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Generally offers of employment are conditional, i.e. upon condition that the employee supplies:

  • evidence of eligibility to work in the UK; and/or
  • names for the provision of satisfactory references (and that the references turn out to be satisfactory); and/or
  • medical information; and/or
  • the satisfactory completion of a probation period; and/or
  • proof of qualifications.

Normally an offer letter with a contract of employment and employee handbook will be sent to the employee, with the offer becoming legally binding at the point at which they are posted.

Offers of employment can be verbally made and accepted, but this is not recommended.

If conditions relating to the offer of employment are substantially not met, the employment can be brought to an end, but advice from us should always be sought under these circumstances.

Whether or not formal terms are written down (the employment contract) the law implies certain terms of employment. These may not be the terms the employer wanted and so a formal written contract is strongly advised, and in any case written terms must be supplied by law after 2 months of employment. Failing to do so could result in a 2-4 weeks award at employment tribunal, and an award would be a racing certainty if the employee ever had cause to take you to a tribunal in the future.

Typical employment law pitfalls

Employing people who do not have a legal right to work in the UK can attract heavy penalties for employers. Failing to provide at least written particulars (preferably a contract) will inevitably lead to an additional award in the case of tribunal proceedings. Discrimination in recruitment practices presents significant risks (with potentially unlimited compensation awards). Unconditional binding employment offers can inadvertently be made over the telephone.

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