Guidance for employers on conducting disciplinary and grievance procedures during the Coronavirus pandemic
For employers, it is often important that advice is taken on these issues as soon as they arise, even if your policies and procedures are up to date. Frequently these cases are difficult to deal with and complications easily arise. Mishandling the situation can lead to various claims in the employment tribunal and therefore ensuring appropriate management of such issues from the outset is key. Our team is well acquainted in advising HR professionals and managers on internal investigations, disciplinary and grievance procedures, and absence and performance management, to minimise the risk of tribunal claims.
When advising senior executives in such situations, we understand the emotional pressure of being subject to internal processes. We offer legal and practical guidance through what is often a difficult time. We will assist you in terms of how to put your best case forward, whether you are the subject of disciplinary investigation, poor performance allegations, or ill health capability proceedings.
We will ensure that we understand the issues and your requirements, and advise you on the best strategy available in order to achieve your business goals and protect your interests.
Kingsley Napley’s criminal and regulatory law pedigree means that we have in-depth experience of disciplinary investigations and cases involving alleged workplace wrongdoing. We regularly work with our business and financial crime, professional discipline and regulatory colleagues across the firm to ensure that such cases are handled appropriately from all angles.
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We have seen examples of people being ‘outed’ for posting racist comments online by individual bystanders who have been able to find their LinkedIn profiles and then contact relevant employers calling for the employee in question to lose their job. Unfortunately, this is nothing new. But what can an organisation do in these circumstances, if it wants to demonstrate that it stands against racism and discrimination?
Most disputes between partners of professional services firms are settled either through confidential negotiations or arbitration. A public resolution of the matter through a full hearing and reported judgment is a rare occurrence. A recent example of such a case involving an ex-partner of a law firm is a useful reminder that it is difficult to challenge profit share or bonus decisions as an irrational exercise of discretion.
In a case that attracted national media coverage and emphasises the crucial importance of regulatory compliance and the highest standards of professional conduct in the financial services sector, the High Court dismissed a breach of contract claim brought by an investment manager.
So the Prime Minister has announced that most restrictions in place due to the coronavirus pandemic will be lifted on 19 July, despite acknowledging that the pandemic itself is far from over and that case numbers are expected to continue rising.
In recent weeks, it has introduced a formal workplace policy providing paid time off for all staff who are directly or indirectly affected by pregnancy loss. This is not only a significant enhancement to the provisions required by law but is also, I understand, the first of its kind being put in place by a UK law firm. We hope other firms in our sector and beyond will follow suit and normalise protection in this space, thereby supporting the wellbeing of those affected and protecting talent.
When deciding whether to focus on the discrete allegations or look beyond them, employers need to balance confidentiality with duty of care to employees, says Mark McWilliams.
Employers need to show the individual’s behaviour clearly affected the organisation’s reputation or their colleagues, says Catherine Bourne.
According to the most recent NHS statistics 2,500 people are injured or diagnosed with a spinal cord injury every year. Indeed it is estimated that there are a total of 50,000 people living in the UK with a spinal cord injury of some sort. Unfortunately sustaining a spinal cord injury impacts on every aspect of a person’s life. Often, where everyday tasks are a challenge, returning to work may seem unrealistic. The fact is that employment rates among people with spinal cord injuries remain much lower than the general population.
There is currently no legal requirement to be vaccinated and the government has so far shied away from compelling people to be. Michael Gove’s review of the potential use of vaccine passports, expected in June, could alter the position. Employers can encourage staff to get vaccinated (as they may do with a winter flu jab, for example), provide access to medical information, allow paid time off to get the vaccine and provide sick pay for those suffering with side effects. However, insisting that employees are vaccinated could risk exposure to discrimination claims from those whose choice not to be vaccinated.
Failing to promote a good workplace culture based upon a firm’s core values is a potential regulatory issue.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) recently launched a whistleblowing campaign, “In confidence, with confidence”, encouraging individuals working within the financial services sector to come forward and raise any concerns they have regarding potential wrongdoing, emphasising its commitment to protecting their identity and an increase in both resources and training at the FCA. The FCA also commits to create a report about all concerns which have been expressed and to provide updates to a whistleblower every 3 months if so requested.
In light of a recent EAT ruling, Nadjia Zychowicz and Eugenie Freeman discuss whether a high-performing employee should be awarded a bonus if the business is at risk of insolvency.
With many employers under significant pressure to cut costs, Moira Campbell outlines some possible options to consider other than reducing staff headcount.
The breakdown of a relationship is a challenging and stressful time, even when you and your partner are on relatively good terms.
There are a number of support services we recommend to help manage the strain which comes with relationship breakdown and the significant changes to your and your children’s circumstances. People often go first to friends and family and then perhaps to a lawyer, counsellor or financial advisor. Many people do not feel comfortable talking to their employer about their circumstances and in this blog, we explore how it can be important from both a personal as well as family law and employment law perspectives.
Equality and diversity training initiatives have received a considerable amount of negative attention recently. In December 2020, the government announced its intention to scrap unconscious bias training for civil servants. Since then, there have been press reports of senior managers allegedly claiming that unconscious bias does not exist and the training is just ‘virtue signalling’ and a waste of money.
So does this mean employers should now bin their diversity training? I don't believe so.
6 April 2021 will see the implementation of the biggest reform in the engagement of contractors for decades. The changes were originally scheduled to come into force on 6 April 2020, but implementation was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Last week we reflected on this year’s International Women’s Day theme #ChooseToChallenge and felt the impact of COVID-19 on women in the workplace cannot go without a mention. For the first time in nearly ten years, women’s economic empowerment in the workplace is set to decline according to PwC’s latest Women in Work Index, creating what has been coined a “shecession”, caused largely by the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 has had a severely damaging affect on all organisations and no less so those in the charitable sector. Be that on a dramatic hit to donation levels, resourcing issues through furloughing or redundancies and difficulties in delivering programmes and training. In a battle to survive and deliver on core services, it is easier than ever to forget crucial internal risk and compliance processes.
The BBC recently reported that women appear to be bearing the brunt of ageism at work. According to the UN, the number of people over the age of 65 is growing faster than any other age group and yet ageism is the most common type of discrimination in Europe with women being particularly disadvantaged.
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