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Archive

April, 2021

Tribunal tales #2 – tribunal trends

Posted on: April 28th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

Employment tribunal claims continue to increase by 25% on the previous year. Here’s Halborns’ take on why claims are on the increase and trends in the type of claim we’re seeing. 

Claims still risinglatest figures show the Tribunal Service receiving 25% more cases compared to the same period in the previous year (October to December). This is likely to be a result of the increase in unemployment at the end of last year. With the end of furlough over the coming months (and presumably a spike in redundancies) we’re likely to see further increases to the number of claims issued.

Trends in types of claim – as you’d expect, we’re seeing more and more claims issued in respect of redundancies. In particular, claims focus on unfair scoring practices when redundant employees are pooled for selection.

Tribunal backlog – with the increase in cases comes an ever-growing backlog of cases for tribunals to deal with. Although many more tribunal hearings are taking place remotely, the Tribunal Service caseload is at an all-time high. It’s currently not unheard of for tribunal claims to take two years to reach a hearing.

Expert advice at the start of any people challenge or process can help to minimise issues arising further down the line and reduce potential litigation risk. Find out more about securing unlimited employment law advice through our Intelligent Employment service.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (28 April 2021), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.

Free speech v harassment pt.2

Posted on: April 26th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

Expensive exits, tribunal claims, and reputational damage are all possible if ‘speaking out’ is ill-judged and discriminatory. Here are our thoughts on striking the right balance:

Champion inclusivity – lead from the top, train, and reinforce with clear policies on what’s acceptable, what’s encouraged, and how to handle concerns. You can access our ‘dignity at work’ policy through Intelligent Employment, find out more here.

Empower – support with tools and training to identify issues, call out inappropriate behaviour, and nip issues in the bud. Click here for more detail on our sessions in this area.

‘Social’ media – be sure to make clear the boundaries and responsibilities required of your employees when using social media.

Supporting silence – remind employees that often there’s nothing wrong in withholding an opinion – you don’t always have to share your views. That said, reinforce the importance of speaking up (through the appropriate channels) if concerning behaviour is experienced.

Embed – proactively promote inclusivity with regular training. Tribunals are taking a dim view of a ‘tick-box’ approach to training with annual refresher sessions becoming the expectation. Click here for more detail on our sessions in this area.

If you’d like support with promoting equality, diversity, and inclusivity, please get in touch here for further advice.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (27 April 2021), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.

Free speech v harassment

Posted on: April 19th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

There’s plenty on the world agenda to keep us all debating. Whether it’s views on the royal family, race and ethnicity, the environmental agenda, or women’s rights, there’s plenty to discuss.

Whilst many employers want to encourage conversation, sharing, and transparency, expressing (or not expressing) views can result in conflict and harassment claims. Here are a few little known facts about harassment claims:

  1. The employee who is offended does not need to possess the protected characteristic at the root of the claim. For example, a white employee could issue a claim about offensive comments made about another individual’s race;
  2. The offending comments do not need to be directed at the employee – simply experiencing an offensive environment is sufficient to bring a successful claim;
  3. The offended employee could have encouraged the offensive behaviour yet still have the chance of litigating successfully.

In the next update, we’ll share our views on supporting a balanced work environment without creating litigation vulnerabilities. If you’d like support with promoting equality, diversity and inclusivity, please get in touch here for further advice.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (20 April 2021), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.

Tribunal tales #1 – what to expect

Posted on: April 7th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

Whether you’re battle-hardened by tribunals or have never been, a tribunal claim is never a welcome sight. So, we’re going to share with you our current insights on the tribunal process along with some tools of the trade to help reduce potential exposure to claims and compensation.

Here’s a taster of what we’ll be covering:

  1. Topical trends – current tribunal statistics and our insight on claimant trends
  2. Putting your best foot forward – proactive steps to minimise the impact from tribunal claims
  3. Evidence, evidence, evidence – the impact of evidence and why it matters
  4. Is winning worth it? – balancing tribunal defence with settlement ambitions
  5. Settlement – timing, options, and tactics

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (7 April 2021), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.

Equal pay – the case continues

Posted on: April 6th, 2021 by Ginny Hallam

Following the recent Supreme Court decision that shop floor and distribution centre workers are comparable for an equal pay claim, what does this mean for employers?

First and foremost, the decision doesn’t mean that (largely female) shop floor workers have now won the right to equal pay. What it does mean though is that (largely male) distribution workers are legitimate comparators for the claim.

Employers should take note as this decision opens up the possibility for comparisons to be made between roles that on the surface are different. Here are a few proactive steps to consider:

Audit – carrying out an equal pay audit will provide a clear picture of your pay scales and help create consistency in setting terms and conditions. Ensure that people who do the same work have the same job titles, pay, and job descriptions that reflect the work they do. We can support you to carry out an audit – get in touch.

Job evaluation – if different roles are graded higher or paid more than another, carrying out a job evaluation process will help you to provide objective justification and reasons for any differences in pay (particularly important if the workforce in areas of the business are predominantly male or female).

Keep a record – historic events (such as a TUPE transfer) may have caused differences in pay in parts of your business. Keeping a robust record of these reasons will help justify any differences should a challenge arise.

The case is far from its conclusion – we’ll keep you up to date with developments and ensure you have the practical detail. Get in touch if you need to discuss further.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was sent (13 April 2021) but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.