Having Issues at Work – Things to Consider

Having Issues At WorkWhen you are having issues at work, this can get you down and cause immense stress. Even minor issues can fester and become more serious if left unresolved. Sadly, these issues are unlikely to resolve themselves and the best approach varies.

However, what we cover below is initial considerations, so you can make an informed decision on what approach to take to get things resolved. We routinely help and advise people that are still employed and dealing with work issues.

What is covered below are general points when facing some of the common issues at work.

Some common issues at work are:

  • Changes to your terms and conditions.
  • Feeling pressured or even bullied.
  • Discrimination.
  • Training.
  • Working relationships with colleagues or managers.
  • Your duties.
  • Stress.
  • Working hours.
  • Lack of promotion.
  • Changes to your role, workplace or the organisation.

Some initial considerations when facing an issue at work are:

  1. How long you have been employed.
  2. What is your notice period.
  3. When to take action – Employment Time Limits.
  4. What do you want to achieve.

How Long have you been employed?

Only employees, with 2 years of continuous service, are eligible to claim unfair dismissal, including Constructive Unfair Dismissal.

There are potential ways around this issue, but they are beyond the scope of this note, so please refer to Unfair Dismissal Under 2 years.

The is relevant because when raising an issue at work (particularly a more serious issue) you may be concerned about potential backlash/repercussions.

Those with more than 2 years’ service are often afforded more protection, as most employers are aware of the relevance (i.e., the ability to claim unfair dismissal). As said, there are caveats to the 2-year rule and things employees are entitled to raise and not be dismissed, irrespective of their length of service (such as concerns about discrimination, health and safety, and general malpractice in the workplace (commonly known as “whistleblowing.”)

Main point being, you may be more vulnerable to repercussions if you have less than 2 years’ service and/or the issues raised are not “protected,” (i.e. recognized issues that are not subject to 2 years’ service).

The issues are serious, there may be a Constructive Dismissal.

What is your notice period?

This point ties in with the above, in that if you are still in your probationary period, your notice period may only be 1-week.

If not, it is useful to know what your notice period is before raising issues.

A longer notice period may give some extra protection in a similar way to someone with 2 years’ service. For example, compare someone with 1-week notice raising issues versus someone with 6 months’ notice (the former is likely to be more vulnerable).

When to take action – Employment Tribunal Time Limits

The main point to get across here is, (generally) to act quickly, or at least to look into the situation (or even better, take professional advice), because employment law claims have short deadlines.

The reason this is important is if you wait too long, you may be prevented from taking more formal action, such as making an employment law claim.

You can still of course look at resolving your issue internally, but you need to consider how long that process will take.

For example, if you think you were discriminated against at work, you have three months less 1 calendar day (so if the act complained of occurred on the 02 February, you have until the 01 May) to commence Early Acas Conciliation

Again, there are potential ways to salvage time limit issues, which are beyond the scope of this article, but it is always better not to fall out of time.

Our main point here is to be aware of the time limit, and if you act quickly, but the issues does not resolve informally and/or the informal process is approaching the end of the said time limit, you are aware of the necessity to act now or else potentially face being left with an out of time claim.

Delay in acting may mean you have no formal recourse at the Employment Tribunal because your claim is out of time.

Further, waiting too long to act can prejudice Constructive Unfair Dismissal claims (see our other article on this subject for further information.)

What do you want to achieve?

This is important to think about, because if you are not clear on your ideal outcome, it is difficult to navigate there. Think of it like trying to use a Sat Nav without an address.

Knowing your ideal outcome will inevitably influence what you do next.

For example, if you love your job, really want to stay there, but want to fix this issue, then you may decide to first (and quickly) resolve the situation with the relevant colleague/manager (first trying a more informal approach).

On the other hand, if you can’t wait to leave your employment, and the thought of working there another week gives you nightmares, you may instruct a lawyer to help negotiate an exit for you.

At Toner Legal, our focus is on identifying your ideal outcome, so we can take the appropriate steps to get you there. If you are not sure, we will help you decide.

FAQ: Addressing Issues at Work

What should I do if I’m facing issues at work?

When facing issues at work, it’s important to act quickly and consider seeking professional advice. Issues are unlikely to resolve themselves and can worsen if left unaddressed. Identifying your desired outcome and understanding your rights are crucial steps.

What are some common issues employees face at work?

Common issues include:

  • Changes to terms and conditions.
  • Feeling pressured or bullied.
  • Discrimination.
  • Lack of training.
  • Difficult working relationships.
  • Job duties and responsibilities.
  • Work-related stress.
  • Working hours.
  • Lack of promotion.
  • Organisational changes.

How long must I be employed to claim unfair dismissal?

To claim unfair dismissal, including constructive unfair dismissal, you need at least 2 years of continuous service. However, there are exceptions, such as discrimination or health and safety concerns, where you can raise issues without the 2-year requirement. How you address issues at work may vary depending on your length of service and having unfair dismissal rights can offer more protection.

How does my notice period affect my situation?

Your notice period can provide some protection when raising issues at work. Employees with longer notice periods or who have passed their probationary period may have more leverage. Knowing your notice period helps in understanding your job security while addressing concerns.

What are the time limits for taking action in employment disputes?

Employment law claims have short deadlines. For instance, discrimination claims must be brought within three months less one day from the act complained of. It’s essential to act quickly to avoid missing these deadlines, which could prevent you from pursuing formal action. See our Employment Tribunal Time Limit Calculator for more information.

What should I consider before raising an issue at work?

Consider the following:

  • How long you have been employed.
  • Your notice period.
  • The nature and seriousness of the issue.
  • Your desired outcome (e.g., resolving the issue, negotiating an exit).
  • Potential repercussions and your rights under employment law.

What should I do if I think my employer has breached my contract?

Do not resign immediately. Take professional advice (quickly) to understand if the breach is serious enough to justify a claim for constructive dismissal. Acting too quickly without advice may weaken your position. Stay employed while seeking guidance to potentially negotiate a better exit package.

What is constructive dismissal?

Constructive dismissal occurs when an employee (with at least 2-years service) resigns due to their employer’s serious breach of contract. It requires proving that the breach was fundamental and that you resigned promptly in response to this breach.

How can I achieve my desired outcome when facing work issues?

Identify your ideal outcome and take appropriate steps to achieve it. If you want to stay employed, try resolving the issue informally first. If you wish to leave, consider negotiating an exit with the help of a lawyer. Clear goals will guide your actions and decisions.

What should I do if my issue at work involves discrimination or whistleblowing?

Discrimination and whistleblowing claims do not require 2 years of service. Seek professional advice to understand your rights and the best approach to take.

How can Toner Legal help me with issues at work?

At Toner Legal, we specialise in helping employees navigate work issues. We provide expert advice, help you identify your desired outcome, and assist in resolving the issue or negotiating an exit. Contact us for a free, no-obligation discussion to understand your options.


This article is for information purposes only. Nothing should be relied upon as a substitute for legal advice and nothing written should be construed as legal advice or perceived as creating a lawyer-client relationship.

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