An article in the Times recently explains that 400,000 employees left their jobs last year, but only half that number found a job. Disability discrimination must be at play. This means that disabled employees are the big untapped resource in HR and being subjected to disability discrimination.
Disabled candidates and employees need to have reasonable adjustments made to them by law and are protected against disability discrimination.
But in our experience, the risks associated with employing disabled employees make it very worthwhile to hire them.Read More
Here are some general pointers for handling a disciplinary investigation or grievance hearing:
UK employment law says that an employer should not suspend as a knee-jerk reaction in a disciplinary case. It should only suspend in order to protect people or property or to avoid evidence or witnesses being interfered with, or it could lead to an accusation of having decided the outcome in advance. When an employer suspends, it should make it clear that this is not an indication that the outcome of the has been pre-determined.
Employers should appoint a manager to do the grievance hearing or disciplinary investigation with training or experience or have them assisted by a HR person.
Employees should ensure they are accompanied by someone who can take a good note. A fast typist is not what you want, so much as someone with the ability to listen, understand and write the gist at the same time. Remember, a good note is likely to help at a later Employment Tribunal hearing. Also, it will be disclosable before any employment tribunal hearing and it’s good practice to let the employee have a copy anyway.
The employee should be sent in advance the documents to be relied on at the grievance or disciplinary hearing and it is good practice for the employee to be reminded of the right to be accompanied.
The employer should offer any reasonable adjustments for a disability and make adjustments also for people under stress.
The hearing should take place promptly as soon as the complaint is afoot.
Employers should be prepared to adjourn if unexpected evidence or arguments come to light that need to be looked into.
If an employee feels the company is exposed or at fault in some way, the emloyer can expect that in an Employment Tribunal hearing, written discussions about the matter will become disclosable.
Employers often prefer to discuss thing internally over the phone, with no note being taken. It is in both side’s interest that a note be taken of anything said that could show what they were thinking at the time and that could support their case, which means using email is often preferable.
Employers should remember that other colleagues may want to be consulted. There may be implications for PR, health and safety, etc. They can take soundings from HR. But the decision must only be that of the decision-maker.
In a disciplinary hearing, the employee is allowed to call witnesses but they do not have to attend.
We are finding that many employees make secret recordings with their mobile phones; current UK employment law allows employees to rely on these recordings as long as they are not recordings of deliberations
An employer should always offer an appeal and employees should always follow the process through to the end because if there is an employment tribunal hearing about the case, each side risks losing out financially if the Acas Code of Practice on handling disciplinaries and grievances has not been complied with.Read More
Note: a subsequent legal change has affected the accuracy of this material.
If you cannot afford employment tribunal fees, there are fee remissions available:
Benefits-based – no fee
You don’t have to pay a fee if you receive:
- Income support
- Income-based jobseeker’s allowance
- Pension credit guarantee credit
- Income-related employment and support allowance
- Working tax credit but not also receiving child tax credit
- Dependants-based – no fee
No tribunal fees if your assets are less than £3k (you can exclude equity in your first home) and your gross annual income (including your partner’s) is no more than:
- Gross annual income for single person (couple)
- No children £13,000 (£18,000)
- 1 child £15,930 (£20,930)
- 2 children £18,860 (£23,860)
Where you have two or more children, the amount of gross annual income for the purpose of this remission is the amount in the table above for two children plus a further £2,930 for each child additional child.
Means test – partial fee
Take your monthly net income. Deduct from it the following to get your ‘disposable monthly income’:
£315 for general living expenses
£159 if you have a partner
£244 per child
And your contributions towards any fee will be approximately as follows:
|Disposable monthly income||You pay:|
|£50 or less||Nothing|
From March 2014, the rules on ex-offenders or ‘spent convictions’ have changed in favour of applicants with criminal records, for the first time in 40 years. A prison sentence of up to six months becomes spent after two years, not seven. A longer sentence up to five years becomes spent after four years, not 10. Sentences of over four years still never become spent but a prison term of 2½ to four years now becomes spent after 7 years, instead of having to be disclosed for ever.
Ex-offenders – discrimination
There are no rules that protect ex-offenders from discrimination. Nine million people in England & Wales have a criminal record, which is a substantial part of the potential workforce. The Government has published guidance on the changes and an offenders’ charity has published a ready-reckoner poster.Read More