Welcome to this week’s essential Employment Law & HR briefing. In our discussion today, we’ll focus on the dangers of social media in the workplace, a foster carer bringing an employment tribunal claim over workers’ rights, what employers can learn from the Harvey Weinstein sexual harassment case and much more.
Social Media in the Workplace
With Facebook reaching 2 billion monthly users worldwide, the impact of social media has never been greater.
But it isn’t just the way we share our thoughts and connect with people that has changed; social media has presented businesses with a whole variety of new opportunities and risks. The chance to show the human side of your organisation and engage with potential clients online has made social media a valuable tool for many businesses, however, social media mistakes can come back to haunt businesses in an extremely serious way.
In this article, we explore the different risks that social media poses to businesses and explain how employers can protect themselves.
Read more about the importance of a social media policy here.
Foster carer to bring tribunal claim over workers’ rights
An employment tribunal claim was lodged this week on behalf of a foster carer who argues that she is a worker and should subsequently be entitled to workers’ rights.
Whilst foster carers are paid to look after children, they are not currently classified as workers. This means they do not have rights like holiday pay.
The tribunal claim, if successful, is expected to open the doors to thousands of similar claims from foster carers across the country. An employment tribunal in Glasgow has ruled previously that two foster carers were employees under Scottish law, so it will be interesting to see how the employment tribunal rule on this claim brought by the Independent Workers' Union of Great Britain.
Read more about this employment tribunal claim here.
Make big brands liable for supply chain non-compliance – Matthew Taylor
Matthew Taylor, author of The Taylor Review, which made headlines back in July for its investigation into modern working practices, urged this week that major companies should be jointly liable for non-compliance with employment regulation within their supply chains.
Arguing that joint liability at the top of the labour supply chain would be an important way of addressing problems further down, Taylor suggested that holding companies at the top of the tree jointly responsible for non-compliance would encourage major brands to tackle employment issues and leave workers better off.
As well as discussing joint liability for non-compliance within a supply chain, the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee and the Work and Pensions Committee heard recommendations from Taylor on employment status and the minimum wage for non-contracted hours.
Read more about the hearing in this article.
Under-25s earn less for doing the same work, argues charity
Paid Less, Worth Less? a report published this week has claimed that more than a million young people are paid up to £3.45 an hour less that older workers for doing the same job.
The Young Women’s Trust, the charity who published the report goes on to break down how much gross pay different workers miss out on each year by not receiving the national living wage:
- Apprentices (£3.50 an hour): £7,280
- Worker aged 16 to 17 (£4.05 an hour): £6,279
- Worker aged 18 to 20 (£5.60 an hour): £3,458
- Worker aged 21 to 24 (£7.05 an hour): £819
Read more about ‘wage discrimination’ and the affect it could be having on your younger employees.
What can HR learn from the Weinstein sexual harassment case?
Few will have missed the historic sexual harassment allegations that were made against film producer Harvey Weinstein this week. Almost as shocking as the allegations themselves, is the fact that Weinstein was able to carry on for so long in such a prominent role within the film industry.
This scandal, which goes back decades and involves some of the world’s most prominent actresses, raises some interesting questions for employers.
Speaking about what employers can learn from this public debacle, one employment specialist suggests,
‘This is a timely reminder that employers who do not keep their harassment and grievance procedures updated are at risk of breaching their responsibilities under Equality Legislation... There needs to be faith in the workforce that if they raise sensitive concerns these will be dealt with in a sensitive and supportive manner. The suspicion that allegations will be ignored or parked in an administrative dead end needs to be dissipated’.
Read more about what employers can learn from the Weinstein sexual harassment case here.
Would you know what to do if faced with an employment tribunal claim?
Employment tribunals were established to resolve disputes between employers and employees. These independent judicial bodies hear claims about employment matters such as unfair dismissal, discrimination, wages and redundancy.
If you are taken to an employment tribunal you may have to pay compensation or reinstate the claimant if you lose the case.
In 2015/16, the average award given for unfair dismissal at employment tribunals was £13,851. Clearly, being prepared can save your business serious sums of money.
On 21st November, the Employment Team at Wildings Solicitors will be hosting a mock employment tribunal along with the affiliates from our Retain & Assure Scheme. Attendees will have the opportunity to experience firsthand how an employment tribunal works and receive guidance from employment specialists.
Booking through Eventbrite, along with more information about what you can expect on the day, will be released in the next few weeks.