Posts from November 2017

Many employers tell us they’re not sure what the difference is between Unfair and Wrongful dismissal. They are both common employment law terms, although they are not interchangeable as is often thought. To avoid confusion, below we outline what each term means. 
 
Unfair Dismissal 
The right not to be unfairly dismissed is a statutory right. An employee earns this right after two years’ continuous service. This right can only be enforced in a tribunal and an employee cannot bring an unfair dismissal claim before they have accrued two years’ continuous service. 
 
The tribunal will consider if the reason for the dismissal is fair. Fair dismissal reasons are: 
 
The employee is unable to do their job properly 
The employee has a persistent or long-term illness that makes it impossible for them to do their job 
The employee has been made redundant 
The employee has been summarily dismissed for gross misconduct 
If continuing to employ the employee would break the law 
If it is impossible for the employer to carry on employing the worker 
Another substantial reason 
 
The tribunal will also examine whether the employer was reasonable in using the selected reason as grounds to dismiss the employee, and whether or not the employer followed a fair procedure. 
 
Where a tribunal finds that an employee has been unfairly dismissed, they will typically award a sum made up of a basic award plus compensation. This compensation will take into account future loss of earnings and other losses caused by the unfair dismissal. 
 
Wrongful Dismissal 
There is no statutory right not to be wrongly dismissed. Wrongful dismissal is actually a breach of contract. There is no minimum length of service applicable to wrongful dismissal.  
 
Wrongful dismissal can occur if an employee is dismissed without notice or without the notice period as set out in the employment contract. A wrongful dismissal claim can be heard in the County Court, the High Court or in a tribunal. 
 
Where it is found that an employee has been wrongly dismissed, the court or tribunal does not consider whether the dismissal was made on reasonable grounds. The decision is simply made on whether the terms of the employment contract were breached. 
 
If wrongful dismissal is proven, damages will be awarded. The amount awarded typically amounts to the value of pay and benefits lost by the employee during the contractual notice period. 
 
If you need help with a dimissal situation, or would like advice on any HR issue, contact us to discuss your needs. 
 
For all your HR advice and support whether in Luton, or anywhere else in the UK, look no further than Plain Talking HR. 
 
Christmas party season is once again upon us – bringing with it the annual round of drinking, dancing and generally making merry! Make sure you’re not the one on this year’s naughty list by following our top 10 dos and don’ts for the work’s Christmas do. 
 
Do attend the office party, even if just for an hour or two. It shows you’re part of the team and not attending may hurt your reputation. 
 
Don’t dress like you’re off to the nightclub. The party is still a business function, so check out the dress code and dress appropriately. 
 
Do pace yourself. Don’t drink too much and try to drink a glass of water between each alcoholic drink. 
 
Don’t party on an empty stomach. Alcohol will affect you even more if you haven’t eaten and you’ll also want to pig out on the buffet. 
 
Do conduct yourself professionally. Remember not to gossip or spread rumours, dance on tables or snog a colleague under the mistletoe. 
 
Don’t sit next to the boss. Especially if you’ll be tempted to tell some ‘home truths’ that may damage your career prospects. 
 
Do keep your conversations positive and don’t spend the evening complaining about work. 
 
Don’t forget to thank the person who co-ordinated the party. 
 
Do pre-book your taxi or arrange your lift home, have a curfew and stick to it. 
 
Don’t call in sick the next day. If you follow our dos and don’ts you shouldn’t have the need to! 
 
If you need help on dealing with fallout from the Christmas party, or any other HR issue, contact us to discuss your needs. 
 
For all your HR advice whether in Luton or anywhere in the UK, look no further than Plain Talking HR. 
 
Sooner or later even the best employer is faced with an employee resignation. Employees resign for many reasons, and some are completely beyond your control. 
 
However, when a valued employee resigns, it’s only natural to think “I wonder what we could have done to stop them deciding to leave”. Although, even at this late stage, it is always worth exploring whether there are any opportunities to get them to stay. 
 
While you may be too late to save someone who has already handed in their notice, a constructive exit interview process may help you to prevent it happening in the future. An effective exit interview helps you part company on good terms and helps identify: 
 
• Why the employee wants to leave 
• What your organisation does well 
• Where you can make improvements 
• That the skills and experience needed for the job are set correctly 
 
Exit interviews are an ideal way of gathering information to help you improve your employee engagement and retention. While they should be available to any employee who is leaving, participation is entirely voluntary. The ideal time to conduct the exit interview is 2 weeks into a month’s notice period. By this time, the emotions around the resignation have settled and the employee who is leaving is not yet tied up in a busy handover. It is often the line manager of the employee who conducts the exit interview. However, if you have an HR manager/consultant, it is a good idea to use them to carry out the interview as they are typically seen as more impartial. 
 
Exit interviews can be conducted face-to-face, over the telephone or by written questionnaire. Face-to-face and telephone interviews allow you ask follow up questions to employee responses, which can lead to obtaining additional insights. Although some employees may be more open and honest with information if they can write down their thoughts and feelings. 
 
To make the exiting employee more comfortable, it helps to explain that the interview is an opportunity get their honest feedback on aspects of the company and to ask for their opinion on areas that could be improved. If you start with a friendly discussion rather than move directly into the exit questions, it will help the employee feel more at ease. 
 
Always try to end the meeting on a positive note. Thank the employee for their contribution and service to your company and wish them luck in their new role. 
 
Finally, having acquired the information from employees who decide to leave, it’s important to put it to good use. If there is feedback and guidance needed for line managers or it’s necessary to change some of the company’s procedures, don’t neglect to address any issues that have been identified. 
 
If you would like to find out more on exit interviews or would like help to create your exit interview process, please contact us and we will be happy to discuss it with you. 
 
For all your HR advice and support whether in Luton or anywhere in the UK, look no further than Plain Talking HR.