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Archive

February, 2022

Talking Tribunals #4 – Soft on stereotyping?

Posted on: February 23rd, 2022 by Halborns Limited

If you’re concerned that your culture is one that accepts low-level harassment (top performers getting away with more than others might for example) and you want to do something about it, start with your policies and training.

If you treat harassment with a low-level warning (such as a written warning) and then decide that you want to make an example of the next act of harassment, you’re likely to find yourself with a successful unfair dismissal claim. To reset standards and expectations you’ll need to:

Communicate – share your diversity and inclusion policy regularly and test understanding;

Train – support your managers to approach decision-making consistently and in line with your policies;

Note – all of the aggregating facts (accurately and in detail) that ultimately lead to a final written warning or dismissal.

We can support with rolling out the necessary policies and training to help reset standards – get in touch to find out more. 

 

This update is accurate on the date it was published (24 February 2022), 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.

Devil in the detail – post-termination restrictions

Posted on: February 21st, 2022 by Halborns Limited

It’s a common misconception that post-termination restrictions (PTRs) are unenforceable. A recent High Court decision shows that the devil’s in the detail when drafting PTRs you can rely on.

Background

Two former employees set up in competition with their previous employer and actively tried poaching business. Their previous employer brought a claim to enforce non-compete and confidentiality contractual provisions. The High Court held that it was perfectly reasonable for the employer to protect their confidential information and customer/supplier relationships as legitimate business interests.

Practical takeaways

Key assets – be clear about what you want to protect. Customers, employees, suppliers, tender information – all legitimate interests capable of protection. The more specific you can be in the scope of what you want to protect, the better chance you have in enforcing the restrictions.

Time-limited – in the case the Court held it was reasonable to enforce the restrictions because they had been specifically time-limited (12 months). The duration of restrictions should last only as long as the assets you’re trying to protect are reasonably at risk.

Role changes – don’t forget that if employees are moving into more senior roles, any PTRs should be reviewed and updated to reflect their progression and greater exposure to sensitive business information.

Poorly drafted PTRs won’t be worth the paper they’re written on – get in touch to review and update yours to ensure you’re securing the maximum protection possible.

This update is accurate on the date it was published (21 February 2022), 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.

Talking Tribunals #3 – Is your people team too involved?

Posted on: February 14th, 2022 by Halborns Limited

For all the best reasons sometimes people team members or HR managers get a little too involved. It’s vital when you’re going through a formal disciplinary process that the individual making the decision does just that. Here’s what to consider:

Behind the scenes – sometimes we see that the people team have become so involved and keen to ensure that the ‘right decision’ is taken that they end up influencing the decision-maker to such an extent that any dismissal is tainted and unfair.

Support not influence – there’s nothing wrong with people team members supporting the disciplinary process but they must steer clear of influencing the decision.

Train disciplinary managers – ensure that you’ve trained the disciplinary manager to deal appropriately with the hearing so that they understand the legal framework and feel confident on the factors they need to consider when making their decision.

Evidence the decision – consider a checklist for disciplinary managers to work through such as our ‘issues to consider when dismissing for misconduct’ and ensure that they note their thought-processes throughout – this will be crucial in showing why any dismissal was fair.

We can support you to provide your managers with the necessary tools and training to manage the disciplinary process – get in touch to find out more.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was published (14 February 2022), 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.

Maternity stereotypes

Posted on: February 14th, 2022 by Halborns Limited

A recent tribunal decision highlights how “stereotypical assumptions” relating to pregnancy and maternity leave will give rise to potentially successful discrimination claims.

Background

A pregnant employee was asked for her “future plans” whilst her boss nodded towards her stomach. She’d also received remarks from another colleague that she would not return to work after her maternity leave. The tribunal held that these actions amounted to unfavourable treatment relating to her pregnancy and that her intentions and future plans “ought not to have been referred to at all”.

Practical takeaways

Back to basics – even well-intentioned questions about a return from maternity leave may be discriminatory. Unless the individual wants to discuss their future plans you must assume that they will return to their previous role with the same ambitions.

Tools and training – not all managers may be used to supporting employees with maternity leave arrangements. Ensure you set them up for success with clear and well-communicated policies and templates alongside training to deal with the practicalities.

Intelligent Employment has all the family-friendly policies and documents you need – get in touch to find out more. 

 

This update is accurate on the date it was published (14 February 2022), 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.

Talking Tribunals #2 – Do you you really have a zero-tolerance approach to discrimination?

Posted on: February 11th, 2022 by Halborns Limited

We so often hear that discrimination is not tolerated but if you really challenge yourself, can you be confident that’s the case? Here’s what a tribunal will expect: 

Evidence – if you’re going to inform a tribunal that you take a zero-tolerance approach to discrimination, they’ll expect you have evidence to prove that’s the case.

Consistency is key – failing to deal with discrimination in one case but then dismissing in the next – you’re likely to find yourself on the wrong side of an unfair dismissal claim at best.

One step at a time – establish the facts as well as you can, be clear on the approach that you’ll take in particular scenarios by calling out the penalties in your inclusion and diversity policy, and follow through on every occasion. Failure to do so leads to inconsistency, claims, and cultural challenge.

Get in touch if you need our advice or support in ensuring a zero-tolerance approach to discrimination.

 

This update is accurate on the date it was published (11 February 2022), 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.