Too often, employment laws are thought of as an ongoing battle between slippery managers and intransigent union stewards, but this is far from the truth. In actual fact they protect both employers and employees from bad practice every day.
Banging the Table
Employment law applies to every worker from first interview right through to dismissal and beyond. Cutting corners can leave a company very vulnerable to legal action at a later date.
Of course, employment law can cover highly contentious areas such as tribunals and strikes, but it can also cover non-contentious things such as contact drafting. If the law is applied correctly it’ll be more of the latter and less of the former. But it’s worth remembering that serious legal problems can still arise and it’s not always the fault of the company board.
Every employee has a contract and this applies whether or not it’s been written down. A verbal contract is just as valid, which can leave room for interpretation. Employers should give written terms and conditions to all employees, but to change these without consultation may be seen as a breach of contract. This is an area where proper legal drafting can save big problems later on.
I Know My Rights
Employers are bound by statutory law and contract law. Statutory law covers areas set by legislation such as minimum pay, maternity leave, holiday and sick pay. Contract law enforces what’s written in the contract. This can offer improved terms over and above the statutory limits, but can never undercut them.
Employee rights are rarely more crucial than when it comes to health and safety. Contrary to popular belief, trade unions can be very beneficial in this area as they can flag issues before they become a serious problem.
Protection against discrimination is also vital for even the best employer. After all, discrimination can be committed by any member of staff against any other. The employer is always liable, meaning good advice on employment law is a must for any business.
For advice on employment law, contact Mark Reynolds today.