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Employment Law – Could it cost you your business?

Author: Joan Finch Published: 2nd July 2013 11:58
Employment Law article image of ants at work
Unfair Dismissal - Is your company ready for deal with a claim? 

Because Employment Law is constantly changing it is essential to review your company policies on a regular basis in order to keep up to date with current legislation. This is a first of a number of articles relating to Employment Law and how it may impact your business and may even put your entire business at risk.

Ex-employees or current employees can lodge a claim at an Employment Tribunal (ET) for a number of different reasons.  For the purposes of this article we will focus on an employer receiving an ET claim for unfair dismissal.

You have dismissed an employee for an act of gross misconduct following for example a number of derogatory comments made on a social media website.  The ex-employee subsequently submits a claim against the company for unfair dismissal. 

For the ex-employee to lodge an ET claim they must meet the following criteria:

  • They were employed directly by the company (either full or part time)
  • Have two years qualifying service (unless they commenced employment prior to the 6th April 2012 and the grounds on which they were dismissed is in relation to one of the statutory reasons for automatic unfair dismissal)
  • The ET claim must be submitted to the Employment Tribunal offices within 3 months of the dismissal taking place. 

At present for ex-employees or current employees to submit an ET Claim, there is NO monetary cost incurred.  Should the Claimant be successful with their claim for unfair dismissal there is a calculation applied by the Employment Tribunal to work out the award, but the maximum award is currently £87,700.

Employers who receive an Employment Tribunal claim for unfair dismissal would need to undertake the following for example:

  • Respond to the claim, within the designated timeframe
  • Within the response the company needs to demonstrate the disciplinary procedure was following in full and fair, in accordance with the ACAS Code of Practise: Discipline and Grievance
  • State the grounds for the dismissal
  • Demonstrate how the employee actions seriously breached company policy as detailed within the company disciplinary policy, quoting the relevant definitions that led to the employee being fairly dismissal.

Even at this stage, you are incurring the cost of time, money and you may even be incurring the cost of legal advice.  More importantly it may take you away from focusing and running your business.

If you are in the process of dealing with a disciplinary situation or are concerned as your business does not have all the necessary contracts and policies in place to reduce the risk of an Employment Tribunal Claim for Unfair dismissal; or wish to ensure that your company is fully compliant and up to date when dealing with disciplinary situations and all areas of employment law, then please refer to our website

You can also download a free short employment law compliance health check questionnaire and upon completion receive feedback and recommendations to ensure your business is up to date on employment legislation and reduce any potential legal risks to the business.

In our next article we will cover the new system of Employment Tribunal fees, which are due to be implemented at the end of July and further planned changes.

Article by Joan Finch of J Finch & Associates Ltd

We would like to welcome Joan to the AboutMyArea/EN9 team of editorial contributors and thank her for her first informative article and look forward to regular articles throughout the year on employment law and HR issues.

Joan is an award winning, highly experienced, commercial, self-motivated HR professional who has operated within the sectors of Retail, Hospitality and Catering, specialising in Employees Relations. Joan is now the proud owner and creator of J Finch & Associates Ltd.  Joan's career spans over 10 years, and has broad experience within Human Resources, with initially being a HR generalist covering all aspect of HR from Recruitment, learning and development, training, Employee Relations, redundancy, restructures and TUPE. Since 2008 she has specialised in Employee Relations applying a commercial and practical approach to all ER related issues.

For more information on Human Resources, Employee Relationship and Employment Law issues you may like to take a look at J Finch & Associates website: http://www.jfinch.co.uk/

Photograph of ants at work by kind permission of J Finch & Associates Ltd

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