Legal Notice to Employee or Employer

by  Adv. Priyanka Sampathy  

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Mastering Legal Notices in Employment

In the complex landscape of employment, disputes and grievances between employers and employees may necessitate the issuance of a legal notice. This formal communication, often the precursor to legal action, is a crucial step in addressing grievances, seeking resolution, and ensuring compliance with relevant laws. In the Indian context, legal notices are governed by sections of the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) and the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

This comprehensive guide aims to provide an in-depth understanding of the nuances involved in drafting and responding to legal notices in the employment sphere, including key legal sections, the drafting process, and essential documents.

Types of Notice to Employer/Employee

1. Show Cause Notice

Issued by Employer Used when an employer seeks an explanation from an employee regarding a specific action or behaviour that is deemed inappropriate or against company policies.

Issued by Employee This could be issued by an employee seeking clarification or justification for certain actions taken by the employer that affect the employee.

2. Termination Notice

Issued by Employer Informs an employee about the termination of their employment and states the reasons for the termination.

Issued by Employee This could be issued by an employee contesting the grounds of their termination or seeking additional information.

3. Legal Notice for Unfair Dismissal

Issued by Employee In cases where an employee believes they were unfairly dismissed, this notice may be served to the employer outlining the grounds for contesting the dismissal and seeking resolution.

4. Notice for Breach of Employment Contract

 Issued by Employer Informs an employee about their alleged breach of the employment contract and details the specific terms that have been violated.

Issued by Employee This could be issued by an employee claiming that the employer has breached the terms of the employment contract.

5. Notice for Non-Payment of Dues

Issued by Employee Informs the employer about unpaid wages, pending bonuses, or any other dues, seeking immediate payment.

Issued by Employer This could be issued by the employer to notify the employee about any outstanding dues owed to the company.

6. Harassment Complaint Notice

Issued by Employee Lodged against an employer or fellow employee for alleged harassment, discrimination, or a hostile work environment.

issued by Employer This could be issued by the employer in response to a harassment complaint, outlining the actions taken to investigate and address the issue.

7. Legal Notice for Defamation

Issued by Employee In cases where an employee believes their reputation has been damaged by false statements made by the employer or colleagues.

Issued by Employer This could be issued by the employer if they believe the employee has made false and damaging statements about the company or its employees.

8. Notice for Non-Compliance with Company Policies

Issued by Employer Informs an employee about their failure to comply with specific company policies or procedures, highlighting the consequences.

Issued by Employee This could be issued by an employee questioning the validity or fairness of certain company policies.

9. Legal Notice for Non-Compete Violation

Issued by Employer Informs a former employee about the violation of a non-compete agreement, specifying the alleged breaches.

Issued by Employee This could be issued by the employee challenging the enforceability or fairness of the non-compete clause.

10. Notice for Violation of Confidentiality Agreement

Issued by Employer Alerts an employee about the breach of confidentiality terms and outlines the consequences.

Issued by Employee This could be issued by the employee challenging the accusations or seeking clarification.

Understanding the Legal Framework

1. Civil Procedure Code (CPC)

Section 80 of CPC Mandatory Notice Requirement

Section 80 of the CPC mandates that a notice be served to the government or a public officer before suing. This provision is significant in cases where the government or a public officer is involved in employment disputes. Failure to comply with this requirement can result in the dismissal of the case.

Sections 73 and Order XXI of CPC Execution of Orders

In employment cases, obtaining a favourable order is only part of the battle. Ensuring the execution of the order is equally important. Sections 73 and Order XXI of the CPC deal with the intricacies of executing orders, including the recovery of monetary sums.

Order XLIII of CPC Appeals from Orders under Section 104

Order XLIII is particularly relevant when either party involved in the employment dispute wishes to appeal an order issued under Section 104 of the CPC. This order provides the framework for filing appeals.

Order XXVII of CPC Suits Involving Substantial Questions of Law

Certain employment disputes may involve substantial questions of law. In such cases, Order XXVII of the CPC provides the procedure for dealing with suits where a substantial question of law is involved.

