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Be in the Employment Law Know

When businesses start to grow, they start to look at getting into new premises to make room for an expanding team. Business owners wear many hats, and so often hiring employees is part of a long-term strategy to help enable you to make more sales and attract more customers.

28 April 2016
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And this is true and although it is an extremely exciting time, there are a host of employment laws in place to help protect the rights of both employers and employees. This ensures the working relationship is a fair and just one to enable employers to avoid the risk of employment law issues if a dispute arises with one of your employees.

Often employers feel that this understanding and awareness of employment laws only comes into effect once they have formally hired the person and once the employee has completed their trial period, but this is not the case.

As a busy growing business, it’s easy to underestimate the employment laws that are in place, particularly for prospective or new employees, so we’ve put together some necessary need-to-knows to help…

1. Keeping Interviews Legal

While interviews are a great way to introduce yourself and your company to your prospective candidates, it’s important to retain a level of formality and go prepared with a set of questions to ensure you do not ask any that may be deemed discriminatory and illegal under the Equality Act 2010.

Common lines of questioning that may fall into the discriminatory category are:

  • Age-related. Asking for a person’s age to make sure they are old enough, positions such as driving a school bus or industries that require hazardous or physically demanding work are permitted, however asking for a ‘young, enthusiastic’ employee may be interpreted as discriminatory.

  • Marital Status. If the line of questioning suggests that a single or divorced individual may be less capable of holding the position, then this is deemed discriminatory.

  • Eligibility. Asking for your eligibility to work in the UK is accepted, however, asking where your parents were born may be considered illegal.

  • Disability. Increasingly, discrimination can be based on questions that imply or express a limitation to employment based on an employee’s disability or health.

2. Probationary Periods are Legally Secure

The popular belief is that people on probationary periods have a lesser legal status than longer-term employees. However, probationary employees have no special statutory status and therefore employees enjoy the same statutory employment rights as other longer-term staff.

Employees on probation are also protected against detrimental treatment, unlawful discrimination and unfair dismissal if a claim comes up. Their entitlements also cover those including national minimum wage and statutory sick pay.

Although there are a lot of laws in place to protect probationary employees, there are also those that make sure the employer can carry out certain procedures to protect their business. Employers can, therefore, investigate any probationary employee following suspected misconduct or poor performance and any grievances from workers.

For more information or help on how to handle any employment issues, contact our employment lawyers today.