Small Business Advice

Lack of HR policy and procedure lands employers in hot water

28 Nov 2017

The absence of an HR department or support from HR professionals can be extremely costly to your business. Most companies rely on their happy and motivated workforce to get the work done, but as soon as an employee becomes disgruntled at their employer, catastrophe and costly consequences can ensue.


Failing to follow simple HR processes has landed many employers in hot water in the past, and has often times landed a large legal bill on their lap, too.

Claims were once few and far between, however, nowadays they are on the rise and it seems Employment Tribunals have become part and parcel of running a business. In fact, there were 83,031 Employment Tribunals last year, the average cost of which was £8,500.

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If you would rather avoid a costly Employment Tribunal, and we suspect you do, then the solution is to have the proper, up to date policies in place. For a fraction of the above legal fees, you get the peace of mind that your policies protect both you and your employees, rather than running the risk of being taken to the cleaners at an Employment Tribunal.


That is where Accounts and Legal come in – we’ve recently bolstered our HR services and are now on-hand to deliver bespoke advice, tailored to protecting your business and avoiding hefty legal fees.


Get 20% off your HR fee if you commission an HR review before midnight on November 30th - just contact our Business Development Manager, Greg, at g.milne@accountsandlegal.co.uk or call him directly on 0207 043 4000.


 

Pass on policies, pay the price

Flexible working requests are becoming common in the workplace and refusal to grant a reasonable request can result in a discrimination claim. Employers are required to follow a statutory procedure and failure to do so can lead them to be in breach of it.


It is not to say employers must accept every request, however, full consideration must be given to individual requests and perhaps the ideal outcome for both parties is to at least meet somewhere in the middle and compromise.


In one real-life case, a female employee who had been with a company for 13 years put in a flexible working request to return from maternity leave on reduced hours.


The request was refused  at point blank without an ounce of consideration from her employer. There was no procedure followed in line with a flexible working policy and the request was not explored in depth, thus putting the employer on the back foot legally.


She worked in an industry that was dominated by females, therefore, the employment tribunal found that she was at a detriment. Because of this, they ruled in her favour under indirect sexual discrimination. 


The employer refused the request due to many other employees working flexibly, not through fault of the employee. Therefore, not granting her request was deemed indirect discrimination to the employee.


In a situation like this the employee can be awarded up to £12,000 by the tribunal, payable by the employer. 


It is not to say this only applies to female employees. Many claims in the past regard male employees having their flexible working requests declined, and again, these have been found as indirect discrimination as their female colleagues were previously granted permission to work flexibly. 


In these cases, had the employer followed a simple procedure with HR guidance and thoroughly explored the request, rather than flatly refusing, the situation could have been avoided and a great deal of money saved.


They would also have retained a valued and loyal employee, but instead they acquired a reputation of being discriminatory employers - a difficult trait to shift within their industry and not one any employers would want to be associated with.


By ensuring employers take advice and implement simple processes, situations like this can be avoided.  

Keir Wright-Whyte

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Managing Director

0207 043 4000

About the author

Originally graduating with a degree in geography from Edinburgh University, Keir claims that he was then tricked into becoming an accountant by one of the UK's top 5 accountancy practices.The deception extended to the usual training in audit and associated activities.

Keir subsequently worked in a number of advisory roles with clients including in the energy trading, pharmaceuticals and financial services sectors.

He loves working at Accounts & Legal because of the variety of work and clients, the excellent team ethos and morale, the importance placed on genuinely helping and being useful for clients and because he believes what he does matters to clients and helps the firm.

Keir's primary role is to ensure that new clients with complex businesses or needs are on-boarded in the best way and he is a "trouble shooter" both for clients and where complex issues arise internally. He also helps the accounting teams strive to improve what we do for clients, whether processes or services.

When not debiting or crediting, Keir has a penchant for fixing old buildings, skiing, surfing and cycling.

  

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