Ruth Mitchell

Member Article

Be aware of employment law, says expert

Business should consider the law before sacking or making staff redundant, or risk facing costly and embarrassing employment tribunals.

According to Michael Slade, managing director of Bibby Consulting & Support, businesses should take heed of the recent Woolworths case, where over 24,000 former employees have been awarded up to £67.8 million in compensation.

The firm was penalised for issuing redundancy notices without consulting relevant trade unions. Usdaw shop-workers then successfully sued the company for failing to follow correct procedures when making redundancies when the company collapsed in 2009.

Michael Slade commented: “Employers are required by law to consult with unions or employee representatives when making 20 or more staff redundant within a 90 day period.

In the Woolworths tribunal, each member of staff working in a branch which employed more than 20 people was awarded 60 days pay. Nonetheless, staff working in stores with less than 20 employees received no award.

Michael added: “We always ask our clients who are considering sacking their employees or making them redundant to seek guidance before they take any action.

That way we can steer them through the process to ensure they follow established and sound procedures and avoid the legal pitfalls.

This case just go to show that even large, well established organisations don’t always get it right – so it’s imperative that SMEs seek expert guidance to avoid costly and embarrassing claims.“

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Ruth Mitchell .

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