warning was a reasonable response. The member decided to give all employees further training in relation to confidentiality and the Data Protection Act 1998.
Employment – Unauthorised Absence
A Chamber member called in relation to an employee who had not turned up to work. Our advisors explained that the member would need to take steps to contact the employee by phone and if the employee didn’t respond the member should send a letter asking the employee to get in touch to explain his absence as soon as possible. The member was referred to our template “absence without leave” letter.
Following our advice, the member called back to explain the employee still hadn’t been in touch. The advisor was able to explain this could now be treated as unauthorised absence and was able to guide the member through the disciplinary procedure.
Following a disciplinary hearing, where the employee didn’t turn up, the member was able to terminate the employee’s employment for gross misconduct based on the unauthorised absence.
Landlord and Tenant
A Chamber member called in relation to an agricultural holdings tenancy. The member had originally acquired the tenancy through family succession, but had been misled by the landlord into signing a business tenancy under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1954. The member was, wrongly, under the impression he would acquire more rights from this kind of tenancy. During the call the advisor established that the member had also excluded his rights to be offered a renewal of the tenancy.
The landlord had now served notice for the member to leave the property and the Chamber member was unhappy because if he had known he would have had more rights under the old tenancy he would not have signed the new agreement.
The advisor was able to explain the member may have difficulties with a legal argument on the basis that the member probably should have taken advice before signing the agreement. The advisor explained there may be arguments based on misrepresentation and/or estoppel, depending on what the landlord had actually said and the time. The matter was referred as a claim on the legal expenses insurance so the merits of disputing the notice could be assessed fully.
Employment – Sickness
A Chamber member called in relation an employee who had been regularly taking days off sick on Fridays. This intermittent absence was causing a significant disruption to the business. The advisor was able to establish that the sickness was related to various minor illnesses and there appeared to be no indication of any disability.
The advisor was able to explain how a simple sickness policy could be introduced. The member would then be able to discipline this employee in accordance with the policy if the excessive sickness continued.
Consumer – Sale of Goods
A Chamber member called in relation to the purchase of a car for his own personal use. This was an electric car and after the first week the member started to have major problems with the charger. The advisor was able to explain the member’s rights under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, in particular the right to reject the car within the first 30 days.
The member decided he wanted to exercise his right to reject and the advisor was able to assist the member in drafting a letter to the car dealer requiring a full refund.
Commercial – Debt recovery
A Chamber member called in relation to an outstanding debt of approximately £8,000 owed by a client for services already provided. There appeared to be no dispute over the debt, but the client was no longer responding to emails or letters. The advisor was able to assist the member in drafting a letter before action, making sure the member complied with the pre-action procedure under the Civil Procedure Rules.
The member called back to explain there had been no response and the advisor was able to give the member guidance on his options including pursuing a County Court claim or serving a Statutory Demand. The member decided she wanted to pursue a County Court claim and the advisor was able to guide the member through the small claims procedure.