The Employment Law & HR Podcast
Protection for a Whistleblower: Episode 23

When is a Whistleblower protected from Dismissal & Detriment?

In this episode of the podcast I tell you about a recent case in the Employment Tribunal where an employee resigned in response to his concerns not being taken seriously by his employer and where he alleged he had received detrimental treatment. The case is Newman v Riverside Building Supplies.

In this episode you will learn

  • What constitutes a protected disclosure for whistleblowing protection
  • When a disclosure is in the public interest
  • Why you should take employee concerns seriously
  • When you should seek advice

HR Best Practice Tip

The HR tip of the week is about ensuring managers and supervisors are aware of the limits of their authority to dismiss and discipline employees.

Podcast references

Nurmohamed v Chesterton Global Limited (Trading as Chestertons)

Direct download: Episode_23.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:30am EDT

Unfair Dismissal: The Disciplinary Process

 

In this episode of the podcast I bring you details of a recent case decided by the Employment Appeal Tribunal about unfair dismissal and the process of dismissal. The appeal in this case involved various questions, importantly including whether or not a disciplinary process should be suspended whilst a related grievance is investigated.

In this episode you will learn

  • Whether a disciplinary procedure should be suspended pending a grievance outcome
  • About the best practice for disciplinary procedures
  • Why a delay in this case between decision and appeal led to a confusion of the issues
  • When you should seek advice

HR Best Practice Tip

The HR tip of the week is about dealing with disciplinary appeals and procedures, and I recommend that, where possible, you have a senior member of staff who is not involved in the investigation or early stages of the disciplinary.

Direct download: Episode_22.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:45am EDT

Focus on Constructive Unfair Dismissal: Episode 21

In this episode of the podcast I bring the focus back to constructive unfair dismissal and what employer's should do if they are faced with a resignation from an employee in a situation where there is a risk of a claim for constructive unfair dismissal.

In this episode you will learn

  • What constructive unfair dismissal is and when a claim can arise
  • Whether you can refuse to accept an employee's notice
  • What you can do to prevent a claim
  • How you can mitigate the situation and reduce compensation risk
  • When you should seek advice

HR Best Practice Tip

The HR tip of the week is about dealing with situations swiftly to prevent escalation to a claim and ensuring your managers are able to identify likely disputes and issues.

Direct download: Episode_21.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:30am EDT

The right to be accompanied: Episode 20

An employee's right to be accompanied at a disciplinary and grievance meeting

In this episode of the podcast I tell you about a recent change to the ACAS code of practice on disciplinary and grievances which has been brought about by a decision of the employment appeal tribunal on the question of whether or not an employer can refuse to allow the employee's particular choice of companion.

In this episode you will learn

  • What the Employment Appeal Tribunal said about the legal right to be accompanied
  • What changes this made to the ACAS Code of Practice
  • What it could cost an employer who refuses to allow an employee to be accompanied
  • Who the employee can be accompanied by
  • What an employer's options are with exercising their discretion over who can accompany an employee
  • When it may be a reasonable adjustment to allow an employee to be accompanied by someone other than required by law
  • When you should seek advice

HR Best Practice Tip

The HR tip of the week is about checking your employee or staff handbook to ensure any terms which are 'contractual' are clear and not likely to cause difficulty in the event that a dispute arises in the future.

Direct download: Episode_20.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:39am EDT

Changes to Employment Contracts: Episode 19

Can an employer make changes to employment contracts without consent?

In this episode of the podcast I bring you a recent case dealing with changes to employment contracts as well as an overview of an employer's options if an employee refuses to agree to the changes.

In this episode you will learn

  • When changes can be made without risk of breach of contract
  • What the options are if an employee refuses changes to employment contracts
  • Why the Employment Tribunals are reluctant to give employers wide discretion to make changes
  • Why you should have a general variation clause in your employment contracts
  • When to have a specific variation clause

HR Best Practice Tip

The HR tip of the week is about a service that I can provide to you to make your life much easier.

Direct download: Episode_19.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 2:33am EDT

Constructive Unfair Dismissal: Episode 18

 

Constructive Dismissal

In this episode of the podcast I bring you an overview of the law regarding Constructive Unfair Dismissal as set out in the Employment Rights Act 1996.

In this episode you will learn

  • What the difference is between Unfair Dismissal and Constructive Unfair Dismissal
  • Why it is important to distinguish between the two types of unfair dismissal claims
  • What the three things are that an employee will need to show to successfully claim constructive unfair dismissal
  • How the Tribunal decide these claims
  • What you should be aware of
  • I also give you some examples of real cases that have been decided by the Employment Tribunal

HR Best Practice Tip

The HR tip of the week is a simple one, essentially do not delay unnecessarily when it comes to employee issues.

