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New year resolutions for employers

View profile for Martha McKinley
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Employment law update 2018: employment tribunal

Employers looking for a new year’s resolution could do worse than adopting some of the suggestions below, all of which will help risk-proof your business should the worst happen.

Review your contracts and policies to make sure they are up to date

References to a compulsory retirement age or the statutory/modified grievance procedure are all signs that your documents need checking to ensure they are compliant with the latest legislation and that they will protect you in the event a claim is brought against your company. An out of date post-termination restriction will be ineffective if it no longer protects a genuine business interest, nor will an employee necessarily be bound by clauses relating to premises they no longer work from. 

Tackle that difficult employee

You may have been putting off addressing performance or conduct concerns with a particular individual in December or even earlier than this. However while waiting until the Christmas break has come to an end is understandable, failing to have that difficult conversation at the appropriate time can backfire. Any issues should be addressed promptly, while the incidents in question are fresh in everyone’s minds. Delaying doing so, and bringing up concerns which are weeks or months old is not best practice, and in some circumstances can strengthen a claim for unfair dismissal from an employee.

Put in place an appraisal process

Especially in smaller businesses, the opportunity to regularly review an employees’ performance can be overlooked in favour of more pressing concerns. However making time to sit down and discuss business targets, the expectations of both parties and the future more generally is a useful exercise which can help you track the progress of your employees. Workers who feel that their ideas and concerns are heard are more likely to remain happy and productive, and a written record of what was discussed and agreed upon can be useful at a later date, not least if a claim is brought against the business.

If you require legal advice or HR support please call our specialist employment law team on 0175 321 6399.

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