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Top 10 tips for avoiding employment tribunal claims

Sometimes no matter what you do and how far you go towards accommodating a member of staff, a disgruntled individual will bring a tribunal claim against you. I have put together this article to assist you in undertaking some precautionary measures to ensure that any unwarranted claim is not successful.

Top ten tips for avoiding employment tribunal claims:

  1. Ensure that you have legally compliant employment documentation in place. An employer is under a legal duty to provide an employee with a written statement of employment particulars within two months of the employee’s start date. Having clearly drafted polices should reduce the number of work related disputes.
  2. Keep employment contracts and policies up to date. Employment law is constantly changing; therefore it is essential that documents are regularly reviewed to ensure that they offer an employer the best protection should a dispute arise. This is particularly important where an employee has been promoted into a more senior position.
  3.  Implement a social media policy. The latest figures place the number of Facebook users in the UK are just over 31 million, so the likelihood that your staff are on a social media platform is high. If you haven’t implemented a social media policy, taking disciplinary action over the misuse of social media may be difficult and could result in a tribunal claim.
  4.  Follow the correct procedure when dealing with issues. Make sure that the procedure you follow is in line with your company’s procedure, and also in accordance with the ACAS Code of Practice. If the company procedure is less onerous ensure the ACAS Code is followed, otherwise you could be penalised by the tribunal (compensation can be uplifted by 25%).
  5.  Provide managers with training on dealing with problems and in particular with equality training. Many employers are unaware that equality training can be their only defence in a discrimination claim.
  6.  Make sure that staff are aware of company policies. There is no point in having all the correct policies in place if no one knows they are there – invest in an intranet or share them from Dropbox (registration and limited use is free at http://www.dropbox.com).
  7.  Treat staff equally and follow a fair procedure. Tribunal claims often arise from situations where an employer is entitled to take action against an employee, but they do not deal with it fairly. This can lead to a finding of unfair dismissal in favour of the employee which could have been avoided.
  8.  Do not delay holding meetings with staff because you don’t want to deal with it. It is common for small business owners to not want to deal with an issue because they work in small teams and do not wish to create any form of conflict between them and their staff. However if problems are not tackled at an early stage they become bigger over time and could ultimately lead to a claim in an employment tribunal.
  9.  Keep written records of all employment decisions. These records are important to show you are a reasonable employer, and will help at an employment tribunal (assuming you have done things properly in the first place).  Minutes should be taken at meetings, and conversations may need to be followed up in writing to confirm what was discussed. Keeping records will also ensure that all parties are fully aware of the situation.

Seek advice from an employment specialist if you are concerned about an employment situation, practicable sound advice may resolve a dispute.

How we can help?

We can help you protect your business by becoming your outsourced HR department through our fixed fee product myHR Plus together with our bespoke legal indemnity insurance policy. 

For further information on ways to avoid employment tribunal claims or dealing with a dispute in the workplace, please do not hesitate to contact me for a free consultation at samira.cakali@scesolicitors.co.uk or on 01133 50 40 30.

Please note that the information in this blog is to provide information of general interest in a summary manner and should not be construed as individual legal advice. Readers should consult with SCE Solicitors or other professional counsel before acting on the information contained here.

Samira Cakali

Samira Cakali is a pragmatic and approachable solicitor advocate with extensive contentious and non-contentious experience in the fields of employment law as well as civil litigation, within a range of commercial businesses from SME’s to multinationals as well as senior executives.

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