Avoiding disputes with employees – In a nutshell

Published on 11th September 2014

Avoiding disputes with employees, In a nutshell – expert advice from Emma Ramsay from Ramsay Paterson LLP

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Employment law may appear complicated, but it really doesn’t need to be.
While it is all about people (which means that it does of course have its challenges), and the law itself also develops as society changes, four key principles remain constant.
If applied, these will keep managers safe from disputes with their staff, and the business safe from employment tribunal claims.

One, have a good and legitimate business reason for every decision you make.
Be it restructuring your workforce, through to managing capability or dealing with a grievance, ensure the decision-making process is driven by good business reason.
Be clear what this is. All too often this is lost in personal issues.

Two, communicate that business reason, and its implications for the employee, clearly.
Think about – the personal impact for employees and their possible reaction, – the ethos of your business, and – how the message should be delivered be prepared and be open.

Three, act reasonably. Most business managers are reasonable people and this shouldn’t be a challenge.
What is reasonable will be almost entirely driven by you, your business and its ethics.
If you are clear about what you did, and why, it is difficult for a tribunal to interfere.

Four, follow your internal procedures.
Make them simple, and clear, and follow them.
Applying these steps will minimise the risk of employee disputes arising at all …. or give you the best defence.
In an ever changing work place, with varied business challenges, good communication about the real and often tricky issues, will be essential.
By taking commercial decisions which truly reflect a business need, and communicating those clearly and with some sensitivity, you should be able to avoid disputes.
Most importantly, you should achieve your business objectives with your team on board. Good luck.

Emma Ramsey
Ramsay Paterson LLP
[email protected]
0117 303 5225


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