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03 September 2021 Employment advice

The last 18 months have seen employers turn on a dime to keep their business on track, while guarding the health and wellbeing of staff and customers.  While flexibility has been key, it has also been important to update and comply with frequently changing health and safety policies. ‘However, many companies have struggled financially and in order to get their business back on track there will be a keen focus on performance and productivity,’ says Gillian Reid, a Solicitor in the employment team with Pearsons & Ward. With the future of the business at stake, managers may not be able to be quite so lenient with staff if targets are not being met and may need to dust off their disciplinary and performance management procedures.  As Covid restrictions loosen in different ways in different sectors, then…
30 August 2021 Employment advice

This article covers: Social Media No Jab, No Job Discrimination & Hypersensitivity UK Right to Work Hybrid Working Social Media Can your social media posts get you into trouble at work? You may have heard that England lost the 2020 Euro final 3-2 on penalties. Heart breaking - but then the racist tweets began. Arrests have followed and a high-profile estate agents suspended an alleged racist tweeter. Does your organisation have a social media policy? Doubling down on privacy settings isn’t always the solution – screenshots can easily be taken and shared Workers should check their posts for discriminatory remarks and harassment If a worker claims unfair dismissal, the Employment Tribunal must consider three aspects of the employer’s conduct as set out in the test in British Home Stores -v- Burchell…
20 August 2021 Employment advice

Some sectors, such as healthcare and construction, rely on a ready supply of temporary staff, and it is a rare business that does not need to use agency workers from time to time.  The rights of agency workers have been under considerable government scrutiny recently, and changes are on the horizon that will affect any business which uses a temp agency.   Gillian Reid, employment law expert with Pearsons & Ward in Malton, outlines the current employment rights for agency workers’, how you can reduce risks to your business and the future changes expected in 2021. Agency workers’ rights Here is a summary of the most significant rights for agency workers: access to staff facilities, such as a canteen or work gym, on no less favourable terms than other comparable staff unless you can objectively…
17 August 2021 Employment advice

What do the following have in common? A managing director punches an employee at a drinking session in the early hours; a self-employed doctor sexually assaults a bank’s prospective employees during pre-employment medical checks; a petrol station attendant violently assaults a customer, and an IT auditor releases personal data for staff at Morrisons?  The answer: the employer was held liable for each of these incidents. In light of recent judgments showing the courts’ increasing willingness to find employers liable for wrongful acts towards employees and customers, Gillian Reid, employment law expert with Pearsons & Ward, outlines the ways employers can be held to be liable and what employers should do to protect themselves. Discrimination and harassment If one of your employees discriminates against a job applicant, such as by refusing to recruit because of the applicant’s…
03 August 2021 Employment advice

Despite all your best efforts to recruit and retain the right key executives, sometimes things just do not work out as planned and it becomes evident that it will be necessary to part company. ‘Managing the departure of a senior executive carefully, and within the law, will reduce the risk of a tribunal claim, protect your business’s customers and reputation, and should ensure as little disruption as possible’, says Gillian Reid, a Solicitor in the employment team with Pearsons & Ward who looks at the main areas for employers to address when it is time to say goodbye. First step: check the agreements Collect the suite of documents that set out the executive’s rights and obligations on departure. These may include: the contract of employment or service agreement; commission or bonus agreements; and corporate documents…
12 July 2021 Employment advice

The Institute for Fiscal Studies reports that currently 1 in 8 workers is furloughed, that’s 3.4 million jobs, at a cost of £2.2 billion to the government.  The furlough scheme is due to be entirely phased out by the end September 2021, and with that we anticipate a rise in the number of redundancies as businesses assess the impact of the pandemic. It is very likely this will lead to an increase in the amount of cases brought to the Employment Tribunal, particularly for claims such as unfair dismissal. Furloughed workers have the same redundancy rights as any other employee, including in relation to protection from unfair dismissal (for those with 2 or more years’ service) and discrimination and so it’s vital that employers select and dismiss for redundancy correctly in accordance with the law (that…
05 July 2021 Employment advice

Despite the success of the vaccine programme, the impact of the pandemic on businesses will continue for some time. For example, when the furlough scheme ends in the autumn, it is expected that the number of employment tribunal claims will rise and case law will take even longer to filter through to policies and practice. ‘Meanwhile, we are starting to see tribunal cases relating to the Covid risk in the workplace and, so far, the outcomes are generally encouraging for employers,’ says Gillian Reid, a Solicitor in the employment team with Pearsons & Ward. ‘Although these are only tribunal decisions and other tribunals do not have to follow them, they offer some reassurance to those employers who have brought in Covid-secure measures.’ In our latest round-up of key employment law cases, Gillian Reid also looks at…
11 June 2021 Employment advice

The official government message encouraging people to work from home is expected to end with the final step out of lockdown. For many employees though, homeworking is here to stay. According to a recent BBC survey, 43 of 50 big UK employers will not bring staff back to the office full time. Instead, employees will mix homeworking and coming into the office. For businesses considering hybrid working, Gillian Reid, Head of Employment with Pearsons & Ward explains how to build on the lessons learned during the pandemic, as well as practical and contractual issues to consider and pitfalls to avoid. Feedback and reflection A really worthwhile exercise is to find out from employees about their experience of homeworking. This can be done through an anonymous survey, team meetings or employee representative groups. Important questions include which…
28 May 2021 Employment advice

Easing out of lockdown will prompt employers to focus on how to manage a return to the workplace, especially for reluctant returners after long absence during the pandemic. In the recent case of Rodgers v Leeds Laser Cutting Limited an employee was dismissed when he refused to return to work because he was worried about COVID-19. The employment tribunal dismissed his automatic unfair dismissal claim for two main reasons: his employer had followed government guidance on making its workplace COVID secure; and the Claimant had not raised any meaningful concerns about workplace safety, and so did not hold a reasonable belief that there was serious and imminent danger, for the protection from dismissal under sections 100(1)(d) and (e) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 to apply. Please note that this decision relates to the specific facts in this…
18 May 2021 Employment advice

This article covers: Working from Home Fire and Rehire Gig Economy Sleep ins Line of Duty? 1. Working from Home The popularity of remote working is on the rise but there are pitfalls for both employer and worker. The Office for National Statistics in its report Homeworking hours, rewards and opportunities in the UK: 2011 to 2020 found that 35.9 percent of the UK workforce worked some of their time at home in 2020, an increase of 9.4 percent over the previous year. But this was not spread evenly over the country or the economy. For example, those who worked at home earned about 20 percent more than those who didn’t, and there was more homeworking in the South East than in the North East of England. IT, professional, scientific and technical, and financial…
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