Friday, 31 August 2018 13:37

Top Five No-Nos

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We’ve had a look at the cases and incidents we’ve been asked to support with over the past few months and it’s apparent that there are a few practices that employers are still carrying out that they really shouldn’t be.

Some are clear cut absolute No-Nos and a sure-fire, one way ticket to Employment Tribunal whilst some are perhaps a little more subject to opinion. Bearing this in mind, we’ve compiled our top five Do Not Do list. Have a look through and you can give yourself a pat on the back if you can honestly say you’re not guilty of any of the following.

If you find there may be one or two areas that are open to debate, perhaps you should give us a call. Prevention is better than cure after all. Here goes:

  • DO NOT ask for any medical history as part of the application process. We still see this on some companies’ application forms. It’s actually unlawful to ask for any medical information during the recruitment process unless it is categorically intrinsic to the position being applied for. Asking somebody who is required to use breathing apparatus as part of their job if they have any history of respiratory disease might be an instance where it’s acceptable, but even then, only where it’s relevant.

  • DO NOT circumvent your disciplinary process. You can’t just sack someone or even issue a warning on the spot. You must be seen to follow due process. Even for gross misconduct you should hold an investigation followed by a disciplinary hearing. If the result is some disciplinary action including dismissal you must offer the chance to appeal. If you don’t want the employee on the premises you can suspend them. The only exception is when an employee is still in their probationary period. Strictly speaking you can just dismiss if an employee has less than two years’ service but we recommend that you still follow your processes so that you are not accused of wrongful dismissal.

  • DO NOT fail to hold and record performance meetings. Getting rid of an under-performing employee is much more difficult if you do not review their performance and keep a record. During the review discuss their performance and how they are doing against targets. Set new targets that you can review at the next meeting and keep the targets SMART so that the employee can be properly held accountable. Make sure that targets are agreed and a copy of paperwork is signed by them so they can’t argue against it. Apart from anything else, performance reviews are excellent for staff morale and productivity so you should be doing them regardless.

  • DO NOT treat contractors as if they are employees. If you have people working for you on a self-employed sub-contract basis, do not give them uniform, make their contract exclusive to you or dictate when they can take holiday. This sort of behaviour means you’re treating them as though they are an employee and you run a risk of being asked to fulfil all your employer obligations like paid holiday and sick pay. The recent Pimlico Plumbers case has become the poster-boy of how not to treat your contractors.

  • DO NOT be inconsistent with policy application. If you have a policy that says you do something a certain way then do it like that and apply it across all staff consistently. You are up against something called “Custom and Practice” which broadly means that your rules and polices are the way you act them not the way they are written down. So if you give one employee paid time off work to go to the dentist or watch their child’s nativity play, you’re going to have to do that for everybody or risk a discrimination claim. If you’ve started shutting up the shop early on a Friday and you maintain this for a few months, don’t be surprised if you get a backlash from your workers when you suddenly ask them to stay until 5.00pm. Custom and practice comes up in disciplinary issues a lot. Be mindful of when there is a chance it’s happening.

How did you do? Well done if you can hand-on-heart say that none of these apply, but if you think you might need support with one or two, we here to help on 01452 331331 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Read 310 times Last modified on Friday, 31 August 2018 13:42

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HR Champions provide first class HR and Employment Law support and advice to UK businesses; operationally and strategically. If you're an employer you'll potentially need some, if not all, of the services we offer.

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