Here’s what I know: 2022 makes an example of companies that ignore HR rules

Peter Done: Group Managing Director and Founder

December 09 2022

From mass redundancy controversies to freedom of speech, it doesn’t matter how big they are, no one is above the law.

This year has proven that having robust HR policies and processes isn’t just preferable, it’s essential.

Back in April, P&O Ferries dismissed 800 employees with a plan to replace them with cheaper staff. In doing so, they failed to take the necessary HR steps to avoid legal risk. They didn’t consult. They didn’t provide notice. And most importantly, they misapplied the label of redundancy.

The cost? Reputation. Credibility. The gain? An overwhelming swarm of unfair dismissal claims (which they were likely to lose).

Earlier this month, Elon Musk terminated the jobs of thousands of Twitter employees. He then gave the remaining staff an ultimatum. Accept new working conditions or leave. Again, no opportunities for negotiation. No opportunities for appeal. The result? We have yet to learn the true impact of Twitter 2.0, but we know staff have filed a lawsuit.

HR practices should form the framework of a business. This is what keeps companies safe and successful. Without them, where is the line? Who is upholding the rights of the employee? Who is upholding the rights of the employer?

When an employee raises an offensive opinion, the next steps aren’t always obvious. What might seem like an acceptable reason for dismissal could turn on its head. We’ve seen it happen. This year, researcher Maya Forstater successfully won a claim for direct discrimination after losing her job for posting gender-critical opinions on social media.

We’ve seen big legal updates come in around right to work checks, employment status, strike action, tipping, and more. Employment law is constantly changing. Which is why keeping up with every update becomes a challenge. And when an update happens, paperwork needs to update with it.

The bottom line? If in doubt, seek advice. And even if not in doubt, check. As we head into 2023, it’s vital that you review your documentation, your onboarding, and your processes. Fortunately, what would be a complicated and time-consuming task becomes quick and simple when your expert adviser is on hand to help. Any questions. Any big decisions. Give us a call. 

Suggested Resources