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Edition Week Commencing: Monday 14th November 2022

Pharmacy assistant fired by 'hot headed' director over anonymous complaint was unfairly and wrongfully dismissed

Judge finds director was not ‘truthful’ as he made attempts to ‘rewrite history’ and cover up wrongful dismissal. The case was a “stark reminder” for employers to follow a fair process, and acting in the heat of the moment may mean having to pay significant sums to compensate an employee who is unfairly dismissed. Also any attempt to cover one’s tracks by trying to mislead a tribunal is doomed to failure and the best way of dealing with mistakes is to acknowledge them and try to put them right, properly, by applying a fair procedure.

Third of workers have looked for a second job as inflation rises

Experts say it is difficult for employers to impose an absolute ban on staff running a side business, but contractual clauses can ensure it doesn’t interfere with their work.

Flexible working: the challenges of a two-tier workforce

With figures showing most employees want to split their time between home and the office, this short article explores the negative implications of having a hybrid workforce.

How can employers help to stamp out microaggressions at work?

Advice on tackling discrimination in the workplace and building an inclusive environment (survey found that four in 10 UK employees have experienced microaggressions at work related to their identity).

Handling discrimination-based grievances

Explores considerations outside of the Acas Code of Practice when dealing with a complaint that involves discriminatory behaviour.

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Edition Week Commencing: Monday 7th November 2022

The latest in sex discrimination tribunal cases

Outlines the latest case law developments in the realm of sex discrimination

Unqualified director who installed a cryo-chamber which leaked harmful gas was unfairly dismissed

Another example of where an employer has got policies and process wrong! So make sure yours are up to date and fit for purpose.

Office assistant called ‘fatty’ by boss who wanted ‘slim, smart’ workers was victim of harassment

Judge rules director’s comments imply women were employed for reasons unrelated to an ability to do the job, and created a hostile, degrading environment.

Can employers insist staff use other people's preferred pronouns?

In light of a recent EAT ruling, this explores how the Equality Act applies when an employee's beliefs clash with an aspect of their job

National Stress Awareness Day

This was on 2 November. ACAS has produced a short video about work-related stress, especially recognising the signs of burnout and how we all can support our mental health and wellbeing at work and a blog.

Whistleblowing: a guide for employers

With the number of cases rising, now is the time for organisations to get their cultures sorted.

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Edition Week Commencing: Monday 31st October 2022

Bus driver who fought with driver from another company was unfairly dismissed

Again another example of what would seem to be a reasonable decision by an employer fails because due and fair process was not followed.

Is a cybersecurity incident cause for a disciplinary?

Outlines what employers should do if a member of staff enables a cyber attack

Common HR horrors

Outlines common themes that are haunting employers this autumn, and give tips on how to avoid them developing into a nightmare scenario, including sexual harassment, long term sickness and new annual leave rules for part year staff.

Rolling blackouts: what does HR need to know?

Will there be blackouts? What should you plan to do when thinking about your workforce?

Right to work checks

Following the end of temporary measures for right to work checks on 1 October, this article provides guidance for employers on how to do them properly. Right to work checks must be conducted in relation to all potential employees, regardless of nationality or ethnic origin, before the employee starts work. If an employer gets this wrong they are risking a civil penalty of up to £20,000 for employing an illegal worker!

Two-thirds of Black employees experienced racism last year

Data reveals a decline in workers reporting racism to HR as experts suggest leaders “speak out” to improve transparency.

How to make recruitment disability-inclusive

You want to attract brilliant candidates to your charity. Yet common recruitment practices put up barriers that stop all kinds of talented people from learning about, considering, or applying to join your team. Find out how to improve things.

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Edition Week Commencing: Monday 24th October 2022

Race and employment

CIPD have updated their fact sheet which explores the UK legal position and main issues employers face when dealing with race discrimination in the workplace.

NHS worker who threatened to rip off colleague’s beard was unfairly dismissed

Again an example of where the ‘offence’ may have been a reasonable reason because the of procedural defects and breach of policy it rendered the entire dismissal process unfair.

