You will be in one of two situations: you are abreast of the current state of play in UK employment legislation, you know exactly what your employees are entitled to and you know what actions you have to take to ensure you protect yourself from being taken to a Tribunal. Alternatively, you don’t print off the internet every new Act of Parliament, read every ACAS Code of Practice or pore over every Tribunal judgment the country emits. The likelihood is that the running of your business takes up every spare second and you don’t have the time or inclination to check what the current rate of Statutory Sick Pay is. Because of this, where you have professional employment law help and advice available to you, this really is the best route to take, whether your query is simply about the rate of SSP or how to handle a tricky redundancy situation.
Being given instant up to date legal guidance when you have a situation with one of your employees could prevent the matter escalating and, potentially, save a day or two at Tribunal and a financial penalty.
An example: One of your employees comes to you and tells you that some of her colleagues have been ‘bullying’ her – leaving her out of conversations, sending derogatory emails to each other about her, stealing things from her desk and whispering in her presence. You may decide to tell her to pull her herself together and just get on with her job, she’s an adult for heaven’s sake. Making a phone call and getting some legal advice, on the other hand, would inform you that what your employee has actually done is raise a grievance with you. The ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures tell us how employers should deal with grievances that the employee wishes to resolve formally. Getting advice would inform you that you need to invite the employee to a hearing, allowing the employee to bring a companion, investigate the complaint, decide on appropriate action, let the employee know what you have decided and allow the employee to appeal. A successful result on her behalf may well see her moved to another team where she can once again work to her full potential.
Neglecting to seek advice may well see your employee continue to suffer at the hands of her colleagues, and feel that she can no longer work for you because of the bullying and your failure to deal with her complaint. Under these circumstances she could leave and be entitled to claim constructive dismissal at Tribunal with an award of over £70,000, with a potential 25% uplift of the award for failure to follow the ACAS Code of Practice.
Add this to the £1000+ you need to pay to reimburse the claimant for their claim fee and possible an extra financial penalty because the tribunal thought you should know better. Now really is the time to be taking advice from us.
Contact Peninsula online for advice on this issue, or call us on 0844 892 2772 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.