2. Indian Penal Code (IPC)

Sections 499 and 500 of IPC Defamation

In employment disputes, allegations and statements made by either party can sometimes cross the line into defamation. Sections 499 and 500 of the IPC define defamation and prescribe punishment for the same. These sections are crucial in cases where damage to reputation is alleged.

Drafting a Legal Notice to the Employee or Employer

Key Components

1. Header

Begin with your name, address, and contact details. Include the date of issuing the notice.

2. Recipient Details

Specify the name and address of the recipient—either the employee or employer.

3. Subject

Clearly state that it is a legal notice to provide immediate context.

4. Introduction

Present a concise background and context leading to the issuance of the notice.

5. Grievances

Outline specific grievances, including detailed accounts of relevant incidents and dates.

6. Legal Grounds

Reference the applicable legal sections (CPC, IPC) that form the basis of the notice.

7. Demands

Clearly articulate the actions expected to be taken by the recipient within a specified time.

8. Consequences

Explicitly mention the legal actions that may ensue if the outlined demands are not met.

9. Contact Information

Include your lawyer’s details if legal representation is involved.

10. Signature

Conclude the notice with your signature to authenticate it.

Sample Legal Notice Format to Employee/Employer

[Your Name] 

[Your Address] 

[City, State, ZIP Code] 

[Date]

[Recipient’s Name] 

[Recipient’s Address] 

[City, State, ZIP Code]

Subject: Legal Notice for Breach of Employment Agreement

Dear [Recipient’s Name],

I trust this letter finds you well. I am writing to bring to your attention certain matters related to our employment agreement dated [Date], which require immediate resolution to avoid legal consequences.

Introduction:

Having joined [Company Name] on [Joining Date] as [Your Position], it has been my utmost priority to contribute positively to the company’s success and adhere to all terms outlined in our employment agreement.

Grievances:

Regrettably, I have observed a breach of certain clauses outlined in the agreement. Specifically, [mention the nature of the breach – e.g., non-payment of agreed-upon salary, violation of non-compete clause, etc.].

Legal Grounds:

As per the employment agreement, specifically referring to Section [X] – [Name of Section], any breach thereof constitutes grounds for legal action. It is my belief that your actions are not in accordance with the mutually agreed-upon terms.

Demands:

In light of the aforementioned grievances, I hereby demand [specify your demands – e.g., immediate rectification of the issue, payment of outstanding dues, etc.] within [reasonable time frame, e.g., 14 days] from the date of receipt of this notice.

Consequences:

Please be advised that failure to comply with the demands outlined herein will leave me with no option but to pursue legal remedies available to me, including filing a formal complaint with the labour department and seeking damages for breach of contract.

Your Contact Information:

I am open to an amicable resolution and can be contacted at [Your Phone Number] or [Your Email Address] to discuss this matter further.

Sincerely, 

[Your Signature]

[Your Typed Name] 

[Your Designation] 

[Your Contact Information]

Responding to a Legal Notice

Responding to a legal notice is a critical aspect that demands careful consideration. Seeking legal counsel to draft a well-articulated response is essential. The response should comprehensively address each point raised in the notice to avoid further legal consequences.

Documents Required for Drafting and Responding

1. Legal Notice

Retain a copy of the legal notice sent or received.

2. Identity Proof

Establish your identity, whether as an employee or employer.

3. Employment Contract

Reference the terms and conditions agreed upon during employment.

4. Witness Statements

If applicable, gather statements from witnesses supporting your position.

5. Legal Counsel Details

Maintain the contact details of your legal representation.

6. Response Letter

If responding, ensure a professionally drafted response letter.

Legal Considerations and Sectional Analysis

Responding Strategically

Receiving a legal notice can be a stressful experience, but a strategic and well-thought-out response is essential. Here are key considerations

1. Seek Legal Counsel

Engage with a legal professional to guide you through the intricacies of the legal notice.

