A dotted line on a contract is not completely secure. Or, at least, it wasn’t until TUPE law was drawn up in 1981, and thoroughly amended in 2006 and 2014. It serves to preserve the integrity of an employee’s work agreement, should those original terms be threatened by a change in employer.

The particulars of TUPE are a little dense, which is why we are able to sift through them for you. If you’ve been unfairly dismissed at work, or are facing a legal claim from a member of staff following a transfer, this knowledge will go a long way to deciding your course of action…

What does TUPE stand for?

TUPE is an acronym for the ‘Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment)’ Regulations 1981. This series of laws governs what to do in the event of a radical change, such as an employer selling the business to someone else.

When new management comes into play, employees may doubt whether their contractual agreements will survive the transition. TUPE regulations largely protect employees’ rights, stating that the original conditions must remain in place.

It applies to mergers and acquisitions, when multiple companies form a single entity, as well as instances where employees are replaced by outsourced service providers. The TUPE transfer, as it is known, safeguards the individual’s rights and benefits – specifically their salary, contractual perks, sick/holiday allowance and notice periods.

The TUPE Regulations also cover grounds for dismissal i.e. new employers can’t sack existing staff for a transfer related reason. The worker is thus protected, without any severe upheaval following a TUPE transfer.

TUPE doesn’t apply to all changes in ownership. It does not apply when there is simply a change in ownership of shares.

Protecting employee rights

As an employee, you have a right to appeal internally if you believe that you have been unfairly dismissed. Under TUPE employment law, your contract shouldn’t be changed during business transfers; in the event that this is breached, you should seek professional advice.

Davies and Partners can help you determine whether you have grounds for a TUPE claim, as well as supporting you throughout the appeal should you choose to proceed with your case.

Standing by employers

The top of the corporate chain, too, gets protection under TUPE law. You can dismiss staff members that have come into your care, providing you have sufficient evidence to support the dismissal.

The outgoing employer should have provided you with adequate information about staff, including past disciplinary actions. Such data – or lack of it - can support a genuine, fair dismissal case. So if you are faced with a claim, Davies and Partners can help you formulate a successful counter to the claim. TUPE is fashioned to help both parties form a good relationship.

Could a TUPE transfer be applicable to your situation? Have you been short-changed by hierarchical shifts from above, or presented with an unfair dismissal case? Please speak to a leading employment law firm like Davies & Partners to gain clarity on TUPE and its relevant criteria. Contact us for more information on what you can do today.

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