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TOMORROW’S CLEANING AUGUST 09
Law and Order
Employers beware –
discrimination claims
1. Gender amongst employees and explained to them,
2. Marital status
making it clear that breach of that policy if
3. Nationality/Race
established will result in disciplinary action.
4. Disability
A solicitor will be able to assist you in drawing
5. Part-time working hours
up such a policy at a realistic cost which you
will be able to agree with them.
6. Religion or beliefs
7. Sexuality
• Ensure that you operate an ‘open door’
8. Trans-gender status
policy where employees are always able to
access their supervisor or manager about any
9. Age
concerns which they may have in respect of
Avoid direct and indirect
their employment.
discrimination
• Act promptly and pro-actively upon
It will generally be fairly obvious where there becoming aware of any situation which may
has been direct discrimination based upon a give rise to a claim.
Tomorrow's Cleaning welcomes
person’s sex, racial origins etc. However, you
can also face possible claims for ‘indirect’
• Consider obtaining a ‘before-the-event’
Paul Dumbleton of Beech Jones
discrimination, it being possible for such a
insurance policy which in return for the payment
de Lloyd. Each month Paul,
claim to be brought by an employee falling into
of an often modest annual premium will cover
most of the categories listed above. Indirect
your legal costs and provide for advice at an
internationally renowned as one
discrimination will often be more difficult to
early stage if an employee does ever bring a
of the most prolific lawyers in the
spot, this could include, for example:
claim against you. It can cost thousands of
pounds to fight off a claim, whatever its merits.
UK, will be providing our readers
1. Requirements relating to working hours
which might be more of a bar for women than
• To bring an unfair dismissal claim it is
with enlightened legal advice. men due to child-caring commitments.
ordinarily necessary to have been employed
for at least 12 months. If however, an
Until the 1970’s, employers were free to
2. A policy requiring male employees to be
clean shaven or without headwear, which
employee alleges that the reason for their
recruit employees, with few, if any, legal
would put Sikhs in general at a disadvantage.
dismissal was discriminatory in nature, this
restrictions upon how much those employees
12 month ‘qualifying period’ does not apply.
had to be paid and other terms and conditions
3. Requiring employees to undergo testing to
• Always consider taking immediate legal
of employment. How things have changed
establish a certain level of fitness, when this
advice whenever an employee raises a
over the last 30 years!
could be likely to be seen to put older
employees at a disadvantage.
grievance or circumstances arise which may
Due to subsequent interventionist employment
result in a potential claim.
legislation, (much of it deriving from the
Facing a claim
This will be the first of a series of articles
European Union), the concept of freedom of
Generally speaking, if facing a claim, the
dealing with Employment Law issues. It is not
contract in terms of employment relationships
employer will have to prove that they did not
discriminate against the Claimant employee,
intended to form legal advice and should not
has been blown out of the water.
meaning that they will have to prove a negative.
be relied upon as such. If facing a potential
workplace situation, it is always important for
This has been the case in many respects,
Unlike other types of Employment Tribunal employers to seek immediate legal advice.
including the whole minefield of minimum
claims, for example unfair dismissal claims,
wage legislation. Particularly controversial
there is no upper limit on the amount of
Do you have a question for Paul?
though has been the development of anti-
damages that can be awarded in respect of a
Email: ltjyh@beechjones.com and quote
discrimination laws, which this article seeks to discrimination based claim. Awards running
Tomorrow’s Cleaning.
deal with, very much in outline. into six or even seven figures are not unknown,
www.beechjones.com
Do not discriminate!
including significant awards for lost earnings
In summary, it is unlawful for an employer to
and hurt feelings.
discriminate against, victimise or harass an
Reduce the risk
employee, (or potential recruit), upon the • Introduce an effective anti-discrimination
basis of any of the following:
policy, and ensure that it is widely publicised
The future of our cleaning industry |TOMORROW’S CLEANING |
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