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  • Writer's pictureSundeep Bhatia

Prevention is Better than Cure

Do you want to give your most problematic employee enough money to buy a brand new Porsche 911?

That is what you risk if that employee successfully sues your business for unfair dismissal.

This is because the maximum amount that an employment tribunal can award for unfair dismissal is around £80,000 which is dependent upon an employee’s age ,earnings and the length of time that he or she has worked for your business.

That sum does not take into consideration the legal costs you might incur in defending such a claim.

As things stand costs orders are not usually made in an employment tribunal.

Thus even if you successfully defend such a claim, you would still have to bear the burden of your own legal costs which could run into tens of thousands of pounds.

However there is an easy way of significantly reducing the risk of an employee taking such a course of action.

it is also substantially cheaper then defending a claim at an Employment Tribunal.

What is required is to ensure that your employees know what exactly is expected of them..

All employees should have carefully drafted contracts of employment which take into consideration all foreseeable circumstances and which leave little room for uncertainty.

Employees should know what standards of behaviour and performance are expected of them and what the business will do if their performance and or behaviour falls short of the expectation of the business.

That is achieved by drafting a disciplinary procedure which takes into consideration the size and resources of the business and which is modelled around the ACAS code of conduct.

Employees should also know how they can complain if they are upset .

To achieve this a carefully drafted grievance procedure is required which also uses the ACAS procedure as its template.

If a grievance procedure can be used to successive successfully resolve a problem then it is less likely that a disgruntled employee will claim unfair dismissal at an employment tribunal.

Both these procedures also ensure that ,if they are acted upon and if the business comes to a reasonable conclusion ,then it is less likely that the employee will be able to successfully sue the business. The cost of preparing such documents can be measured in hundreds of pounds as opposed to tens of thousands of pounds involved in defending a claim at an Employment Tribunal.

Beaumonde law practice can draft this documentation after taking your careful instructions and can tailor the procedures to the way in which your business works. We can also review your employees contracts of Employment to ensure that they are properly drafted and contain all necessary clauses.

We can ,alternatively, act as an intermediary or mediator between the employee and yourself and can help you both to come to a solution that you both can live with .

The above was written by Sundeep Bhatia of Beaumonde Law Practice who is a member of the Employment law committee of the Law Society of England and Wales.

Sundeep Bhatia Sole Principal (SRA 155523) Beaumonde Law Practice Evans House 107 Marsh Road Pinner Middlesex HA5 5PA Tel 0208681614 07803727534 Authorised and Regulated by The Solicitors Regulation Authority(SRA No 462672)

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