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Five simple ways to protect your business! Five simple ways to protect your business!

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Apr 16

Five simple ways to protect your business!

Written by Deborah Boylan
Head of Employment

DDI: 01423 724637
M: 07815 049193
E: deborah.boylan@raworths.co.uk

There is no way of ensuring that you will never have to deal with a serious employee issue or face a tribunal claim.  There are, however, steps you can take to reduce the prospect.  Here are five:

1. Job advertisements and applications

Reduce the prospects of a discrimination claim by avoiding advertising:

  • For people with a certain number of years’ experience
  • Gender specific job titles like ‘cleaning lady’ or ‘handyman’.

2. Contracts of employment

Employees should be issued with a contract of employment within the first two months of employment.  Failing to issue them enables employees to claim compensation of either two or four weeks’ pay (a week’s pay is capped at the statutory amount which is £479 from 6 April 2016) if they also have a claim for something else e.g. unfair dismissal or discrimination.

3. (More) Contracts of employment

Don’t use the same contract for different roles.  It’s sensible to include additional clauses for more senior people in order to protect your business.  You may want to include clauses:

  • Protecting confidential information
  • Explaining that the business owns any inventions or work created whilst at or for work
  • Aimed at preventing the employee from:
    • working for a competitor;
    • seeking work from existing customers/suppliers;
    • dealing with existing customers/suppliers

for a realistic period of time following the termination of employment.

4. Equal opportunities policy 

If one of your employees commits a discriminatory act towards another, the victim of that act could take legal action against your business as well as their colleague for discrimination.  If you have an equal opportunities policy and can show you have given the employees training on the policy, your business may be able to rely on the ‘statutory defence’ (i.e. that you have told employees not to commit discriminatory acts).  In those circumstances, if any compensation becomes payable, the employee who has committed the discriminatory act may be responsible for it.

5. Appraisals

Appraisals can be a good way of keeping employees informed of how well (or not) they are doing. They can also be a useful back-up when it comes to justifying a redundancy selection or performance management.  So it’s important to ensure that managers who conduct appraisals address any issues that need to be addressed and don’t just go through the motions.

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