The Wildings Solicitors blog is a collection of articles and blog posts written by the Wildings team. Our Solicitors in Birmingham & Manchester discuss a range of topics. Join in the conversation now

    Employment Law & HR Roundup 29/10 – 04/11

    As Sir Michael Fallon is claimed as the first casualty of the sexual harassment scandal that Westminster is currently embroiled in, sexual abuse and harassment remain the key talking points in the news this week.

    As well as focusing on what employers can do about sexual harassment in the workplace, we’ll discuss our upcoming Mock Employment Tribunal, the importance of managing stress, , paid leave for non-smokers and the ongoing legal battle between ‘gig-economy’ workers and their employers.

    Sexual Harassment at Work

    This week, Academy Award winning actors, Kevin Spacey and Dustin Hoffman, received heavy criticism for historical instances of sexual harassment. The scandal, which began with the revelations concerning Harvey Weinstein, quickly travelled across the Atlantic and spurred numerous allegations from within Westminster.

    The so-called ‘sleaze spreadsheet’ which circulated on social media this week gave the names of a number of MPs who were accused of sexual harassment in various forms. Whilst many of the accusations that appeared have been dismissed as entirely false and libelous, one reported incident, which took place in 2002, led directly to the resignation of Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon.

    In the wake of such high-profile cases of sexual harassment, what can employers do to prevent it and how can they deal effectively with reports?

    In this blog post, we discuss sexual harassment at work and suggest how employers can protect their staff and their businesses.

    Mock Employment Tribunal

    Last year, the average award given for discrimination claims at employment tribunals was £13,500, and with the recent removal of employment tribunal fees, the number of claims being brought is expected to increase drastically.

    So, would you know what to do if faced with an employment tribunal claim?

    As an employer, you have a lot to deal with. If you do not have the support of an inhouse HR department, certain employment issues can easily and quickly escalate into costly employment tribunal claims.

    At Wildings Solicitors, we believe all employers should have a basic knowledge about employment tribunals so that they can protect themselves should they ever face a claim. On 21st November, our Employment Team are bringing together businesses from across the region for a Mock Employment Tribunal. As well as helping employers to improve their HR and Employment Law knowledge, the event will be a great opportunity to network with other professionals from the West Midlands.

    Get your free ticket today!

    What can employers do to manage stress in the workplace?

    November the 1st was national Stress Awareness Day. With the publication of the Thriving at Work report last month, this isn’t the first time in recent weeks that the impact of poor mental health in the workplace has been brought into the spotlight.

    Stress is broadly defined as ‘The adverse reaction people have to excessive pressures or other types of demand placed on them’, and is something most of us would admit to experiencing. However, looking at the statistics about the impact that stress has on employment, it suddenly becomes a far more serious issue.

    In 2015-16, 11.7 million working days were lost to stress, depression and anxiety. Clearly, promoting positive mental health in the workplace is important for your business as well as your employees’ wellbeing.

    But what can employers do to manage stress in the workplace? This article gives practical steps you can take to help look after your employee’s mental health.

    Company gives non-smokers paid leave for ‘lost cigarette breaks’

    As an employer, it is up to you to decide the rules about smoking at work. Allowing short smoking breaks throughout the day can help to keep the smokers in your team happy, however it is unlikely to be missed by the non-smokers who may feel as though they are missing out on the extra breaks.

    To make up for the extra breaks that non-smokers do not receive, one Japanese marketing firm is offering them six extra days holiday a year. The company estimated that it takes around ten-fifteen minutes per smoking break, but didn’t want to restrict breaks entirely, suggesting that they provide a good opportunity for colleagues to chat and come up with ideas away from their desks. Instead, they chose to reward the non-smokers with the extra days holiday to make up for the time their colleagues spent smoking.

    As well as keeping the non-smokers in the office happy, this tactic was intended to nudge the smokers towards kicking the habit.

    Read more about this controversial, but interesting idea!

    Deliveroo riders are heading to an employment tribunal over workers’ rights in latest gig economy legal test

    The spate of legal challenges from ‘gig-economy’ workers against their employers continues as 45 Deliveroo riders head to an employment tribunal to seek greater workers’ rights. In a year which has seen record levels of unemployment, workers’ rights for ‘gig-economy’ workers has been a contentious and recurrent issue.

    The Deliveroo riders are hoping to secure rights such as minimum wage as well as holiday and sick pay. It will be interesting to see whether the tribunal rules, as they did in a similar case involving Uber drivers, that the workers are not self-employed.

    Read more about the Employment Tribunal here.

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