NEWS & PRESS STORIES
With effect from 29 July 2013 Employment Tribunal fees will cost up to £1,200 where an employee wishes to take their employer to Tribunal. Importantly though, the fee will be waived in hardship cases. The employee will receive a refund if s/he goes on to win their case. Simply, the other side will be ordered to pay the tribunal fee and the employee will be reimbursed.
We question what is meant by hardship cases and how these will be assessed by the Tribunal system. Surely, anyone who has lost their job unlawfully (they will say) are automatically a hardship case – afterall, they will no longer be receiving a monthly salary. Also, employees who have been off work with work related stress (and this will involve the majority of ET applicants, no doubt) will probably be on SSP or a reduced wage.
COMPROMISE AGREEMENTS ARE TO BE CALLED SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS
Section 111A of the Employment Rights Act 1996 introduces ‘Settlement Agreements’. For further details see our section dedicated to this subject. Click Settlement Agreements.
OUR WORKPLACE INVESTIGATION TOOLKIT PUBLISHED BY ILM
THE INSTITUTE OF LEADERSHIP AND MANAGEMENT (ILM), Edge On Line, feature us in an article written by Christine Pratt for management. Click here to see full article: http://www.i-l-m.com/edge/workplace_investigations.aspx
AN INSTITUTE IS LAUNCHED TO IMPROVE EMPLOYEE RELATIONS
A new Employee Relations Institute (ERI), to become a membership driven body, has been formed in the UK to undertake research, offer training and provide expert advice to employers in the area of employee and workplace relations. The ERI’s board will be made up from individuals across industry – as well as representatives from UK employers and trade unions. Jan Parkinson, former director of the Local Government Association, has been appointed CEO. Lord Sawyer, a former general secretary of the Labour Party, has likewise been given the role of president, while Andy Cook, CEO of Marshall-James Global Solutions, has been named as the organisation’s Executive Chair.
Jan Parkinson said: “As well as providing professional qualifications and CPD opportunities for management and trade union representatives, the ERI will carry out research into employee and workplace relations in order to ensure that we are keeping abreast of all current and key employee relations issues.”
A key aim of the Institute is to try and encourage members to commit to introducing minimum standards of education among their supervisors and line managers. The objective is to ensure that they have the right level of skills and competencies in order to promote more positive employee relations.
To this end, the organisation has got together with Bradford University’s School of Management to provide HR professionals, employee representatives and senior business managers with masters’ degree, diploma or certificate programmes.
The former is due to start in March next year, while the latter two offerings will be made available from September 2013.
Christine Pratt (FinstLM and FCMI) said; The words are good but the proof of the pudding will be in the eating. I see this as a long overdue and much needed initiative and hope it will not become just another ‘tick box’ CPD training operation that rides on the back of member subscriptions. I would like to see the ERI focus on, and encourage, true leadership skills across all sectors within the Employee Relations sphere.
STREAMLINING EMPLOYMENT LAWS – A SUMMARY
Vince Cable’s proposals to streamline Employment Laws include: 1. Greater use of settlement agreements, with proposals for an ACAS code of practice. 2. A reduction in the cap on unfair dismissal compensation.. 3. Streamlining Employment Tribunals, making it easier for Judges to dismissal weak cases. 4. Consulting on changes to TUPE. 5. Recommending improved guidance for small businesses on the ACAS code of practice on discipline and grievances. No doubt we will hear more on this subject.
Call us NOW for our views on Employment Law changes – 07734 701221
FACEBOOK TROLL IS BELIEVED TO BE A POLICEMAN: Aug 2012
A Police Officer has been arrested in connection with an online bullying case involving a mother, Nicola Brookes, who was subjected to months of online abuse. Miss Brookes was hounded by anonymous online bullies after she posted a message of support for X Factor contestant Frankie Cocozza. In an astounding twist of events, Police Officer Lee Rimell, 32, has been arrested in connection with that case.
The arrest was made after Miss Brookes won a landmark case, forcing Facebook to disclose the identities of the bullies.
