Last Wednesday my firm hosted the second in our series of events aimed at employers and how they can protect their businesses by following the correct processes and procedures in employment law. We were delighted to welcome Barristers Smair Soor and Ben Isaacs from 7 Bedford Row Chambers in London to present an interactive role play session on how to handle disciplinary situations in the workplace.
Disciplinary & Grievance Procedures
If you’re unhappy at work because you don’t receive a pay rise do you;
(a) Have a quiet word with your boss
(b) File a grievance
(c) Sue them
(e) Spend three years spraying Cilit Bang into your employer’s servers causing £32,000 worth of damage and repeated computer failures?
If (e) seems like the ideal option, let me caution you against it. The Daily Telegraph reported on how one Edward Sobolewski who worked at an Oxford market research firm, poured the cleaning fluid into the computers, or sprayed it through the grills, over a three year period and was eventually caught when the company installed CCTV.
There have been some interesting reported cases over the last couple of weeks on a broad range of topics. For instance,
Legal Representation at Internal Disciplinary Hearings
A picture is said to be able to say a thousand words – how many does a video say then? I’ve been trawling through YouTube for videos on employment law to illuminate, educate or, hopefully, just to amuse. This video – produced by students at the University of the West of England (UWE) – deals with the issue of how to warn an employee for misbehaviour. It’s good at bringing a difficult subject to life. However, when I first watched it I thought it might not have had education as its main purpose …
As Annabel Kaye of Irenicom points out in her very useful article on the subject on the The Grapevine online magazine the concept of reasonable belief crops up throughout employment law – particularly in dismissals. In the case of Taylor v Alidair CA 1978 ICR 445, CA Lord Denning got to the nub of the matter with his customary succinctness;
“Whenever a man is dismissed for incapacity or incompetence it is sufficient that the employer honestly believes on reasonable grounds that the man is incapable and incompetent. It is not necessary for the employer to prove that he is in fact incapable or incompetent”
In a bit of a departure from normal practice here I am uploading a copy of a presentation I gave at the City Business Library today. It may be a bit cryptic if you weren’t there to hear it and please contact me if you require further assistance or explanation. You can find it at my Slideshare site, which is here;
I have just stumbled upon a blog called “Employment Tribunal Claims” (thanks to Usefully Employed for bringing it to my attention) which provides a succinct explanation of the new rules. I recommend everyone to read it and wish I had come upon it sooner. Here is the link: http://etclaims.co.uk/
(Do note the date, if in doubt)
For T.S Eliot, April was the cruellest month. For employment lawyers it can be the busiest because of the plethora of new legislation and statutory instruments being introduced. This year is no different and today sees The Employment Act 2008 come into force, replacing the discredited Employment Act 2002 (Dispute Resolution) Regulations 2004. In The Wasteland, TS Eliot wrote “what are the roots that clutch, what branches grow out of this stony rubbish?”. Admittedly Eliot was talking about the human condition and the moral and spiritual bankruptcy of modern society, rather than the 2004 regulations, but there is even so great resonance in those words for employment lawyers. Few people have had anything good to say about the rules and today they are abolished, replaced by a set of rules that are much less rigid but will give rise to other problems in the future.