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3 Things We Learnt In Law This Week (3 January 2019)

UK Government Annouces New Code Of Practice To Tackle Workplace Sexual Harassment 

A new statutory Code of Practice will be developed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission in order to guide employers on their legal responsibilities regarding sexual harassment in the workplace. This was one of 12 actions recently announced by the UK government as it makes confronting workplace harassment a priority.

The announcements are in response to the July 2018 recommendations of the UK Women and Equalities Committee, which called for (1) putting sexual harassment at the top of the UK government’s agenda; (2) requiring regulators to take a more active role in tackling harassment; (3) making enforcement processes work better for employees by setting them out in the Code; (4) cleaning up the use of nondisclosure agreements (NDAs) used in employment contracts and settlement agreements; and (5) collecting robust data on sexual harassment in the workplace at regular intervals.

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The Legal Risks Around Mismanagement of Mental Health Issues

Wednesday was World Mental Health Day, a good time for employers to look at their legal obligations towards staff who are suffering with mental health issues.
In this article we bring you up to speed with some of the issues which surround mental health in the workplace and provide you with a broad outline of some of the potential claims that might arise if you mismanage an employee who is suffering with mental health issues.

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Our All New 5 Step Guide to Reducing Sickness Absence in the Workplace and Preventing Discrimination Claims

Managing sickness absence is a pivotal part of the successful running of your business. Letting sickness absence get out of control can mean that be business is not as productive, or efficient, as it could be. However, mismanagement of sickness absence can lead to a disability discrimination claim which could cost your business thousands of pounds.

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Tips to Manage Employees Mental Health in the Workplace

In 2018 mental health is becoming more widely spoken about in, and out, of the workplace. Smart employers know that organisations are only as strong as their people and that the experiences, wellbeing and motivations of each worker is fundamental to how the organisation performs. Generally, a common-sense approach based on open communication and good people-management is all that is required. Below are our six top tips to help you effectively manage and support workplace mental wellbeing.

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How to Manage Diversity in the Workplace

Managing diversity in the workplace presents employers with a number of challenges. However, these challenges can be easily managed by employers promoting a culture of tolerance and open communication. Below are our top tips for managing diversity in the workplace.

Treat each employee as an individual

Avoid making assumptions about employees from different backgrounds. Instead, look at each employee as an individual and judge successes and failures on the individual’s merit.

Prioritise communication

To manage a diverse workplace, organisations need to ensure that they effectively communicate with employees. Policies, procedures, safety rules and other important information should be designed to overcome language and cultural barriers by translating materials and using pictures and symbols whenever applicable.

Encourage employees to work in diverse groups

Diverse work teams let employees get to know and value one another on an individual basis and can help break down preconceived notions and cultural misunderstandings.
Base standards on objective criteria

Set one standard of rules for all groups of employees regardless of background. Ensure that all employment actions, including discipline, follow these standardised criteria to make sure each employee is treated the same.

Be open-minded

Recognise, and encourage employees to recognise, that one’s own experience, background, and culture are not the only with value to the organisation. Look for ways to incorporate a diverse range of perspectives and talents into efforts to achieve organisational goals.

Recruitment

To build a diverse workplace, it is crucial to recruit and hire talent from a variety of backgrounds. This requires leadership and others who make hiring decisions to overcome bias in interviewing and assessing talent. If organisations can break through bias and hire the most qualified people, those with the right education, experience and skill sets, a diverse workplace should be the natural result.

Policies and Practices

Organisations that embrace diversity also need to ensure that there are policies and practices in place to protect employees’ rights and stay compliant with government regulations.

Zero-Tolerance Policy

Having a diverse workplace means that jokes and comments about a protected characteristic need to be met with zero-tolerance enforcement. Policies should be put in place to handle misconduct and communicate to employees that this type of behaviour will not be tolerated. Organisations also need to make sure they have a formal complaint policy, so employees know how to report misconduct within an organisation.

Training

Employees need to be aware of how to coexist with a diverse range of people, as well as be conscious of cultural sensitivity. Training can help an organisation manage diversity in the workplace by helping employees become more self-aware, which plays a vital role in helping employees understand their own cultural biases and prejudices.

If you need any help and advice in relation to the above, please do not hesitate to contact me or the employment team on 0113 350 4030 or at hello@scesolicitors.co.uk.

If you would like to be kept up to date with any changes in employment or dispute resolution law, please subscribe to our newsletter.

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SCE Solicitors is a boutique employment law practice based in Leeds which advises clients nationwide.  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.

Mobile Phones and The Workplace

We’ve all been there – we’re right in the middle of a face-to-face conversation with a close friend or family member when, without warning, they look down at their mobile phone and begin mindlessly scrolling. Or even worse, their phone rings and they take the call. 

Well it’s bad enough when that happens in our personal time, but it’s almost unbearably frustrating when it happens in the office. If employees are constantly on their mobile phone, it can have many negative effects, including irritating colleagues and impacting on employees’ productivity and performance. 

The best way to tackle this issue is to have a clear policy in place which sets out clear expectations – and consequences –concerning the permitted use of mobiles phones in the workplace. Below are our 10 easy ways you can take control of mobile phone use in your workplace. 

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Ramadan; Adjustments To The Employment Environment

Ramadan is around the corner, and given that around 4.2% of the county’s population will be fasting, I thought it would be useful to put together some facts for employers together with some guidance on making temporary adjustments to their policies to help staff observe Ramadan. 

Here are some facts about Islam and Ramadan: 

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Love in the Workplace: Managing Personal Relationships

Undoubtedly the rise of social media has had an impact upon how many people meet their significant other but, the fact remains, many people still meet partners through work.  It’s not surprising really given the amount of time we spend at work but, for some employers, learning of a new office romance can leave them feeling on edge.  

Employers cannot, of course, ban personal relationships at work but, where these could possibly have a detrimental impact upon the workplace, certain steps can be taken to minimise any issues that may arise. Employers must be mindful of striking a balance between an employee’s right to a private life with the need to protect its business interests.  Here are some top tips for managing relationships at work.

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8 Step Guide to Help Reduce the Risk of Discrimination in the Workplace

Discrimination is a complex and sensitive area of the law as set out in the Equality Act 2010 (EQA). It covers all areas of employment including job advertisements, the recruitment process, terms and conditions of work, conduct during employment and even at ‘work do’s’. The EQA also covers dismissals and work-related matters arising after employment has ended, for example giving references.

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