Rimell was arrested after checks made on Miss Brookes’s computer found he had left a trace. He allegedly began the trolling by using a fake account under the name Cuthbert Bollingsworth Smyth. He is also accused of hacking into Miss Brookes’s email account.
Call us for what you can do about Hacking – 07734 701221
DISCRIMINATION DUE TO PARTNER’S DISABILITY: Aug 2012
Bainbridge v Atlas Ward Structures Ltd ET/1800212/12
Date added: 30 August 2012
disability discrimination | associative discrimination | fixed-term contracts
This case demonstrates that it is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against an employee selected for redundancy by treating him or her less favourably than others because of a partner’s disability.
Call us for more information on this case – 07734 701221
DEFINITION OF INDEPENDENT ADVISER – RE SETTLEMENT AGREEMENTS: Aug 2012
This is most welcome news as far as we are concerned. Section 147 of the Equality Act 2010 is amended from 6 April 2012 to confirm that an employee’s representative can be an “independent adviser” (ie: an HR Consultant) for the purpose of a compromise agreement. This deals with one of the conditions of a valid compromise agreement, which is that the employee will have received advice from ‘an independent adviser’ about the terms and effect of the agreement. It is no longer essential that the independent adviser is an Employment Law Solicitor or Union representative.
At HR & Diversity Management Limited we are set up to provide this service at a very competitive rate. Please contact us for details – 07734 701221
BRITISH AIRWAYS FAIL TO MAKE REASONABLE ADJUSTMENTS: Aug 2012.
In this case, the employment tribunal found that British Airways plc’s (BA’s) failure to transfer one of its cabin crew, whose disability meant he could no longer undertake long-haul flying duties, to short-haul flights within a reasonable timescale amounted to a failure to make reasonable adjustments.
Call us for more details on 07734 701221
OUR INTERVIEW ON BBC YORK RADIO
On 27th January 2012 Christine Pratt spoke on BBC York radio at 0845am about allegations of workplace bullying within the Police. Why is this happening? Exactly what support is there? We believe the ongoing lack of funds and resources is impacting on the workplace right across the country. Whatever business you work in, whatever your line of work, where there is a lack of funds and resources you are likely to find inappropriate levels of line-management skills. This presents significant risk to the business. Look for the three ‘highs’. High stress levels, high levels of absence and increasingly high turnover of staff – as these three result in low morale and poor productivity levels. In summary, loss of competitive edge! The business, whether public or private sector, will fail to deliver. Private firms go out of business and public sector departments face extreme criticism – at the very least.
90% of managers admit they do not have skills to manage staff. Do they feel supported? No. 80%+ of cases we get involved in are Public Sector, mostly emergency services; NHS, Police, County Council’s and Education (ie: teachers) and in all these sectors managers struggle with basic line management and leadership skills. The workforce lack diversity awareness and little or no training takes place in this area. Policies and procedures are either misunderstood or disregarded. How many times have you had an employee who has said; “I didn’t know there was a grievance process?”. Or a line manager who says; “I didn’t know how to tackle the problem”. Does this sound familiar? If it does and/or if you are worried about conflict within area’s of your business, call us for a free consultation. What have you got to lose?
COMMENTS / DEBATES VIA LINKEDIN
- The fee structure is highly regressive and will affect low income Claimant disproportionately, acting as a barrier.
- The payment of an initial fee of £250 will be closely followed by a demand for a further fee of £1,000, even before the ET3 has been lodged. This will, in my view, be enormously unfair to all but the wealthiest claimants.
- Would like to see the introduction of a deposit/fee which is linked to the compensation sought by the Claimant e.g. 2.5%. To give this proposal some perspective, the average unfair dismissal award is around £9k and therefore the deposit/fee would be £225.
- Most people who apply to Tribunals are out of work, having been dismissed, so any fee on issuing a claim would act as an disproportionate deterrent
- Low paid workers would also suffer disproportionately in the event of a fixed fee structure being introduced.
- There will be a cost involved in collecting and banking any fee so that hard cost needs to be factored in. What happens to the interest?