Human Resources Q&A – November 2018
HR support is included as part of your IGA membership. As well as guidance from the member helpline team, and legal team if needed, a full HR toolkit can be found in the . This includes example contracts, work policies, disciplinary procedures and letters, terms and conditions, job specifications and more.
If you would like your question to be featured, you can call us via the direct member helpline number or on 0845 305 4230.
Q: Can employees be dismissed for criminal acts outside of work?
A: Many employers assume that if one of their employees committed a criminal act outside of work, particularly something serious that the employer found distasteful, the employer would have the right to dismiss the employee. Unfortunately, this is not always the case and even some serious criminal acts outside of work can only be used by the employer to the extent that they affect employment. The dismissal, if the employee has over the requisite length of service for unfair dismissal, will still need to satisfy the provisions of the Employment Rights Act 1996, to be a fair dismissal. The kind of criminal acts which might give rise to a fair dismissal will usually be violent or dishonest offences which affect the job. In the motor industry other common examples are driving offences, particularly those that lead to the loss of a licence.
Q: Do I have any legal responsibility to provide a Grievance Procedure?
A: Although the statutory dispute resolution procedures have been removed, they have been replaced by the ACAS code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures. The ACAS code is designed to help employers and employees resolve grievances effectively in the work place. Although the ACAs code is not a statutory procedure, if not followed it could results in any successful claims at an Employment Tribunal having increased compensation awarded against the employer. It is recommended therefore that a grievance procedure is always followed, this can begin on an informal basis but if this is not successful then a formal procedure should be followed.
In accordance with the provisions of the Employment Rights Act 1996, guidance on your grievance procedure should be included in your employee’s written Statement of Particulars. Alternatively, they may refer the employee to a document where the grievance procedure may be read, for example in a staff handbook. The ACAs website provides guidance on the format for a grievance procedure.
Q: How long should I wait before I take any action with an employee on long term sickness absence?
A: There is no legal timeframe to wait where an employee is signed off as unfit to work and thereafter continues to submit doctors’ note supporting the absence. It will all depend on the nature of the post occupied and the impact their continued absence is having on the business, together with the difficulty and cost of continuing to deal with their absence. It will also depend on the nature of the absence, for example someone with a broken leg is naturally going to be off for a certain period of time in order for the injury to heal. It would be easier in that situation to assess when the employee would be fit to return, however if an employee is off with stress, that is harder to evaluate, and it would be beneficial for the employer to make enquiries in the form of a medical report (subject to the employee’s consent.) There is equally no definition of ‘long term’ and therefore if an employee is absent for, say, a month or longer, it may then be appropriate to start making enquiries as to their health and wellbeing. Each situation depends on the facts presented and therefore, if in any doubt, it is recommended you contact the RMIF’s legal team.
For further resources, have a look at the , located in the of the IGA website.