Here are our top ten tips for avoiding employment tribunal claims.
1. Ensure that contracts of employments are properly drafted and kept up to date.
It is a legal requirement that employers provide employees with a written
statement of terms no later than 2 months after their employment begins. There
is certain information that must be contained in the written statement of terms
which employers need to ensure is contained within their contracts.
2. Tailor your staff handbook to your business.
It should contain all the policies which set out best practice on how your
managers should deal with day to day personnel matters. Use it to communicate
employers’ and employees’ duties and obligations within the workplace to avoid
3. Communicate staff handbook to all employees plus updates
They need to understand the consequences if they breach any of these policies.
Employers should treat staff fairly in accordance with these policies to avoid
Train your managers to help them understand the key principles in employment
law and how to sensibly apply these in the workplace. Often managers who are
very good in their specialist field, may not know how to effectively deal with an
employment dispute, training courses are therefore a useful tool to help fill this
4. Follow formal procedures (eg disciplinary/ grievance/ redundancy) and follow what the staff handbook and contract state.
Also employers should ensure that disciplinary and grievance procedures comply
with the ACAS Code of Practice. If employers fail to follow these ACAS
guidelines then this could result in an employee’s compensation award being
increased by up to 25 per cent by the employment tribunal.
5. Consider mediation to resolve disciplinary and grievance issues.
Mediation is a voluntary and informal service where an independent party helps
two parties resolve a dispute. It can be used at any stage in a workplace dispute
but may not be the best way forward in allegations of gross misconduct.
6. There may be certain situations which are not easily resolved with
difficult employees so employers should seek specialist employment
advice at an early stage because this may avoid an expensive
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7. Have a transparent pay, promotion and bonus structure in place to help
avoid any equal pay claims.
8. Make one person (eg HR Manager) responsible to review all the policies
and procedures to ensure that they comply with current employment law
and also remain relevant to the business.
9. Finally it may sound straightforward but this point is often overlooked by employers……..
……when you see a problem developing, COMMUNICATE with your employees
on an informal basis at the earliest opportunity in an attempt to seek a resolution
before the dispute escalates into a situation which could result in an employment
10. Have regular appraisals – to find out why it is important for an
employment law reason….. speak to Richard or Abigail.
Disputes in the workplace should ideally be addressed at an early stage and
employers need to take time to listen to their employees
For more information or queries about issues discussed in this article, please contact Richard Mullett by email. To speak directly with Richard or any other of The Legal Partners team of specialist business and HR lawyers based at our Richmond UK office, or our partner lawyers in Singapore or Guanzhou, please call +44 203 755 5288
This article explains the main legal issues and common situations to consider. It is not a substitute for legal advice. Please get in contact to discuss your particular issue or queries.