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Clear policies and good communication can avoid employee claims

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Our employment team offers advice to businesses about ways of avoiding an HR issue escalating into a costly and time consuming employment tribunal claim.

1. Maintain Documentation

Make sure that all employment documentation, in particular contracts of employment, are in place, up to date and stored sensibly.

2. Review regularly

Regularly review your employment documents, such as your disciplinary procedure, to ensure they meet your organisational needs, reflect changes in the law and your culture.

3. Communicate effectively and be consistent

To avoid any potential misunderstanding, communicate your policies to staff so that there is no doubt what is expected and ensure that when required standards are not met, that you deal with issues consistently.

4. Provide training

Train line managers so that they have the knowledge to ensure that they are able to competently deal with staff issues, by following the correct procedure, without concerns.

5. Don’t discriminate

Be aware of the grounds on which discrimination can occur and ensure that there is no subconscious discrimination or ‘banter’ in the workforce which would offend.

6. Be proactive

Don’t ignore any warning signs - always try to address any issues informally at the earliest possible opportunity as many disputes that end up at tribunal could have been nipped in the bud had they been dealt with efficiently before the parties’ positions become polarised.

7. Document Decisions

Keep written records of all employment decisions whether it is as minor as cautioning employees on time keeping or your decision making process in ending employment and always follow up by communicating the outcome in writing.

8. Be pragmatic

If you find yourself on the receiving end of a tribunal claim, be pragmatic and commercial by ensuring that you go in to the process with your eyes wide open knowing the risk and cost you face so that you have an informed strategy from the outset.

9. Be transparent

Have a transparent pay, promotion and bonus structure in place to help avoid any equal pay claims. You can do this by being proactive and carrying out an equal pay audit which would provide a good defence should a claim be brought.

10. Seek advice

If you have any concerns, seek advice from an employment specialist at the earliest opportunity – a short early conversation could save you time and prevent the dispute escalating to the tribunal stage.

If you have any questions please contact the employment team.

Disclaimer: Anything posted on this blog is for general information only and is not intended to provide legal advice on any general or specific matter. Please refer to our terms and conditions for further information. Please contact the author of the blog if you would like to discuss the issues raised.