The four tribunal claims expected to rise

We were all surprised in July 2017 when the supreme court ruled tribunal fees unlawful. AHR Consultants covered the breaking news and suggested some strategic steps going forward.

Employment tribunal fees unlawful

Employment Tribunal Fees – Strategic steps moving forward

People Management released an article where they asked solicitors what types of tribunal claims we can expect to see more of  in the future, and this is what they said…

Equal pay disputes 

Gender Pay Gap reporting is fast approaching, combine this with the recent press that equal pay has had with the BBC, it is likely that this will be a popular claim in the future. Disgruntled employees may bring claims of equal pay or sex discrimination if they are paid less than a colleague of the opposite gender in the same position.

Maternity discrimination 

The Young Women’s Trust found that a quarter of young mothers had experienced maternity discrimination in the workplace. Previously claims were expensive for the claimant and could also be expensive for the employer. Lack of fee’s mean that more new mothers who feel they are discriminated against could make a claim going forward.

Discriminatory dress codes 

In May 2016 we saw the HR world explode when a woman in London was sent home from work because she refused to wear high heels. This sparked mass coverage in the HR community and also on the BBC website. The story snowballed and a petition against women needing to wear high heels in the workplace was signed by more than 150,000 people.

Claims for younger workers 

A Survey of Employment Tribunal Applications made in 2013 found that 49% of claimants did not make a claim as they were influenced by the fee. Young workers, typically aged 20-24 were more affected than those aged 65+. We can now expect to see a rise in young workers making claims.

How can employers protect themselves

Employers now need to take strategic steps to protect themselves from the threat of tribunal claims. The threat of a claim cannot be removed entirely, however the risk can be minimised. Services AHR Consultants offer to employers are designed to ensure minimum risk to the business while maintaining productivity.

HR Support – Ensure you are compliant. Can you remember when your policies and procedure were last updated?

Legal Expenses Insurance – Clients taking an advisory service with us can also take out Legal Expenses Insurance with us. This service indemnify them against the cost of a tribunal.

Tribunal Support – Tribunals can be expensive. We offer fixed fee tribunal support, this allows you to know exactly how much you are paying and what you are paying for.

Leadership Development Training – Training your managers to identify potential risks in the workplace is one of the first steps you can make to ensure that potential claims are identified and resolved.

If a tribunal claim has been made against you please call AHR Consultants on 0345 076 2288 or complete the contact form below and a member of our team will be in touch. 

 

Bullying and Harassment

‘Bullying and harassment is behaviour that makes someone feel intimidated or offended. Harassment is unlawful under the Equality Act 2010’ – Gov.uk, 2017.

What form can bullying and harassment take? This list is not conclusive.

  • Denying training or promotion opportunities
  • Picking on an individual
  • Undermining a competent worker
  • Starting malicious rumours or spreading these rumours

Bullying in the workplace does not just happen face to face, like all forms of bullying it can happen by letter, email, telephone and also social media.

Bullying is typically paired with children and playgrounds, but it occurs all our lives. Sometimes we are the bully and sometimes we are the victim, many people do not even realise they are the bully or the victim.

Bullying is frowned upon but not illegal in the workplace, Harassment on the other hand is illegal. Harassment is when an individual is being bullied in relation to one of the nine protected characteristics:

  1. Age
  2. Sex
  3. Disability
  4. Gender (including gender reassignment)
  5. Marriage and civil partnership
  6. Pregnancy and maternity
  7. Race
  8. Religion and belief
  9. Sexual orientation

ACAS has revealed that bullying in the workplace is costing employers £18bn per year, it is likely that employers will have to tackle an issue of this nature at some point when employing people.

Significance of bullying and harassment

Resignations, loss of respect, diminished morale, lost productivity are all problems that bullying can cause. Bullying can also damage the reputation of an employer.

