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HR News

HR News

The Employment Reform and Regulatory Reform Bill, currently before Parliament, contains a series of measures which are likely to make life harder for every worker. Press coverage has focussed on plans to reduce the maximum compensatory award that an employee can be awarded for unfair dismissal from around 72,000 to around 26,000. Few claimants win the maximum award, but it is an important benchmark in high value cases. These claims usually settle, because employers do not want evidence of bullying, etc, to be in the public domain. So this is all about reducing the financial liability of employers who behave unreasonably. Two further provisions have slipped under the press' radar. One is the idea, similar to the "cooling off" period in strike ballots, that workers who bring claims should first submit a claim to the conciliation system Acas. In place of the present, relatively simple rule that a claim should be submitted within 3 months of the act about which the worker complaints, the government has come up with new formula that in future a worker will have 3 months plus some, but not all, the time the claim is with Acas. Unless the provision is reformed before the Bill is passed, every employer will have an interest in fighting tribunal battles not about the substance of the claim but just about whether the claim was put in on time. The other novelty is the government's plans to introduce "protected conversations", where a manager, on reaching a preliminary view that…
Tuesday, 09 October 2012 18:03

Reinstatement: an exchange

Written by David Renton
After my last post remarking that only 5 orders for reinstatement or re-engagement were made by Tribunals in 2011-2012, a regular reader of this site Mark wrote to me on the subject of reinstatement, as follows: "Here is a hypothetial case where re-engagement would work well. You worked for Mega Plc, a large diversified organisation, each of whose separate divisions has considerable autonomy and its own culture/ identity. You were sacked from your job in the Spoonmaking Division and are re-engaged to work in the Forkmaking Division. Now as far as the forkmakers are concerned, your tribunal judgment is yet more confirmation of what they have believed for years: that the spoonmakers are a 'cut below' who are good at getting things wrong. This is a very rare scenario." "Most people who think they have been unfairly dismissed harbour feelings of distrust of and hostility towards the employer. Whatever the decision of the tribunal, the employer is likely to continued to believe that they were in the right, or at least continue to say it. The return of a sacked employee is almost always likely to be intolerable to the employer: s/he is a standing reproach, turning up for work every working day, a reminder that somebody [i.e. a Tribunal] thought they had got it wrong. The employee will suspect that they are unlikely to be surrounded by, shall we say, loving feelings toward them, and that very likely the employer will just have another go. And I exclude from…
Tuesday, 09 October 2012 17:59

Age Discrimination in the USA

Written by Philip Hyland
America is often seen as the bastion of free market where employers can hire and fire at will and where there is very little regulation. However in some respects regulation of the workplace in the US has been far advanced of the UK and indeed the EU. America has had age discrimination legislation since 1967, whilst Canada legislated against age discrimination in the early 80s. With the introduction of compulsory pension schemes yesterday for larger employers, the question is open as to how many of the generation leaving school and college today will need to be working in their later years and therefore reliant on not being discriminated against.
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