Make Sure a Tribunal Doesn't Ruin Your Reputation

Peninsula Team

August 26 2009

The Peninsula Advice Service is on hand to help ensure your business follows the correct employment law guidelines day in day out. And, provided you follow the advice given by Peninsula, you will be covered against any costs relating to a Tribunal. Just call the Advice Service on 0844 892 2772, they are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year and ready to help.

The recent Abercrombie & Fitch Tribunal claim illustrates just how much a Tribunal can damage the reputation of your business. It doesn’t matter how squeaky clean you are or how established your brand is, one Tribunal case can cost you business. For smaller companies whose core business comes from the local area, the bad publicity from a Tribunal case could potentially, in the current economic market, damage their business.

The recent Tribunal decision involving fashion retailer Abercrombie & Fitch has sparked a wave of criticism of their company policies and the negativity surrounding the case is sure to have a direct impact on their sales. They had hired an employee to work on the sales floor and, after finding out she had a prosthetic arm, allowed her to wear a cardigan when on the shop floor. However, the store decided that the cardigan could not be worn as this was a violation of their look’s policy’ and as a consequence the employee was told to work in the stockroom until the winter uniform arrives’. Riam Dean, the employee concerned won her Tribunal when the Tribunal ruled that she had been wrongfully dismissed and unlawfully harassed.

So what does this case teach us? Legislation is constantly changing to develop equality within the job market and so discrimination laws are in place to ensure that everyone competes on an even playing field. With these laws in place it is vital that your policies and procedures are watertight and that you do not discriminate against any employee or interview candidate, remembering you can be taken to a Tribunal before you have even held interviews under discrimination laws.

When looking to develop your policies, it is key that you have some type of expert knowledge available to you, whether this is from outsourcing HR or your HR manager. Clients of Peninsula should of course be ringing straight through to the Advice Service so that we can help tailor-make a policy for your business.

Employers should look at the recent Abercrombie & Fitch case as a warning and re-assess their equal opportunities policies and ensure they do not fall foul and end up at Tribunal. Ensure that your management team are aware any changes you make to your policies and procedures so that they can implement them into the day today running of your business. Always remember, one disgruntled employee filing a Tribunal case could cost you your reputation and, in some cases, even your business.

The Advice Service is available to all Peninsula clients and can be accessed by calling 0844 892 2772. However, if you are not a Peninsula client and you are facing a Tribunal, it is not too late to get our help. Call Carole Keenan on 0800 328 9348 and see if Peninsula can help.

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