There are also legal implications that employers need to be aware of. While a claim regarding bullying is not possible, it is possible for an employee to make claims on the grounds of whistle-blowing, personal injury, negligence, harassment and discrimination, unfair (constructive) dismissal, and also claims under the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. This list is not definitive.

Preventing bullying and harassment

It would be irresponsible of us to say that bullying and harassment can be eradicated completely, however steps can be made to minimise the risk of bullying and harassment in the workplace.

Train your managers. Can your managers recognise bullying in the workplace? Or are they subconsciously the bully? Train them and yourself to notice and deal with any situations that may escalate.

Fair procedures. Listen to your employees. If they have a complaint, complete an investigation.

Equal Opportunities and Dignity at Work Policies. These are important policies to have in place as they ensure that there are guidelines in place for managers and employees.

Lead by example. Be the best employer you can be, set the standard and create a culture you would like to work in yourself.

What can AHR Consultants do to help you?

Training – We can train your managers. Equality and discrimination is a popular course that teaches managers the risks of bullying and harassment, and how to identify and tackle these situations. Other courses include investigations and disciplinary. See our course brochure.

Investigations – Do you need an investigation undertaken due to a complaint? AHR Consultants can be instructed to run an investigation plus much more. See our range of consultancy services.

Policies – We can update policies, create policies and provide you with constant compliant protection. We can update your policies or create your policies, and these will be compliant at the time of writing. Retainer services offer constant compliance and regular updating at no additional cost. Find out more.

Advice – Not sure if something you said or did is correct? Do you want some advice on what steps you should make going forward? AHR Consultants offer unlimited telephone advice to clients. Find out more.

Call: 0345 076 2288

Email: marketing@ahrconsultants.co.uk

Request a call back: https://ahrconsultants.co.uk/contact/

Sex Discrimination

Sex Discrimination in the workplace is common, and is constantly in the news. Recently the BBC released their gender pay gap, this resulted in the entertainment alumni being accused of discrimination. High profile female employees at the BBC have asked for the employer to act now and resolve the gender pay gap. If the BBC fail to respond to the plea it is likely that we will see legal claims being made in the future.

Gender pay gap reporting requires employers with over 250 employees to publish results of gender pay gaps within their business. Employers should be ready to publish by April 2018. From April 2018, we can expect a rise in the claims of sex discrimination from employees whose employers cannot explain pay gaps.

Gender Pay Gap Reporting – A Third of Employers Failing to Review

Pay is not the only area where genders are potentially treated less favorable, for example an employer might only offer a bonus to females within their business and not the men, this is direct discrimination.

Ali v Capita Customer Management Ltd

Employment Tribunal Decision

Mr Ali’s wife was advised to return to work before the end of her maternity leave because of her mental health, for her to be able to do this Mr Ali made a request to take off the rest of her planned maternity leave under the shared parental leave scheme to become the primary carer for the child. Upon his request Mr Ali was informed that he would receive statutory pay during the period and not the ‘enhanced’ maternity pay that is paid to new mothers.  Mr Ali made a claim of direct sex discrimination which was upheld by the employment tribunal. The employment tribunal found that the primary carer of a child is the decision of the parents and Mr Ali had been less favourably treated because of his gender.

Avoiding sex discrimination claims

The first step to ensuring that your business is protecting itself from sex discrimination claims is to have robust equal opportunities policies. These policies should at least cover bullying, harassment, and whistleblowing. Your employees should be familiar with these policies, specifically managers.

Managers need to be trained on how to deal with complaints regarding harassment and how to spot harassment in the workplace. Equality and Discrimination training is suggested for all employees, however just training managers on this subject will be beneficial. This course allows the delegates to work on real like case studies and promotes open and honest discussions. This training will help managers identify and rectify a situation that could result in a claim.

Equality and Discrimination Training – CPD Accredited – Find out more!

Employers need to get HR right and they need to, now more than ever, with employment tribunal fees deemed unlawful. Previously many claimants of sex discrimination were deterred by the cost.

AHR Consultants, we protect your business.

HR Support

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