Can you look for work/work if you're facing an employment tribunal?

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    • #936

      Quick question, can’t go into too many details as its an ongoing case but as title really.

      Someone I know has lost their job (unfairly dismissed) and their solicitor may go down the line of an employment tribunal against their employers. Seems like this person has a very good case, but I’m no solicitor and just because you think you have a good case doesn’t necessarily mean you could win a tribunal which is why solicitor is involved.

      But person is concerned whether they should look for work or not. They have been working doing cash in hand stuff as they can’t claim benefits (reason for no benefits is not directly related with being dismissed as it happens but for another reason entirely). The person concerned needs to pay bills, mortgage etc. They haven’t had their final pay or their P45 from their previous employers but I assume their status is still unemployed.

      I said it shouldn’t make a difference whether they are working or not whilst all the to-ing and fro-ing with solicitors letters is sorted out. Is this correct? If it does go to a tribunal and the judge asks how you have been supporting yourself would you get into trouble for doing cash in hand stuff, i.e gardening jobs, etc.

    • #937

      Any cash in hand work is going to potentially troublesome – by rights you should be registered as self-employed and declaring it. Could be problematic both for tax and for benefits. If earnings are below the personal allowance (currently about £11,00 per annum, can’t remember exact number off top of head), no tax is owed on it. But it should still be declared.

      If you haven’t received a P45, AFAIK, you are technically still employed. I was involved in a tribunal a couple of years ago and the actual status of my employment was a central part of the case – in the absence of a P45, I was deemed technically still employed by the party in question. A lot of this stuff is surprisingly grey though, so solicitor should be consulted to give a firm answer. In my case, I ultimately requested a P45, on advice of my lawyer, but my circumstances were quite different – requesting it could potentially be construed as acceptance of the dismissal and make tribunal case weaker, depending on the exact circumstances, so it really isn’t something anybody apart from a legal expert can advise on.

      In general, I don’t see why a person would not be allowed to work whilst awaiting tribunal, but the specifics about how they go about it would need to be considered. I’m not sure how a pending case would affect a job application for example.

    • #938

      There’s no law against having more than one job! – you just need to do it by the book.
      In the absence of a P45 your friend can download a New Starter Checklist form to give to a new employer to help them determine their tax code. One of the options you can check states “As well as my new job, I have another job or receive a State or Occupational Pension”.

    • #939

      I don’t think there’s any reason not to work. But the person will not be able to claim for loss of earnings if they are employed elsewhere, so the final settlement, if they win, will be less any earnings, including the cash in hand stuff.

    • #940

      Writing as an employer – the first thing I’d say is – can you do the job I want – and the second is- why did you leave your last one?

      Now I don’t particularly mind, I’ve had all sorts – went to prison, smacked my old boss ( I liked that one!) and all things between – for me it’s a test question – I want honesty.

    • #941

      There is no reason they cannot work. The ‘unfair dismissal’ option is the hardest one to win at a tribunal, the tribunal judge will be looking at whether correct procedure has been followed, so whilst I cannot say they won’t win I will say it will be a tough one!

      As someone has correctly said, the wages they earn whilst waiting for the tribunal to be heard will be offset against any compensation

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