• Sundeep Bhatia

Let me be your Guardian Angel (My 10 Minute presentation to BNI Stadium on Wednesday 7th January).

As a Solicitor I have only one motive in mind when it comes to your business. I want it to thrive every much as you do.

With my knowledge,and expertise,I can keep your business charging ahead by means of minimising your staff problems.

The best way to do this,and the most cost efficient,is by way of integrating my advice,and support,every step of the way. This is because prevention is always better than cure. It is better to spend hundreds of pounds in prevention rather than tens of thousands of pounds defending a claim for unfair dismissal or discrimination . Employment Tribunals have the power to order businesses to pay former employees a maximum of £76,574 in the event that an employee brings a successful claim,for unfair dismissal, against that business. There is no limit to the amount a tribunal can order a business to pay,to an employee, in the event that a successful claim is brought against it for discrimination. Businesses can be ruined by such an award. At the very least awards of damages,on this scale, can make a substantial dent in the balance sheets of a business. If you are getting ready to start a business then there are risks for the unwary. A poorly thought out,and worded,recruitment advertisement can result in a claim for discrimination being made against a fledgling business. It is important,even at this early stage,for staff to understand their roles ,duties and rights. They need to know what will happen to them if they misbehave or under perform. This is as much for your benefit as theirs. If you do not have procedures,for disciplining staff,or for questioning their capability,or if you have procedures,and do not follow them,then it makes it more likely that an employee will be able to bring a successful claim against your business.

It is also important for employees to have properly worded contracts of employment.As an employer you are under a duty  to give your employees prescribed information about their employment.

Failure to give that  information,during the first two months of employment, can result in an employee bringing a successful claim against your business.

It is also important for the certainty,which a well drafted  employment contract brings, to be present in the relationship between employer and employee.

If the contract is not clear ,on an area of employment ,then it might be the job of a tribunal to decide what the terms of business are.A tribunal decision might run contrary to your intentions in taking on that employee and the result might well be a financial loss to the business.

Staff are the biggest asset of a business.They also have the ability to become its biggest liability .There will be times when staff members are upset,angry or offended,by events at the workplace.

It is important to make sure that  staff have the ability to complain,and knowledge regarding how to complain if they have a problem with the business.

It is therefore important to have a properly drafted grievance procedure .I can draft a procedure which is tailor made for your business.

A well drafted grievance procedure allows workplace disputes to be resolved ,at an early stage , and may salvage the employer/employee relationship,ensuring that a valued employee continues to contribute to the success of the business.

I am also an accredited mediator,trained by the Centre of Effective Dispute Resolution.Mediation is a powerful force, in workplace disputes,allowing employers and employees to come to a resolution ,which they both accept,instead of submitting themselves to the uncertainty,stress and emotional turmoil which Tribunal proceedings might bring.

Sometimes ,despite best efforts,the relationship between Employer and Employee can break down irreparably.

I can help negotiate a cost effective settlement which brings any dispute to a close and which ensures that a disgruntled ex employee does not bring a claim at  any court,or tribunal,against a business.

If,despite all of the above,a disgruntled former employee is set on issuing proceedings then it is important to have a law firm fighting your corner,defending your business and doing its best to ensure that no successful claim is brought against your business.

But why use a solicitor,I hear you ask.

I have a regulator to answer to and comprehensive indemnity insurance to give you piece of mind.

Sundeep Bhatia

(Sundeep is a Member of the Employment of the Employment Law Committee of England and Wales.He also sits on its Equality,Diversity and Inclusion committee.

Sundeep is a Solicitor and is the Proprietor of Beaumonde Law Practice)

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