Articles

Here you will find all the latest news from the SCE team. In this section we will feature news about what we have been up to, recent mentions in the press, information about the work we do in the community and lots more.

Monthly Archive February 2019

The Do’s And Don’ts When Giving Witness Evidence

You may be asked at some point in your life to attend court to give evidence in respect of any kind of matter. Although you will be called in support of one particular side, you have a duty to tell the truth to the court, and so you cannot change your evidence in order to suit the party calling you. It can be a daunting prospect, but here are some do’s and don’ts to help prepare you for giving evidence.

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3 Things We Learnt In Law This Week (21 February 2019)

Prison Officer Was Unfairly Dismissed After Revealing Sexuality

Forty-year-old Ben Plaistow was the victim of direct discrimination contrary to provisions of the Equality Act 2010, employment judge Michael Ord told the Cambridge Tribunal.

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How can we handle an employee who is underperforming?

Allow the employee every opportunity to explain their underperformance. Establish whether there are any underlying reasons for the poor performance, such as disability, health, or personal problems outside of work. If necessary, provide the employee with additional support, supervision and training.

Let the employee know exactly what they need to do to improve their performance. Put targets in writing and include a timescale of how long they have to improve. Ensure that you continue to monitor their performance and meet with the employee frequently and note their progress.

When performance problems persist or escalate these should then be dealt with on a formal basis. Ensure you follow a fair procedure, as defined in your company capability procedure.

It may be reasonable to dismiss an employee who is not meeting your required standards as long as you have followed a fair and legal procedure.

Remember, an employee with more than two years’ service who is dismissed on grounds of incapability may bring an unfair dismissal claim.

Solution

If you would like to develop a capability policy, or have an employee who is underperforming, call us for a free initial consultation for specific guidance tailored to your individual case. 

Can I dismiss an employee for making inappropriate comments on social media?

If you do not have a clear social media policy in place, you need to remember that an employee cannot be dismissed or even disciplined regarding their social media activities. If you end up at a tribunal, they would find the employees dismissal to be unfair.

The reason for this is an employee can only be dismissed or disciplined for misconduct if they knew that the particular action or behaviour would be unacceptable to the practice. If they didn’t, they cannot be accused of any wrongdoing.

You should be clear throughout a social media policy about the distinction between business and private use of social media. Remember your employees are representing you at all times even outside of normal working hours, and what is written on a social networking site can reflect on you.

Solution

We can assist you in the drafting and implementation of bespoke social media policies, tailored to suit your company. We can also provide advice and support when dealing with misconduct issues arising employees’ use of social media, whether within the workplace or outside working hours.  

How To Manage Workplace Relationships

With Valentine’s Day making February the month for romance, this month we take a look at some of the potential risks to employers when romance blossoms amongst employees and the steps that can be taken to address these.

Why Should An Employer Be Concerned About Its Employees Forming Romantic Relationships In The Workplace?

Romantic relationships between employees in the same organisation can expose the employer to a number of legal risks. These are most likely to arise when one employee is pursuing another to start a relationship or, even more so, when the relationship breaks down. The most obvious legal risks are as follows:

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3 Dangers Of Non-compliance With The Pre-action Protocol

The pre-action protocols are an important part of the Civil Procedure Rules. Their aim is to prompt and encourage correspondence between the parties prior to any action being taken. This could ultimately lead to some agreements being made about facts or a compromise being settled before litigation is considered. In addition, the protocol aims to encourage an exchange of information at an earlier stage in proceedings. A crucial document could be exchanged which could prompt a settlement or compliance with the contract. It will also encourage better investigation into the facts as alleged by both sides in order to correspond with each other. Ultimately, the aim is to try and settle before litigation is required, but if it is required, it can enable the litigation proceedings to run to the courts timetable efficiently.

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3 Things We Learnt In Law This Week (7 February 2019)

Consultation On Extending Redundancy Protection For New Parents

A recent study by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy found that one in nine returning to work after maternity leave were fired, made redundant, or treated in a manner which forced them to leave their job. The study also found that as many as 54,000 women per year are losing their jobs as a result of their pregnancy or maternity leave.

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What Does Dismissal For “Some Other Substantial Reason” Mean?

Under section 94 of the Employment Rights Act 1996, an employee has the right not to be unfairly dismissed. If an employer wants to dismiss an employee with the necessary length of service, the employer needs to be able to show that they had a good reason to take that action and that they did so in a fair manner.

If an employee started work with the employer after 6 April 2013, they need to have built up two years’ continuous service before they’re protected by the law. Those who started work before that date need to only have one year’s continuous service to achieve the same protection.

If an employee enjoys protection under the law, the employer needs to be wary when considering dismissal.

There are five potentially fair reasons for dismissing an employee:

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