22nd October 2007

INFORMATION
UPDATE

 Issue No.  2007/27

 Sentient
              

 

 HOW TO AVOID BEING CALLED TO THE EMPLOYMENT TRIBUNAL

 
Following our previous Information Update providing Employment Tribunal Statistics most employers might concede that the last place they would wish to attend is the Employment Tribunal!
 
It has to be said that with the ever growing ‘compo culture’, employees/workers are readily prepared to register claims before the Employment Tribunal as evidenced by the increase in number of claims being registered we previously reported.
 
By taking a few simple actions, you should be able to minimise the risk of being taken to an Employment Tribunal.
 
TERMS AND CONDITIONS
  • Ensure that every employee has been issued with a Principal Statement setting out their main terms and conditions of employment.  Ensure that it contains all the legally required provisions.  Retain evidence that it has been issued (by obtaining a signed copy of the Statement or a signed receipt from the employee).
  • If you have a handbook, ensure that every employee has signed a document to state that they have read, understood and accept to be bound by the contents of the employee handbook.
  • Ensure you have legally compliant, disciplinary and grievance procedures, (contained in your handbook) which employees know about. 
PAY
  • Have a clear, open and transparent policy on pay.
  • Ensure employees are being paid above the National Minimum Wage.
HOLIDAYS
  • Ensure that workers receive and take their statutory entitlement to holiday leave with pay.
HOURS
  • Ensure employees/workers’ hours are not breaching Working Time Regulations (e.g. 48 hour limit) and ensure that employees/workers are receiving their statutory breaks.
FAMILY FRIENDLY POLICIES
  • Be aware of your obligations regarding Maternity/Paternity Leave and Pay; Parental Leave; Adoption Leave and Pay, Dependent Leave; and Sick Pay.
TERMINATION
Discipline/Dismissal
  • Before taking any action, to discipline/dismiss an employee, investigate the conduct/capability fully.
  • Never dismiss staff on the spot – no matter how grave their alleged Conduct, there is still a procedure to follow.
  • Ensure that Managers know and use the correct procedure, which should as a minimum encompass the statutory three step discipline/dismissal procedure.
Redundancy
  • Ensure that there is a genuine redundancy situation.
  • Ensure that Managers know the correct procedure to adopt and that adequate consultation (including statutory measures if appropriate) and representation is provided.
Retirement
  • Before confirming an employee’s retirement, ensure the correct procedure has been followed.  This will include the requirement for employers to consider requests not to be retired.
GRIEVANCES
  • Never ignore an employee/worker’s grievance.
  • Ensure that Managers know and use the correct procedure which should as a minimum encompass the statutory three step grievance procedure.
FAIRNESS/CONSISTENCY
  • Ensure that Managers use procedures (e.g. discipline and grievance) consistently and fairly.
  • Be fair in your dealings with all staff.
  • Keep staff informed as to any changes that could affect their working practice.
EQUAL OPPORTUNITIES
  • Have an Equal Opportunities Policy and monitor equal opportunities to ensure that you do not directly or indirectly discriminate during the recruitment process or during the course of employment on grounds of sex, race, disability, age, religious belief, or sexual orientation.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
  • Provide a safe place of work and adhere to your obligations under Health and Safety.
 ABOVE ALL – TAKE ADVICE
Call us on 08456 446006
That 10 minute call could just prevent you ending up in Tribunal.
 
And finally…
 
If you receive Tribunal papers - act promptly, seek professional advice, and ensure the defence/response is submitted within the 28 day timescale. Don’t forget that the Employment Appeal Tribunal recently upheld a decision not to accept an unfair dismissal claim which was presented 88 seconds late. Late responses will be treated in the same way.
 

 

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The advice and comment in this update is not meant to be an authoritative statement of law. The articles and summaries should not be applied to any specific set of facts and circumstances without seeking further advice. Whilst every care is taken to ensure that the content is correct Sentient cannot accept responsibility for the accuracy of statements made nor the result of any actions taken by individuals after reading such.

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