An employment contract is legally binding on both employee and employer. An employment relationship is also regulated by certain workplace policies, which have a crucial role to play in creating and maintaining a harmonious and efficient workplace environment. Conditions of employment and work policies may be breached by both the employee and employer. In such cases, both the employee and employer may take a number of remedial actions. If an employer alleges that the employee is in breach of a contractual term, the breach may be a ground for dismissal of the employee; if the employee alleges that the employer is in breach, the employee may resort to the remedies available.
A breach may be of a written employment contract, as well as a breach of verbal agreed terms between employer and employee. In the latter, all the facts and circumstances would need to be assessed to allege that there is a breach of these verbal terms.
Parties may choose to resolve the issue either formally or informally, with actions ranging from mediation, settlement agreements to legal action, to arbitration and finally through the civil courts.
Conditions of employment include wages, the period of employment, the hours of work and leave, and includes any conditions related to the employment of any employee under a contract of service, including any benefits arising therefrom, terms of engagement, terms of work participation, manner of termination of any employment agreement and the mode of settling any differences which may arise between the parties to the agreement.
The law also establishes recognised conditions of employment, which are conditions of employment prescribed in a national standard order, or in a sectoral regulation order, or a collective agreement or determined by voluntary settlement or required to be observed by the Employment and Industrial Relations Act.
If an employee alleges a breach of contract by the employer, the employee may forward his/her claim, which must be supported by documents, to the Department of Industrial and Employment Relations (DIER) which will investigate and take the necessary steps.
Criminal action can only be instituted by the Department within a prescriptive period of one year. This does not prejudice the employee’s right to institute civil action against the employer according to civil law. An employee may also institute an action within the civil court, instead of seeking the assistance of DIER.
In case of alleged unfair dismissal, discriminatory treatment, breach of the principle of equal pay for work of equal value, victimization, harassment and all the cases which refer to the Industrial Tribunal, the employee as a private individual can institute action before the Industrial Tribunal.
In case of recognised conditions of employment, if these are contravened, unless a different penalty is established for such an offence, the employer is liable to a fine (multa) of not less than €232.94 and not exceeding €2,329.37.
Where an employee is alleged to breach the employment contract, this may well result in a disciplinary process, which may also lead to dismissal. The employee is to seek legal advice should it have any doubt as to the fairness of a dismissal.
Although an employer can also pursue the employee for damages, this can only be in respect of financial loss which they have suffered as a result of the breach.
At Empleo, we provide legal advice and representation to employees on all matters outlined above, including advice and assistance in the course of a dispute with an employer.
Some of our services in this area include the following:
You may get in touch with us here to request an initial free legal consultation in relation to any of the matters outlined above.
Mariella graduated from the University of Malta with a doctorate in law in 2005. She completed a master’s degree in ‘European Private Law’ from the La Sapienza, University of Rome, and was admitted to the bar in Malta in 2006.
Mariella is a people person – and it is this attribute which has really characterised and shaped her career.
Over the years, she headed the legal departments of several corporate services firms. Due to her skillset, she was also entrusted with managing and overseeing operations and human resources, where she gained technical and practical experience in various corporate, commercial and employment matters.
Her practical hands-on experience and insight perfectly complement Mariella’s technical knowledge of employment law, thus placing her in an ideal position to understand and advise employers and employees alike on various matters that may arise at the workplace.
Mariella is passionate about employment law matters and provides her clients with the highest-quality legal service to achieve the best possible outcome and resolve any employment law related issues and concerns.
Bradley graduated Doctor of Laws from the University of Malta in 2005 and was admitted to the Bar in Malta in 2006. He advises clients on various corporate, commercial, employment and regulatory matters, with particular focus on company and financial services law.
He has assisted clients in various corporate and commercial matters by providing company law advice and assisting in the implementation of corporate finance, restructuring, mergers and acquisitions and similar transactions.
Bradley has also advised and assisted investment funds, fund managers and other investment services providers, banks and financial institutions, on various legal and regulatory matters relating to the setting up, authorisation and ongoing conduct of their activities in Malta.
His practice also covers general employment law matters. Bradley’s experience in company and financial services law enables him to focus on various corporate and regulatory aspects of employment relationships. In particular, he advises organisations on the implementation of employee share option and participation schemes, the implications of business transfers on employment relationships, as well as relations with senior employees.
Karl graduated Doctor of Laws from the University of Malta in 2005 and was admitted to the Bar in Malta in 2006.
Karl has gained considerable expertise in technology law and regularly assists clients in relation to intellectual property issues, commercial contracts and ways to ensure compliance with the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and privacy laws. Whilst such matters used to be only given incidental importance when dealing with employment matters, they are now widely acknowledged to be vital in all employment relationships.
He is also regularly engaged by C-level executives to assist in negotiating employment contracts and settlement agreements.
Karl advises across a multitude of industries including technology; marketing; adtech; financial services; gaming; esports; consumer products; and media and telecommunications.