Employment Case Studies

All types of employers experience similar employment law issues in the workplace.  Employee grievances, disputes and issues relating to employment contracts often crop up in businesses of all sizes whether they employ 5 or 500 employees. An early consultation with one of our highly experienced employment solicitors can reduce the time and cost needed to deal with an employment issue - and help to avoid a costly Employment Tribunal.

Here are a few examples of the types of issue we deal with regularly:

  • an employer needs to discipline an employee and doesn't know how to deal with it
  • job cuts have to be made and advice on the redundancy consultation is needed
  • how to handle an employee is on long term sick leave
  • how to deal with an employee often takes time off sick for various unrelated reasons - often on a Friday afternoon, a Monday or after a bank holiday
  • an allegation of bullying has been raised by one employee against another
  • an ET1 has been received
  • an ACAS Early Conciliation officer has contacted the manager to say that a claim against the company is imminent
  • the company is restructuring and is considering offering a voluntary severance package by way of settlement agreements

The following case studies deal with a couple of issues in more detail.

 

Flexible working, bank holidays and employees

A case study, by Head of Employment, Susan Mayall

One of my employer clients was wanting to look at the way they calculated holidays for members of staff who worked shifts or worked a part time basis.

With more and more employees working flexibly to fit in their caring responsibilities or other work-life activities, a person working 9-5 Monday to Friday is quite often not now the norm.

My client had a number of workers working four days a week and had previously been calculating holiday entitlement with regards to Bank Holidays based on if the employee worked on the Bank Holiday.  This meant that Carol, an employee who worked Tuesday to Friday each week and therefore was already off work on the four Bank Holiday Mondays, did not receive the benefit of them as she was already off, whereas Mandy who worked Monday to Thursday gained the benefit of each of the Monday Bank Holidays.  Our client wanted to treat all its employees fairly and we looked into this and calculated options. 

Our client has now changed from using the “normal working day” approach for calculating Bank Holiday entitlement for part time workers, to a “pro rata” approach which to my client and Carol seemed far fairer.  (The downside of this for Mandy is that she will under the pro rata system receive less entitlement to Bank Holidays.)

My advice on this is that if you as an employer have part time workers, you should review how you calculate Bank Holidays to ensure fairness to all and to avoid a claim of less favourable treatment based on the employee’s part-time status or even a potential indirect sex discrimination claim.

Helping a client to avoid a costly unfair dismissal case

Nursery Case Study

We were contacted by an employer client who owns a number of nurseries and had witnessed a heated argument between an assistant manager and one of the room supervisors. 

The employer telephoned us to say that she thought about dismissing both of them on the spot.  We advised her to suspend both and put together a letter inviting each to an investigatory meeting with a manager from another site the next day.  Witness statements were obtained from two staff members in the room at the time of the argument and statements were taken from the two participants.  Both were invited to attend a disciplinary hearing, resulting in both being issued with a final written warning that their behaviour was unacceptable in the workplace, they apologised and it was agreed that both would work at different sites. 

If the employer had dismissed them both could have issued a claim for unfair dismissal.  They would both have had reasonable prospects of success for claiming compensation for unfair dismissal because no procedure had been followed and a dismissal on the facts may have been an unreasonable sanction and not one that another employer would have imposed. 

The legal costs alone to defend a case brought by two separate claimants would cost in the region of £12,000 plus VAT.  This could have had a serious impact on the company, whereas a ten minute conversation with ourselves and Pearson’s drafting letters and a script for the investigating officer and the disciplining officer to go through at meetings with the employees effectively and quickly resolved the issue and saved the company money.

Contact

If your company needs help drafting employment contracts, or you would like a review of your employment contracts, please contact susan.mayall@pearsonlegal.co.uk

Last updated 13 May 2017