Employment Law – 6 Essential Tips For Employers

I found this article relating to Employment Law which I thought may be of interest. So here it is for you

When it comes to employment law, there are often misconceptions as to the obligations and rights of employers. Listed here are six of the areas where these most commonly arise, together with some suggestions and clarifications as to the best way to protect your business and your employees.

1. Health and Safety

There is a raft of legislation dealing with specific health and safety requirements and workplace hazards. For information, see the Health and Safety Executive website at http://www.hse.gov.uk . 
In general, all employers have a statutory duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health and safety of their employees and to take reasonable care to protect the health and safety of anyone else who may be affected by the business and its activities, such as customers.

Carrying out risk assessments is an important step in protecting your workers and your business, as well as complying with the law. It allows you to place your focus on the risks that are key to your working environment – those that have the potential to cause serious harm. Health and safety arrangements must be monitored continually, so it is vital that you start from a carefully thought out policy. This will help you review and manage preventative and protective measures.

All employers must give the necessary information, instruction, training and supervision to make sure that, as much as is practical, their employees are aware of health and safety issues. To do this, you will have to identify the requisite skills for carrying out the jobs safely, as well as provide any training necessary. This should include training in emergency procedures. It is good practice for internal health and safety inspections to be carried out by more than one person in order to get more than one viewpoint. Be as objective as possible and try to think about problems that are not included in your present safety check list.


2. Stress

Dealing with stress in the workplace is a difficult issue and employers cannot afford to be ignorant on this subject. All employers should know how to help prevent stress, be able to recognise it, and be aware of the best ways to handle it.

Failing to deal with cases of stress and to appreciate the psychological damage that can result can be costly for employers. You should have a formal policy for dealing with stress-related complaints. Treat any complaints seriously and investigate them thoroughly.

Employers who offer a confidential advice service, with referral to appropriate counselling or treatment services, are unlikely to be found in breach of their duty.

3. Flexible Working

Family Friendly Policies – there is specific employment law legislation dealing with employees’ statutory rights to maternity, adoption, parental and paternity leave and pay and to time off work to look after dependents. In addition, parents of children aged under 6 (or under 18 if the child is disabled), who have worked for their employer for 6 months or more, have the legally enforceable right to ensure that a request for flexible working arrangements is not rejected without good cause.

4. Email and Internet Policy

Make sure employees understand that what they put in an email message should not be regarded any less seriously than written or spoken communications. Inappropriate Internet use can also lead to claims of harassment and discrimination. Employers should have and enforce a clear email and Internet use policy.

5. Staff Parties

The annual staff party can be a nightmare and many employers choose not to hold them. If you do, it is important to carry out an assessment of possible risks and take reasonable steps to reduce them, as you would for any work activity. Employees should be made aware that normal disciplinary procedures apply. Employers can be held responsible for employees’ actions after consuming alcohol provided by the employer, so beware!

6. Performance Appraisals

Equal treatment must be given to all staff when setting targets and performance standards. When giving appraisals, phrases that use discriminatory language, such as ‘copes well considering their age’, should be avoided. It is important that the person carrying out the appraisal is trained to do so.

Overall any employer is well advised to conduct a thorough review of their employment policies and ensure that they are comprehensive and up-to-date. In particular if there’s any doubt in your mind, don’t take any risks with regard to employment law.

Instead make sure you take appropriate legal advice from a specialist employment law solicitor.

Bonallack & Bishop are a firm of Employment Law Solicitors with a team specialised in redundancy. Tim Bishop is senior partner at the firm, which he has grown by 1000% in the last 12 years. He is responsible for all major strategic decisions and sees himself as a businessman who owns a law firm.
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