Enforcing your workplace rights

A guide for unions and their members to the statutory enforcement agencies
Report type
Research and reports
Issue date
21 Jul 2011

This guide includes information about the government's Pay and Work Rights helpline - a confidential helpline which provides help and advice on basic employment rights and also provides a single point of entry for those wanting to access the statutory enforcement agencies.

Front cover, Enforcing workplace rights report
A guide to the statutory enforcement agencies

Resolving problems at work

If you think that you are not being treated fairly by your employer and you are not receiving your basic rights, you should contact your union rep, who may be able to resolve your problem in the workplace. If you are not a member of a union and would like to join or would like some further information about a how a union can help you in the workplace please use the link below:

You can also call the Acas Helpline for information and advice about your employment rights on 08457 47 47 47.

It is always a good idea to try to resolve problems in the workplace first. You should consider speaking to your manager informally. If this doesn't deal with the problem, or the issue is more serious you should consider raising a grievance in the workplace. If you are a member of a union, a union rep can help you prepare your grievance and can accompany you at a grievance hearing with your employer. Please see the 'Right to be accompanied' section.

NB if you are an employee you should always try to resolve a problem at work by raising a grievance with your employer and appealing any decision you are not happy with. If you do not do this, you may receive reduced compensation at an Employment Tribunal.

If you are not the only person at work facing a problem, your union rep may be able to raise a collective grievance.

How to enforce your rights at work

If it's not possible to deal with the issue in your workplace you may decide to try to enforce your rights. It is a good idea to seek advice from your union rep, the Acas Helpline or Citizens Advice before taking any formal steps.

Employment Tribunals

Most employment rights are enforced through Employment Tribunals.

The main rights which are not enforced by the Tribunals are health and safety rights, the 48 hour working time limit and breach of contract claims while you are still in employment.

There is a three month time limit for most claims to Employment Tribunals. It is a good idea to seek advice before making an Employment Tribunal claim.