Disabled lawyer snubbed during recruitment process was discriminated against

This was a result of receiving a less than complimentary references and HR experts have said employers should “take care to investigate these fully to understand any link with any potential disability and should consider seeking legal advice before acting upon these”.

Supporting disabled employees

The government has launched a new £6.4 million online service to help employers better support disabled people and those with health conditions in the workplace.  The early test version of the Support with Employee Health and Disability service provides essential information about supporting and managing employees with disabilities or health conditions at work.

Any employer can access the service, which provides free advice on how to manage staff who may be in or out of work with a disability or long-term health condition in a user-friendly online Q&A format.  The service is aimed at smaller businesses, many of which do not have in-house HR support or access to an occupational health service.

Why every day should be World Mental Health Day at work

Short article making the case.

How to confront flagging staff performance

Avoid the awkwardness and address underperformance with these tips.

Pay cuts: the law and potential pitfalls

Outlines what employers need to know when considering reducing their employees’ salaries

World Menopause Day

Managing the effects of the menopause at work is important for both employers and their staff. A new survey from Acas has found that a third of employers (33%) do not feel well equipped to support women going through the menopause. For those experiencing symptoms it can be a difficult and stressful time. Everyone will experience the menopause differently and for some, symptoms can be quite severe and can affect people both physically and mentally. Acas’s advice for employers includes:

  • Develop a menopause policy that explains how the menopause can affect people differently and what support is available;
  • Provide awareness training for managers on the menopause and how to deal with it sensitively and fairly; and
  • Consider making practical changes at work to help staff manage their symptoms such as the availability of cold drinking water and temperature control..

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Edition Week Commencing: Monday 17th October 2022

Insurance worker compared to Pontius Pilate by head of HR was victim of harassment and discrimination

Judge rules statement displayed ‘complete lack’ of diversity training and could be ‘deeply offensive’. It’s a reminder that a seemingly harmless comment made to lighten the tone of redundancy conversations can be considered harassment. Arguing that a comment was made light-heartedly or was banter is rarely successful as a defence and as such care and thought is taken to minimise the risk of claims.

Dismissal protection for time off

A recent tribunal ruling is a reminder that employees have a day one statutory right to take unpaid leave to deal with emergencies.

Workplace support for employees experiencing pregnancy or baby loss

CIPD have published research that finds:

  • Just over a third of organisations (36%) have a policy concerning pregnancy loss/miscarriage, whether it’s a standalone policy or part of a wider one.
  • The top three most helpful forms of employer support, according to employees who had experienced pregnancy and baby loss are: paid compassionate or other special leave, understanding from their manager that it can be a challenging time, paid time off to attend appointments.
  • One in five people (21%) said they didn’t receive any support from their employer.
  • Only a quarter (24%) of senior decision makers surveyed said that their organisation encourages an open and supportive climate to a great extent, where employees can talk about issues like pregnancy loss.
  • Almost a quarter (24%) of employees considered leaving their job because of their experience at work.

It recommends:

  • Raise awareness across the organisation about the need for pregnancy or baby loss to be recognised as an important workplace wellbeing issue.
  • Create an open, inclusive and supportive culture.
  • Develop an organisational framework to support employees experiencing pregnancy or baby loss.
  • Manage absence and leave with compassion and flexibility.
  • Equip line managers to support people with empathy and understanding

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Edition Week Commencing: Monday 10th October 2022

Black History Month 2022: Time for change

‘Black people are often given the double burden of experiencing racism and discrimination, and then being expected to fix it.’ Look at CIPD’s guide to having better conversations about race in the workplace.

World Menopause Month

Also held in October. Organisations should help break the stigma of menopause at work and create an inclusive environment where employees and managers feel able to discuss any reasonable adjustments that may be needed. Look at CIPD’s guide.

