Don't put your head on the Chopping Block
A recent tribunal case provides a stark lesson for all employers who fail to have appropriate HR Policies and Procedures in place, particularly when dealing with an employee dispute.
The case involved a butcher who was dismissed by his employer for posting another butcher’s ‘meat deal’ on social media, to his then girlfriend.
The employee, Michael Hayward, had worked for Noel Chadwick, butchers based in Wigan for seven and half years.
The Tribunal were highly critical of the employer, as although the employee was dismissed for gross misconduct and breach of contract by the father and son who owned the business, his employer failed to follow any established disciplinary process.
Mr Hayward complained to the tribunal that he had not been issued with warnings or given an explanation by his employer regarding his actions. They also failed to allow him to have someone accompany him to the dismissal meeting or provide him with a right of appeal following his dismissal.
Judge Keith Robinson commented “Hayward’s misdemeanour, if one can call it that, was minor,” the judge continued. “This is not an advertisement; this [matter] was a wholly mishandled dismissal root and branch. The claimant was dismissed summarily in a process that was reprehensible.”
The judge awarded Hayward a £6,091, comprising of £4,891 in lost wages and compensation and £1,200 to reimburse his tribunal fees.
Mr Hayward’s employer accepted that they had failed to follow the correct dismissal procedure in this case. Following the case they made the following statement: “We would like to take this opportunity to urge other small-to-medium businesses to ensure that their HR team is doing their job properly and, if they do not have an HR team, to enlist the services of a professional HR consultancy for the protection of both employer and employee."
This case illustrates the importance of having appropriate HR Policies and Procedures in place to protect your business. They enable you to set out the required standards of behaviour and conduct that you can expect from your staff and an effective policy will also set out how you will deal with situations where your staff fail to meet such standards. Following such procedures minimises the risk of being taken to a Tribunal and facing a hefty penalty if you are found not to have followed a fair and impartial process, particularly in the event that you have dismissed an employee.
HR:4UK has over three decades experience in providing small businesses with a comprehensive range of HR Policies and Procedures designed to cover all aspects of managing and employing staff. If you would like more information as to how we can provide you with a cost effective solution to meet your HR Policies and Procedures needs, then please call us on 01455 444222 or complete an enquiry form here
HR Services Director