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August 2023 – HR & Employment law update for employers

August 2023 – HR & Employment law update for employers

Welcome to our August 2023 HR and employment law update, the last of the summer holidays.

In this issue we’re profiling our due diligence topic for September, which is sexual harassment …..and that being the case I was going to have to mention ‘that kiss’!

We’ll also cover a recent tribunal case where the employee netted over £100K, and the employer was made to look pretty dismal in the national press.

Fines for employing illegal immigrants are going to be steeply increasing, and I’ll cover that in the next HR update….but for now, if you haven’t had an audit of your right to work evidential documents for your staff lately, you should really consider asking myHRdept to book this in over the next few months.

For this edition I thought I’d look at the issue of foreign workers from a slightly different angle, and discuss the rising costs of visas and how employers might protect their investment, and the thorny issue of dismissing an employee who is working under a visa – bearing in mind they could be deported, the risks are higher than for domestic staff dismissals.

Lastly, I’ve asked our recruiter Jas to make a short informative video to tell you about how she carries out recruitment services on behalf of our clients, it’s a couple of minutes long, and if you haven’t used myHRdept for your commercial recruitment in the past, you may well be missing a trick!

Due diligence training – Sexual harassment

We’ve now released our second due diligence training pack for employers. Due diligence training reduces the risk of a claim against you and lessens the chance of unwanted workplace behaviours (which can give rise to claims and poor morale) happening in the first place.

Our pack, which is available from the client area on myHRdept’s home page, contains a simple guide to risk assessing your own organisation – to establish how likely it is for sexual harassment to occur. It also contains a video you can play to your staff and 2 X emails to be sent in September.

I cannot stress enough how simple this training is to apply AND how useful you will find this if you are ever in a situation where you are trying to convince an employment tribunal that you had done your reasonable best to prevent unwelcome behaviours & therefore should be let off a vicarious liability charge, remembering that ignorance is no defence – just because you didn’t know one employee was harassing another is not enough to get you off the hook.

All the materials are available FREE and in the Client Area, accessed from myHRdept’s home page.

Larger and riskier employers will be expected to do more to build their due diligence defences and if you are a larger employer, or one with a higher risk of sexual harassment occurring, you should talk to us about a more tailored due diligence training programme for you.

You may also like to see our recent article about sexual harassment in McDonalds and we also have a short video briefing for employers on the topic of sexual harassment and that can be accessed from the newspages of JCHR, our sister website for payroll and HR combined outsourcing: click here for the link.

 Unfair dismissal nets employee £100K

The national press recently featured a 100K award made by an employment tribunal against a care home. In brief Mrs Rapheal, the manager of Trentside manor Care Home, had a strike and I would have thought not unreasonably asked her employer for a slightly shorter working week to accommodate her health.

Whlist that request was initially granted, the owner then dismissed her on a dubious disciplinary charge, and the disciplinary and appeal process was conducted by various member of his family. Our article looks at what went wrong, which was fairly self-evident, but also looks at what the employer might have done to have achieved the same aim but with the employee’s agreement, rather than an acrimonious and expensive legal process that also threatens reputational damage.

To quote an old adage, there are many way to skin a cat, the employer here seems not to have had, or perhaps not to have listened to, sage HR advice…as would have been available from myHRdept and JCHR’s HR team of course.

This links is to the article on myHRdept by clicking here.

This second link is to a video version which is our preferred format for JCHR, our combined payroll and HR service, click here for the video.

Is it safe to dismiss a poor performing worker who works under a visa?  

As I said earlier, next month I’ll look in more detail at the rising costs of fines for employing illegal workers, but what about a legal worker employed under a visa, who is not performing?

Dismissing an employee working under a visa is going to cause a major problem for the employee, who must find another employer to legally sponsor them within 12 weeks, or face deportation from the UK.

Of course the worker won’t be British or Irish, and so will probably have a protected characteristic relating to their race, and if the employer’s decision isn’t procedurally perfect and otherwise fair the risk of a discrimination claim would be high.

Our article looks at the issues, and mitigation strategies, click here for the article.

Rising cost of visas – how can an employer protect it’s investment?

Of course it’s always best to ensure that expensively attained employees are up to the job and suitably motivated to do it in the first place.

Our next feature looks at the rising costs of visas, and I was staggered to learn that a 5-year skilled worker visa can now cost £12K. This is a high cost route, and so what happens if the employee decides to leave?  Our article looks at practical steps employers can take to engage with their non-UK worker, and reasonable things the employer can do to reclaim some of its investment, if the employee decides to leave.

The link to the article & video, on JCHR’s website, is here.

Recruitment

And so finally to recruitment! If you’ve not tried myHRdept’s recruitment services yet, you may be missing a trick. As well as being a cashless exercise, until a candidate’s appointed anyway, our search-based and advertised recruitment has proved popular with many of our clients, and because we’re also your HR provider there is more incentive for us to suitable candidates for you, not just the best available candidate.

It can take us a little longer sometimes, but better to find the right candidate than having to rehire to replace the wrong one, often with 2 sets of fees to add insult to injury.

I managed to persuade our recruiter Jas to come on screen to tell us about how she approaches recruitment assignments. You can see Jas’s video by clicking on the link above.

For general recruitment, contact jas@myhrdept.co.uk.

For exec hires, contact bill@myhrdept.co.uk; and

for HR roles Jessica@myhrdept.co.uk

See you next month!

If you’re thinking of outsourcing your HR, payroll or employment law needs, why not contact myHRdept? Call us on 01628 820515, email us at enquiries@myhrdept.co.uk to discuss your requirements, or contact us via our website and we’ll call you back.

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