World Mental Health Day

Monday 10 October and the theme this year was making mental health and wellbeing for all a global priority. HSE’s statistics show that 822,000 workers suffered from stress, depression and anxiety in 2020/21. The earlier a problem is tackled the less impact it will have for your workers and business. Get started today with five simple steps from the Working Minds campaign. You can support this campaign by signing up to become a champion. Starting a conversation is an important first step. If you need help getting conversations started, HSE's Talking toolkit aims to help managers talk with workers as part of their overall approach to preventing and managing work-related stress. Find out what it takes to be legally compliant and download HSE’s risk assessment template to record your findings and agreed actions.

Salary alone not enough to attract talent

CIPD report emphasises need to advertise roles as flexible to improve retention instead of focusing solely on pay.

Company secretary with asthma was unfavourably treated after sickness absence and work from home request

Judge finds claimant’s time off sick and plea for remote working were real reasons for her dismissal, rather than alleged underperformance. This case involved several employment issues including alleged poor performance, working from home, sickness absence, discrimination and a long-hours culture. That the employer got these so badly wrong is evidenced in the successful tribunal claim, and there are many lessons that HR can learn from this case.

Barber sacked after falling pregnant while on maternity leave was victim of discrimination

Judge finds claimant’s redundancy was related to her pregnancy despite boss maintaining it was down to ‘business reasons’. Experts have said that the ruling was a “clear-cut case” of pregnancy discrimination and that financial woes were no excuse for such treatment and was a reminder that discrimination can be “inferred from what’s happened even without any direct evidence”.

More workplace support is needed for staff facing grief

Conversations around death and dying don’t have to be uncomfortable if employers are able to foster an open culture. This short article says that over the past five years 57 per cent of people have experienced a bereavement and gives tips about how employers can support this staff.

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Edition Week Commencing: Monday 3rd October 2022

Charities advised to support staff with long Covid after disability ruling

Article in Civil Society describes the impact of the ruling and how charities should react.

How to manage malingerers in the workplace

Explains the best way for employers to handle sickness absence when they suspect the member of staff is not genuinely ill.

How employers can better support dads in the workplace

Explores the difficulties fathers face in taking extended parental leave, and how you can help them play a bigger part in childcare

New Living Wage

These are not the legal minimum but higher rates accepted that enables people to lead a dignified life and to meet the cost of living. CIPD blog looks at the reasons for paying the Living Wage and how employers can go further to support employee financial wellbeing.

Suspension: out of sight, out of mind?

ACAS article discusses the issues around the use of suspension with a link to their new advice.

‘Mental health barrier’ preventing young people from volunteering

Many young people (11-30 year olds) are being blocked from volunteering due to concerns over their mental health, a government-commissioned report has found. It describes the barriers but also the benefits to mental health and has recommendations to improve the situation, especially mentoring.

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Edition Week Commencing: Monday 26th September 2022

Woman wins sex and pregnancy discrimination claims after boss commented on her breasts

This still happens in the workplace so ensure you have robust codes of conduct etc.

Third of women’s careers affected by sexual harassment

This report backs up the experience above that many women face discrimination in the workplace. Poll also reveals majority of female workers have encountered or witnessed inappropriate behaviour from male colleagues.

Two in five ethnic minority workers have experienced racism at work

This report shows the depressing facts that this still happens. Read this to make sure you think about any changes needed in the workplace to stop this happening.

Disability and employment

CIPD have updated their factsheet explores the UK legal position on disability discrimination and the importance of making reasonable adjustments for disabled employees.

Handling requests for flexible working around school hours

As children prepare to return to schools and nurseries, CIPD offers advice for handling applications to work flexibly.

New TUPE advice from ACAS

Before a TUPE transfer, by law both the old and new employers must inform and consult with a recognised trade union or employee representatives. Read ACAS’s new advice.

Trade Unions

CIPD’s introduction to Trade Unions and how to work with them effectively

Businesses urged to prepare for right to work check changes

Poll finds half of employers are not ready for imminent policy updates mean employers will have to use government-certified tech to assess documents if doing so remotely from 1 October.