Even with the very best intentions and no matter how good you are as an employer, employment disputes may still happen. There are numerous employment claims that can be brought against an employer including:
- Unfair dismissal (including ‘constructive dismissal’ where an employee resigns because they believe the employer has breached the contract of employment or acted in such a way as to undermine the implied term of mutual trust and confidence that exists in every employment contract)
- Not being allowed to have someone accompany the employee to a disciplinary or grievance hearing
- Discrimination on the grounds of sex, race, disability, religion or belief, age or sexual orientation
- Not being consulted in a redundancy situation
- Failure to make reasonable adjustments in the case of disabled employees
Where disputes do arise the key is to stop these disputes turning into costly and disruptive tribunal proceedings.
It is important therefore to be aware of, and follow the ACAS code of practice, as well having your own policies and procedures in place. By following the proper processes and procedures you not only reduce the chance of disputes escalating, but also reduce the risk of an employee’s compensation award being increased at any subsequent tribunal. In particular keep written records of all employment decisions. Making sure that all conversations and meetings are minuted, include both sides of the story and are agreed between all parties will prove extremely important should a tribunal be unavoidable. Not only will they show that you have followed the correct procedures, they will also help demonstrate that you are a ‘reasonable’ employer.
Ignoring a staff issue will not make it go away. Tackling an issue head on in the correct manner can stop the problem from escalating. In many cases undue delay in dealing with an employment dispute or grievance can lead to a claim for constructive dismissal.
For more advice on how to avoid employer/employee disputes, and how to deal with them should the worst happen download our free guide ‘ download our free guide ‘How to protect your school against employment claims’