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60 second guide: to disciplinary procedures 16/04/2014

Employers that need to formally discipline an employee for misconduct or poor performance should follow their internal procedure, which must comply with the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures (the code). Failure to comply with the code can result in successful employment tribunal claims and an increase in compensation awarded.

Employment law SOS: managing mental health issues 16/04/2014

Q I have just been offered a job as a senior production technician. However, I suffer from bipolar disorder which I have not disclosed to my prospective employer. Am I obliged to reveal the fact that I have a mental health issue?

Employment law SOS: competition from an ex-employee 16/04/2014

Q Our sales director, who has been with the company for more than two decades and has many valuable contacts, has decided to leave and set up a company that will compete directly with us. Is there anything we can do to stop him or, at the very least, prevent him from stealing our customers?

Employment law SOS: whistle blowing 19/03/2014

Q My company is involved in what I believe is illegal activity. I have evidence that shows bribes have been offered to secure work overseas. What are the legal consequences for me of 'blowing the whistle' on this?

60 second guide: to grievances at work 18/03/2014

Many organisations have experienced an increase in workplace conflict in recent years with employees more readily using internal grievance procedures.

Employment law SOS: part-time worker rights 18/03/2014

Q I have been employed as a part-time worker at a small manufacturing company for the past three months. I am contracted to work 16 hours a week. However, when I finish my shifts, my manager often approaches me and asks me to work an extra hour or so for free. He has intimated (although not said directly) that I might lose the job if I refuse. What can I do?

Employment law SOS: flexible working hours 19/02/2014

Q I manage a small manufacturing company with just seven employees. Three of them have asked me to let them work flexible hours, but this will cause me real problems in terms of shift patterns. What are my rights as an employer?

60 second guide: to the national minimum wage 18/02/2014

The national minimum wage (NMW) is the minimum hourly rates of pay employers are legally obliged to pay their workers.

Employment law SOS: probationary periods 18/02/2014

Q We employed a machine operator six months ago on the basis of a six month probationary period, during which his employment could be terminated on a week's notice (this notice period was to be increased to three months on confirmation of satisfaction completion of his probation). Although, the employee has achieved all output targets set for him during this six month period, his manager has on-going concerns about his attitude and now wants to extend his initial probationary period by a further three months. Can the employee object?

Employment law SOS: Obligations under TUPE 17/01/2014

Q My company is growing rapidly, largely through acquisition. Because of TUPE, we are obliged to maintain the working rates and conditions of employees we have 'inherited', but this is causing resentment among some of our existing employees who are on a lower rate for the same job. What does the law say about our ability to equalise pay and conditions?

60 second guide: to positive discrimination 15/01/2014

Employers can lawfully take certain positive action to protect individuals who share a "protected characteristic" from suffering a disadvantage, address these persons' particular needs, or address disproportionate under-representation.

Employment law SOS: Bullying at work 15/01/2014

Q One of my employees claims he is being picked on. I have spoken to his colleagues and they deny the accusation. As his manager, what are my responsibilities in terms of workplace bullying and how should I proceed in this case?

Employment Law SOS: Managing stress in the workplace 28/11/2013

Q We have an employee who recently returned to work after two months off with work-related stress. We agreed a phased return to work, but during this time he alleged that his manager was attempting to unilaterally change his duties and he has now gone off sick again. How should we manage this situation and what are the legal risks?

60 second guide: to paternity leave 27/11/2013

Fathers or partners (including same sex partners) who will be sharing the responsibility with a partner for caring for a child (this includes those adopting a child) have the right to take paid statutory paternity leave if they meet certain eligibility requirements.

Employment Law SOS: Three recent changes to the law 27/11/2013

Q I understand that there have been significant changes to employment law over the last couple of months. What are these changes and how might they affect my business (I manage a manufacturing site with around 200 employees)?

Employment Law SOS: Keeping up appearances 16/10/2013

Q Our factory is hosting more and more customer visits and there are a couple of people on the shopfloor who present a very poor image. Can I insist they clean up and smarten up without being accused of victimisation?

60 second guide: to zero hour contracts 15/10/2013

A zero-hours contract is an arrangement used in both the public and private sectors under which a worker has no set hours, is not guaranteed work and is only paid for the work that he or she carries out. Generally speaking, workers are usually expected to be available when the employer needs them to work, but can refuse any offer of work.

Employment Law SOS: Retaining manufacturing know-how 15/10/2013

Q We are a small business that has recently won a sub-contract deal for a major client. Can we introduce a new term into our employment contracts to forbid disclosure of any information on manufacturing processes to stop competitors trying to pinch our people?

60 second guide: to employment tribunal changes 16/09/2013

From 29 July 2013, individuals must pay a fee to lodge a claim at an employment tribunal, unless they qualify for fee remission.

Employment Law SOS: recruiting younger workers 16/09/2013

Q We've extended our finished goods warehouse and I need to recruit two more people. Currently, the average age of that team is 52: we really want to attract young candidates but how can we do this without breaking any laws?

Employment Law SOS: how to deal with unwilling coaches 16/09/2013

Q I have just taken on three trainees for our business. After induction, they will spend two weeks in each shopfloor area, but I've heard that one team leader is complaining that on-the-job coaching (he calls it 'babysitting') will jeopardise his team's chances of hitting target. He's not raised this formally yet. What should I do?

Employment law SOS: religious discrimination 31/08/2013

Q We are taking on some new machine operators. Two are Muslims and have asked that their shift break times are flexible to allow them to pray. We're happy to accommodate this and have told their team leaders, but should we do anything else?

Employment law SOS: rewarding improvement ideas 21/08/2013

Q We've embarked on a major improvement initiative and want to launch a 'payment for ideas' reward scheme. Can we do this just for shopfloor workers and not office staff?

60 second guide: Auto-enrolment 05/08/2013

Auto-enrolment legally obliges all employers to automatically enrol certain members of their workforce into a pension scheme which meets certain minimum criteria.

Employment Law SOS: The rights and wrongs of works councils 11/07/2013

I run a 150-man factory and have been asked to meet with some employees to discuss their idea for a works council. What are the broad terms of engagement of a works council, and does it have similar legal standing in the same way as union reps?

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