Handling Grievances webinar follow-up questions, Part 4 (UK)

Question and AnswersHuman Resources managers try not to have too many hate-figures in their internal client base (not too great for the old professional image, and all that) but you won’t find too many in the HR world who have any time for the serial complainer.  Here are some thoughts on that front in response as a consolidated answer to a number of questions on the point which came up at our Handling Grievances webinar in April.

  1. At what stage should an employee’s grievance history be considered (thinking about vexatious complainers)?

There are lots of interesting issues bound up in this one, some legal and some practical:-

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Handling Grievances webinar follow-up questions, Part 3 (UK)

Question and AnswersHere are answers to a handful of questions about the right to be accompanied which all came up at our webinar on grievances on 22 April. More to come this week.

The right arises under section 10 Employment Relations Act 1996 – where the worker (not just an employee) is invited to a grievance hearing and “reasonably requests to be accompanied“, then he is entitled to attend with a willing companion chosen by him who falls within section 10(3), as to which see question 5 below. It is also enshrined in the Acas Code on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures and the accompanying guidance.

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President Biden Issues Proclamation Adding India to COVID-19 Travel Restrictions (US)

On April 30, 2021, the President issued another Proclamation suspending entry into the United States of nonimmigrants and noncitizens who were physically present within the Republic of India during the 14-day period preceding their attempted entry into the United States. These restrictions take effect at 12:01 am EDT on May 4, 2021 and remain in effect until terminated by order of the President.

The scope of this Proclamation is similar to those issued by President Trump covering China, Iran, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, the European Schengen Area, and Brazil. On January 25, 2021, President Biden signed a Proclamation continuing the suspension of entry of certain travelers from these countries and added South Africa. Continue Reading

Handling Grievances webinar follow-up questions, Part 2 (UK)

Question and AnswersHere are two more questions from our grievances webinar last week and the headline answers:

Can some initial investigation with the “accused” prior to the meeting with the person bringing the grievance make that meeting more meaningful?

Some grievances are very vague on what exactly is being complained about.  Is the employer obliged to go with what it gets?

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Newly Comprised NLRB Declines to Modify “Contract Bar” Rule (US)

NLRB LogoThe National Labor Relations Board has provided important guidance for employers who deal with unions that may have tenuous employee support.

As many employers know, after a union has been certified as the representative of a group of employees, there are certain legal procedures and doctrines that may allow an employer to cease bargaining with the union if it no longer enjoys majority support, or in certain other circumstances. Continue Reading

Handling Grievances webinar follow-up questions, Part 1 (UK)

Question and AnswersOver 700 people signed up to our Handling Grievances webinar last week, reinforcing our view that the return to the workplace (RTW) process is going to be a fertile breeding ground for such complaints by employees, some around new working conditions, some alleging health and safety failures and others just to vent minor unhappinesses and resentments built up over the last 12 months’ festering at home and finally uncorked in the office.

Grievances can be time-consuming and stressful for all concerned, but they are not necessarily a sign that something has gone wrong, nor is seeking to avoid them a good reason for making the wrong decisions in relation to RTW matters. Approaching them flexibly, robustly and (in particular) with a keen eye on outcome above process can help develop the internal view of your grievance procedures into an effective means of resolving disputes quickly, pragmatically and with minimum damage to working relationships. Employees with genuine issues can expect resolution of them and those without can expect to be told so both pretty quickly and quite firmly.

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COVID-19: UK adjusted Right to Work checks end soon

Ending soonAs a result of the restrictions in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, employers have faced challenges in carrying out right to work checks, which usually require in-person sight of the individual’s original passport or biometric residence permit. Thankfully these challenges were acknowledged early on by the Home Office which introduced temporary measures on 30 March last year. These adjusted right to work checks allowed employers to:

  • ask the candidate or employee to submit a scanned copy or a photo of their original documents via email or using a mobile app (rather than their viewing the physical originals); and
  • on a video call with the candidate or employee, ask them to hold up the original documents to the camera and check them against the digital copy of the documents, record the date on which the check was done and mark it as “Adjusted check undertaken on [insert date] due to COVID-19”.

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Lost in space – useful pointers for health and safety dismissals (UK)

Safety firstBack in May last year we posted a piece on the protections available to employees who choose to leave their workplace because of serious health and safety fears.  As the RTO process begins to warm up, here is an Employment Tribunal case (possibly the first, but certainly not the last) which looks at the practical application of those protections in a little more detail.

Section 100 Employment Rights Act 1996 makes automatically unfair the dismissal of an employee whose employment is terminated because “in circumstances of danger which he reasonably believed to be serious and imminent and which he could not reasonably be expected to avert, he left or proposed to leave or refused to return to his workplace” or he “brought to his employer’s attention by reasonable means circumstances connected with his work which he reasonably believed were harmful or potentially harmful to health and safety”.

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