2. Understand the Allegations

Clearly comprehend the grievances presented in the legal notice.

3. Gather Evidence

Collect evidence supporting your position, including documents and witness statements.

4. Legal Sections Application

Analyze the legal sections referred to in the notice and assess their applicability.

5. Draft a Comprehensive Response

Respond to each point raised in the notice clearly and comprehensively.

6. Timely Response

Ensure that your response is submitted within the stipulated timeframe.

Conclusion

Navigating legal notices in the employment domain requires a nuanced understanding of the relevant legal sections and a strategic approach to drafting and responding. Whether you are the issuer or the recipient of a legal notice, seeking legal counsel ensures that your actions align with the legal framework, enhancing the prospects of a favourable resolution.

Remember, legal notices are pivotal in shaping the trajectory of subsequent legal proceedings; therefore, meticulous attention to detail and adherence to legal protocols are paramount.

Frequently Asked Questions on Legal Notices to Employee/ Employer

1. What is a legal notice in the context of employment?

Ans1. A legal notice in employment is a formal communication, often in writing, that conveys legal information, rights, obligations, or grievances between employers and employees. It serves as a precursor to legal actions and is governed by specific legal sections.

2. When is it necessary to issue a legal notice in the workplace?

Ans2. Legal notices in the workplace are typically issued when there are disputes, violations of terms, breaches of contract, or any other legal matter that requires formal communication. It is a way to address issues before resorting to legal proceedings.

3. What legal sections are relevant in the issuance of a legal notice of employment?

Ans3. The legal sections can vary, but common references include sections under the Civil Procedure Code (CPC) and Indian Penal Code (IPC). Relevant sections depend on the nature of the dispute, such as non-compliance, termination, or contractual issues.

4. Can an employee issue a legal notice to an employer?

Ans4. Yes, employees can issue legal notices to employers. Common scenarios include disputes related to wrongful termination, non-payment of dues, or violation of employment terms. The notice outlines grievances and demands corrective actions.

5. What should be included in a legal notice to an employee?

Ans5. A legal notice to an employee should include details about the issue, relevant legal sections, a clear description of the violation or dispute, and a demand for specific actions or remedies. It should be drafted professionally and with legal precision.

6. How should an employer respond to a legal notice from an employee?

Ans6. Employers should respond promptly and professionally to legal notices. The response should address the concerns raised, present the employer’s stance, and outline any legal actions or remedies the employer intends to take. Seeking legal advice is often recommended.

7. What documents are required for drafting a legal notice in employment cases?

Ans7. Documents may include employment contracts, termination letters, communication records, and any evidence supporting the claims or defences. The completeness of documentation enhances the legal strength of the notice.

8. Is there a specific time frame for responding to a legal notice in employment matters?

Ans8. While there is no strict time frame defined, prompt responses are advisable. Typically, a response within 15 to 30 days is considered reasonable. However, specific timelines may depend on the nature of the dispute and legal requirements.

9. Can legal notices lead to court proceedings?

Ans9. Yes, if the issues raised in the legal notice are not resolved amicably, either party may initiate court proceedings. The legal notice serves as a precursor, indicating the intention to escalate the matter legally if a resolution is not achieved.

10. How can employees and employers benefit from understanding legal notices in the workplace?

Ans10. Understanding legal notices helps both parties navigate workplace disputes more effectively. It enables informed decision-making, promotes fair practices, and, in many cases, prevents lengthy legal battles.

Empower your legal communication. Explore our in-depth guide on issuing and responding to notices in the workplace.

Adv. Priyanka Sampathy

Adv. Priyanka Sampathy

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Priyanka Sampathy is a legal consultant who prioritises ethical and professional conduct while striving to achieve desired outcomes. With over 15 years of independent practice, she has significant expertise in handling legal cases. Her exceptional communication skills enable her to express arguments in a clear and persuasive manner, both in writing and verbally, in Hindi, English, and Telugu.

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