Direct download: Episode_18.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 1:30am EDT

Vectis Radio Listener Questions Answered: Episode 17

Employer questions answered

In this episode of the podcast the format is a bit different as I was recently invited to be a guest on the Business Insight show on my local community radio, Vectis Radio and during the show I answered a number of listener employer questions from business owners. Thanks to the generosity of Vectis RadioDarren Fernando and Dale Howarth I have been able to share the audio from the show on this episode of the podcast.

The questions answered in this episode include….

  • How to deal with the new Shared Parental Leave regulations.
  • How to keep up to date with employment law as a small business.
  • How to address a customer complaint about a staff member in a small team.
  • What to do about an employee on maternity leave who probably won't return to work.
  • What to do about auto enrolment and the new pension scheme.
Direct download: Episode_17.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:04am EDT

Using E-Cigarettes at work

How do you deal with staff who 'Vape' at work

In this episode of the Podcast I give you a summary of a recent Employment Tribunal case within which the issue of the use of e-cigarettes at work resulted in an employee facing disciplinary action and resigning from her employment. In this case the employee Ms Insley was seen using an e-cigarette at work. She was a catering assistant at a secondary school. When the Headmaster reported the matter to her employer, Accent Catering, they started disciplinary proceedings, stating that it could be gross misconduct.

Ms Insley resigned and claimed constructive unfair dismissal in the Employment Tribunal.

Particularly you will learn….

  • What the current law is regarding e-cigarettes.
  • The points to consider when looking at staff use of e-cigarettes at work. 
  • Why you should review your smoking policy and notify staff of the changes fairly urgently.
  • What the decision means for your business.
  • Why Ms Insley perhaps would have been better to wait for decision from her employer before resigning.

HR Best Practice Tip

The HR tip of the week follows several issues that have been raised by my clients about managing poor performance of staff and the uncomfortable feeling of doing this.

Direct download: Episode_16.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 12:30am EDT

Misuse of Twitter & Unfair Dismissal : Episode 15

What happens when an employee tweets offensive comments

In this episode of the Podcast I give you a summary of a recent Employment Appeal Tribunal case within which the issue of the misuse of an employees personal twitter account resulted in his dismissal for gross misconduct.  In this case the employee Mr Laws tweeted offensive messages (28 in total) on his personal account and although his account and the tweets were unrelated to work he was dismissed for gross misconduct by his employer Game Retail Limited.

Mr Laws was successful with his claim in the Employment Tribunal for unfair dismissal but the Employment Appeal Tribunal thought that the Tribunal had not applied the correct tests or considered the correct questions when deciding the case.

Particularly you will learn….

  • What the correct test for reasonableness of a dismissal is.
  • The points to consider when disciplining or dismissing an employee for social media comments.
  • Precautions you should take when dealing with social media issues.
  • What the decision means for your business.
  • The background to the decision.

HR Best Practice Tip

The HR tip of the week follows the featured case and gives guidance on your social media policy, why you need one and what you should do to prevent issues.

Podcast references

Game Retail Limited v Mr C Laws

If you would like to read a full copy of the Judgement you can find a copy by clicking EAT full decision Game Retail Limited v Mr Laws

Direct download: Episode_15.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EDT

Reinstatement following Dismissal : Episode 14

What happens when an employee is successful with their appeal

In this episode of the Podcast I give you a summary of a recent Employment Appeal Tribunal case within which the issue of reinstatement of an employee following a successful appeal against dismissal was discussed. In this case the employee Mrs Salmon was dismissed for gross misconduct by her employer Castlebeck Care Limited.

Mrs Salmon appealed against her dismissal and between her dismissal and her appeal taking place her former colleagues transferred under the TUPE regulations to employment with Danshell Healthcare Limited.

Although Mrs Salmon's appeal was apparently successful and the decision deemed 'unsafe' by Danshell's HR Director (who had transferred from Castlebeck Care) her employment was not reinstated and so she made a claim for unfair dismissal.

At the Employment Tribunal Mrs Salmon's claim for unfair dismissal was not allowed to continue against Danshell Healthcare as she was not an employee of Castlebeck immediately before the transfer to Danshell, which is a requirement of TUPE.

Mrs Salmon appealed against the decision and the Employment Appeal Tribunal considered whether her successful appeal against dismissal meant she had been reinstated and therefore was effectively an employee throughout.

Particularly you will learn….

  • What happens when an employees employment transfers under TUPE regulations
  • When an employees employment will be reinstated on appeal
  • The importance of getting your procedures right
  • What the decision means for your business
  • The background to the decision

HR Best Practice Tip

The HR tip of the week follows the recruitment theme, giving guidance on how to answer a request for feedback from an unsuccessful candidate.

Podcast references

Salmon v (1) Castlebeck Care (Teesdale) Ltd (In Administration) (2) Danshell Healthcare Ltd and others

Direct download: Episode_14.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 3:26am EDT