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Employment Law Coronavirus Update

We know that as an employer these are very stressful and worrying times for you and your staff. We are here to help as best we can.  To be able to assist you over the coming weeks and months all of our appointments can now take place over the phone.

Our Employment Law team are working successfully from home in line with government guidance. They have full access to the systems they need and our main switchboard and administrative functions continue to operate as normal.

One of the main things that we are being asked by businesses is what they can do with their staff in this period of downturn.  A word of caution though please, do not fall foul of employment law rights when considering redundancies.  Tribunal figures have rocketed recently and we would hate for your business to be added to the list.  Please get in touch should you need any guidance.

Read our Guide to Extended Furlough - 1st November onwards

 

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Court Update

From Monday 23rd March 2020 all in-person hearings (hearings where the parties are expected to be in attendance at a tribunal hearing centre) listed to commence on or before Friday 26th June 2020, will be converted to a case management hearing. This will take place by telephone or other electronic means and will happen (unless parties are advised otherwise) on the first day allocated for the hearing. This will provide an opportunity to discuss how best to proceed in the light of the Presidential Guidance dated 18th March 2020, unless in the individual case the President, a Regional Employment Judge or the Vice-President directs otherwise.  If the case is set down for more than one day then parties should proceed on the basis that the remainder of the days fixed have been cancelled. For the avoidance of doubt, this direction also applies to any hearing that is already in progress on Monday 23rd March 2020 and, if not already addressed before then, the parties may assume that the hearing on that day is converted to a case management hearing of the kind referred to above. In person hearings listed to commence on or after 29th June 2020 will remain listed, in the meantime, and will be subject to further direction in due course.  The parties remain free to make any application to the Tribunal.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do we have to do anything else in our recruitment adverts?

You need to be able to justify if you are asking for certain levels of experience. Advertising for a bus driver who is safe and has had previous experience is one thing advertising for a bus driver with 10 years’ experience is another. The first option leaves your job advert open for all ages to apply. The second rules out individuals who may be in their early twenties.

 Other points to consider when recruiting new employees:

  • Ensure whoever is interviewing potential employee’s scores interviewees on their skills and competencies as opposed to their age.
  • Although they are not discriminatory themselves consider removing any reference to age on your job application forms.
  • Don’t ask a potential employee for a physical fitness test unless you require them. 

Once you have selected an appropriate employee ensure managers and staff are trained to monitor and avoid any discriminatory behaviour. Also make sure it is clear within any policies you have that discrimination in any form is unacceptable. Ensure managers are fully trained in diversity issues and that they are able to deal with discriminatory issues that arise within the workplace.

Do we need to worry about these requirements if we employ people in their 50’s and 60’s?

Yes you need to be aware of these requirements if you employ anyone of any age. They affect every area of employment as well as the recruitment and selection process. The requirements not only make it unlawful to discriminate on the grounds of age but also harassment whether it be intentional or unintentional or to victimise an individual. 

You need to worry not only about your own actions but also your fellow employees who must be discouraged from making offensive or unkind comments about age or anything in between.

 As with other areas of discrimination if your employee can demonstrate that there has been a difference in treatment which is due to discrimination it is solely down to you the employer to show otherwise or for you to prove that you have done everything in your power to stop such discrimination. There are no limits to discrimination awards and often they include an aspect for suffering, failure to do so can be expensive. 

 

How does age discrimination requirements effect the recruitment process?

When you are recruiting employees you need to ensure you are not discriminating for or against anyone due to their age. This means you cannot advertise specific age requirements in any of your job adverts unless you can justify them.

Our employees are all in their early twenties if we employ someone in their sixties they would be out of place. Do we have to hire someone of this age?

If you interview someone in their sixties and they turn out to be as good or even better than your current employees in their twenties you should not let their age be a determining factor as to whether you hire them or not. Since October 2006 it has been unlawful to reject anyone for an interview based on their age. There is not a lot employers can do to control the age of their workforce therefore you would potentially have to recruit someone in their sixties even if you have a younger workforce.  

What are the conditions of age discrimination?

In 2011 legislation new legislation was introduced making it unlawful to treat anyone differently due to their age except if it could be justified or falls within one of the exemptions to the law. The retirement age of 65 has now been phased out meaning employers can now only forcibly retire workers if it can be justified.  

 

What year did the requirements of age discrimination come into effect?

The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations came into effect in October 2006. The retirement age of 65 was phased out between April 2011 and October 2011.

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(Ongoing Client Survey)

We have used Banner Jones for employment advice for over 20 years and the team have always found the best approach to resolve our problem

Mr. Richard Kay, Operations Manager, Stagecoach East Midlands

Katie is understanding, considerate and very kind and thoughtful in her manner.

Mrs L, Old Tupton

Very professional and showed empathy throughout.

Mr B, Walton

Professional yet personal & understanding. Excellent service

Mr P, Chesterfield

Excellent, speedy & professional help. Thank you Katie!

Mr J, Chesterfield

We have an established relationship with Banner Jones which is excellent. Katie understands our operation and this enables her to provide us with pragmatic, accurate advice.  Her extensive legislative knowledge and accommodating style make her the perfect choice for our business.   I would highly recommend Katie and Banner Jones’s service to anyone.

 

Mandy Parker, Head of People & Service Delivery, Sheffield City Trust

I recently used Katie Ash for an employment settlement agreement. I found her to be very knowledgeable, friendly and she explained points clearly, and used understandable language.

Mrs H, Chesterfield

“Katie Ash recently reviewed an employment agreement for me and provided extremely sound and practical HR advice. She took the time to understand my background and business requirements, which proved invaluable for me to reach the right professional solution. She displayed wide industry knowledge in HR employment matters and I would, without hesitation, recommend BannerJones and their legal and consultancy services provided by her.”

David Hart , InXpress Sheffield

Excellent service due to business relationship with our solicitor.

Mr A, Chesterfield

Service was incredible. Lee Foster made the transition smooth and easy. Thanks Lee!

Mr P, Rotherham

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Katie  Ash
Katie Ash
Head of Employment Law
Sara Patel
Sara Patel
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