April - May 2004
India Link Business Luncheon At Veeraswamy
India Link International's Business Forum held it's third business luncheon at
the Veeraswamy Restaurant in the wets end on Thursday 19 February. The talk
given by Miss Lisa Judd of Bowling &
Co Solicitors was entitled 'Recent Employment Issue'. Naturally it was
of interest to members who have any number of employees in their company.
The President of the Business Forum, DR SP Sharma welcoming the audience said
' I am sure that those of you who attended the last two luncheons have seen the
benefit of such meetings. Although I myself could not attend the previous two
meetings because of personal reasons I was fully briefed of these meetings by
our general secretary, Krishan Ralleigh.
ILI Business Forum ha become an important talking point amongst Asian
businessman in Britain. These luncheon meetings do provide effective
networking and up to date information from the business world. Indirectly,
these meetings also help in understanding the progress of the Indian
economy. I very much hope that the Forum will continue to support the
initiative taken by the government of India. Besides, it is crucial
to understand the business environment in Britain and the western world.
A businessman has to be constantly in touch with the latest, rules,
laws and regulations to be successful.
DEVELOPMENTS IN EMPLOYMENT LAW BY LISA JUDD
far the most ground breaking developments in employment law in recent
years is the introduction from October 2004 of new statutory disciplinary
and grievance procedures. One underlying purpose of the proposals no
doubt is to provide increased protection to employees but saving tax
payers money is also a powerful influence. The government is concerned
at the rising cost of running the Employment Tribunals service and a
sensible way of trying to reduce the number of applications to tribunals
and thus save costs is to encourage various alternative forms of dispute
the government has stopped short of implying these terms into all contracts
of employment, which could have given rise to breaches of contract claims,
if the new procedures are not followed by an employer, any resultant
dismissal will be automatically unfair. It is important for employers
to bear in mind that before they dismiss and employee or impose a sanction
such as a demotion, loss of seniority or loss of pay, they are legally
required to have:
it is advisable for employers to follow the above procedures in all cases,
there is no requirement to do so when only a verbal or written warning
is to be issued. A shorter modified two stage procedure also exists for
situations where an employee has already been summarily dismissed for
stated above, if an employer dismisses an employee without completing
the statutory minimum dismissal and disciplinary procedures, then that
dismissal will be automatically unfair (subject to normal eligibility
conditions e.g. the normal one year qualifying period). There will then
be a mandatory award of of four week's pay minimum by between 10% and
50%. Percentage adjustment s of between 10% and 50% are also to be made
before any reduction for contributory conduct by the employee. Additionally
the court of appeal has recently held that compensation for unfair dismissal
can include compensation for injury to feelings which can be a significant
additional head of claim.
converse is not true. Compliance with the minimum procedures will not
mean that a dismissal is automatically fair. In this context it is worth
noting that the proposed minimum standard statutory procedures are less
stringent that those recommended by the current ACAS code of practice
on disciplinary and grievance procedures which must be taken into account
in appropriate cases by employment tribunals considering whether dismissals
are fair or unfair.
revised code of practice offering practical guidance on application for
the new regulations is available on the ACAS website. Where an employee
has reasonable grounds for believing that a disciplinary procedure is
still ongoing at the end of the usual three month limitation period in
which tribunal claims must be commenced., The regulations allow for an
extension to this time limit.
a three stage statutory procedure will exist for grievances for which
a worker cannot settle informally, which must be used if the worker may
subsequently wish to use the grievance as the basis of an application
to an employment tribunal.
the statutory procedure, employees must: follow a two stage modified
procedure for situations where an employee has already left the employment
concerned. In he case of a grievance procedure (standard or modified)
there must normally be a 28 ay "cooling off" period so that
attempts at compromise can be made. If there is a breach of the procedures,
an employment tribunal shall be prevented from considering a complaint
if either (a) the breach is apparent to the tribunal from the information
supplied or (b) the tribunal is satisfied of the breaches a result of
his employer raising the issue of compliance with those provisions in
accordance with the regulations.
is no exemption from the new dispute resolution rules for small employers.
The exemption of small employers (in ERA 1996 s3) requiring employees
to be given details of disciplinary and grievance procedures is to be
removed and the requirement itself is to be modified.
new legislation of which employers should be aware includes legislation
prohibiting discrimination on the basis of a worker's religion or sexual
orientation. The legislation came into force in December of last year
so employers should already have amended their equal opportunities policies
to embrace the new rights that the legislation confers. For an employer,
having to admit on a discrimination questionnaire that the appropriate
policies are not in place can be extremely damaging to the prospects
of successfully defending a tribunal claim.
light of the revolutionary changes imposed by the above mentioned regulations
now is the ideal time for employers who have not already done so to review
their procedures and supporting policies to ensure compliance. Too frequently
employers only think about addressing these issues once they are already
embroiled in the costly process of defending their actions to a tribunal.
From a risk management point of view, it is far better for employers
to give some thought to their risk management documentation before problems
arise, as a preventative measure when the greatest cost/benefit ratio
can be achieved.
More Business Forum
More articles by Krishan Ralleigh
Return to April - May 2004 contents