Employment law update November 2019

Menopause guidelines, Tribunal hearings and IT & email policies.

Employment Law Update November 2019

Guidance for menopause at work

ACAS have recently published advice and guidance for menopause at work.

The guidelines outline key areas where the employer can help:

  • Training managers on the symptoms of menopause;
  • Managing sickness absence or dips in performance sensitively;
  • Giving workers the option of speaking to someone other than their line manager in the first instance; and
  • Practical points such as provision of fans or ensuring workers are seated at desks near opening windows.

Failure to act appropriately could ultimately give rise to claims under the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and the Equality Act 2010, potentially under age, sex and disability discrimination.

Noreen v Recruitment Finders Limited

The recent case of Noreen v Recruitment Finders Limited highlights the consequences of management mistreating employees. Miss Noreen was subjected to repeated but not constant racial abuse throughout her three years' employment, with reference made by her manager to her Pakistani origin, her religion and her food choices.

The employer failed to attend the Tribunal hearing and the Tribunal judge believed the evidence given by Miss Noreen, awarding her a sum of over £22,000.

It is vital that managers are trained on equality policies and that potential grievances are able to be raised. Miss Noreen was awarded a substantial sum for accrued holiday entitlement that she had been too afraid to use, as her manager had informed her that her job would be at risk if she took holidays.

Similarly, ensure that your policies are up to date and that employees are aware of equality policies and act accordingly to prevent vicarious liability.

Make sure you have a comprehensive IT and Email policy in place

A recent survey conducted by CV-Library found that just under half of the firms surveyed, employees were found to have unacceptable or inappropriate material in their work email inbox.

:The types of unacceptable or inappropriate email were:

  • Inappropriate images - 72 per cent;
  • Talking negatively about colleagues - 56 per cent;
  • Job applications to other employers - 49 per cent;
  • Flirty emails with colleagues - 34 per cent;
  • Complaining about your job - 32 per cent;
  • Talking negatively about your boss - 26 per cent;
  • Online shopping orders - 26 per cent; and
  • Personal emails to friends and family - 8 per cent.

This survey highlights the requirement to not only have a comprehensive IT and email policy, but to enforce that policy when inappropriate use is uncovered. Employees should be made aware that emails may be monitored as well as smart phones on work wifi networks and social media accounts.

For further help and legal advice concerning an employment issue or to update (or put in place) your employment policies please contact Wendy Davidson on 01733 882800, or email wendy.davidson@hcsolicitors.co.uk.

Author

Wendy Davidson, Solicitor

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This article has been prepared for general interest and information purposes only; it does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied on as such. While all possible care has been taken in the preparation of this article, no responsibility for the accuracy and/or correctness of the information and commentary set out in the article, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed or accepted by the firm or the authors.