Monthly Archives: March 2011
I own a large estate which includes housing for some employees. Whilst visiting one of the cottages with my sons, the employee explained that he was doing it up nicely (at his own expense) so that he could move his gay partner in with him. I told him I was not happy about this and would have to seriously consider his position. I have checked the licence and it only allows for his spouse to share the property whilst he remains an employee. I want him out.
The licence for the property should be construed as giving entitlements to married partners ie wife or civil partner. If he is not a formal civil partner then you would probably be entitled to enforce this clause and preclude him from moving his friend in with him. You need to explain that bit of property law and that you would take the same approach with an unmarried girlfriend. Presuming that he is not happy and no longer respects you then you will have to ‘review’ his employment. You may not dismiss him or take any other detrimental action on the grounds of his sexual orientation and the penalties for doing so are unlimited. You must be very careful that none of your actions can be construed as ‘homophobic’ or due to his sexuality. If the relationship does break down because of your approach to the property then it would be best to agree to an amicable separation with a compromise agreement, which compensates him for his loss of job/home.
One of our retail managers has been accused of sexually harassing one of his female staff. It is all pretty minor stuff as they have had a relationship which she ended and he is just ‘lovelorn’. I was a bit concerned about him saying that if she did not go back with him he would have to transfer to another site a few miles away. I am not, however too worried as unlike his contract there is no mobility clause in her contract of employment, so we should be alright won’t we? I told her that I will have a quiet word and remind him that he cannot do that and he should just get over it. After all he is one of our best managers.
It really does not matter to her that there is no mobility clause; he has clearly damaged his credibility and authority in attempting to abuse his power in return for sexual favours or even just having a romantic relationship under duress. You appear to have assumed that the lack of legal authority to transfer her means that there is no problem. You have also attempted to solve the problem without taking her wishes into account and could well be accused of brushing the matter under the carpet and quite probably failing in not only your legal duty to protect her from discrimination and harassment but also ignoring your equal opportunities policies and whatever policy you have for harassment or dignity at work which are designed to protect employees from harassment and bullying. His competence is irrelevant.
You need to properly investigate this matter and that may mean either suspending him from work or at least moving him temporarily to another site where he cannot interfere with the investigation. Depending on all the circumstances and mitigation either a final written warning or dismissal is likely to be appropriate and a site transfer for him.
I was conducting a disciplinary interview with someone earlier today about her poor attendance record. She said she suffers from depression and when I asked if she knew what made her depressed, she replied that it as working here in a big old factory with no natural light, doing a routine job. I said that if she felt like that she should get a new job and then went on to give her a written warning. My boss thinks I should have not been so spontaneous.
Sadly your boss is probably right. For a start encouraging employees to leave is likely to be seen as constructive dismissal i.e. showing a lack of faith and trust in them entitling them to leave and claim that your actions undermine the relationship in a serious way. Furthermore there is also a risk that she will also complain of disability discrimination because depression can amount to a disability if it is long term and sufficiently serious to prevent normal day to day activities. I would see her and apologise if you appeared insensitive, you were merely concerned for her health and welfare and were wondering why she stayed if she knew that the environment was not right for her. You could then go on to ask if there is anything the Company could to help her to feel happier at work. You might also suggest that it would be a good idea if she could see someone from Occupational Health or her GP who might be able to help with coping strategies. You could also remind her of her right to appeal against the disciplinary action and her right to raise a grievance if she did not accept your apology for your spontaneity/concern.
We have an employee who officially works in the Service department and is paid weekly and has other associated conditions. For the last six months he has been working in the Maintenance Department although we have never formalised it or otherwise made it ‘official’. His old job has disappeared and we now need to make one person redundant from the maintenance department of 5 monthly paid guys plus him. We told him that as he is on different conditions of employment, he is the one we need to make redundant. He is saying that is not fair and will complain of unfair dismissal.
He would have a good case. He is saying that the pool for selection should be the six people who are all doing much the same work and after such a long time it would be difficult to argue that he is not really part of that team. Indeed it is arguable that he should have been issued with a revised ‘contract’ i.e. written statement of terms and conditions within eight weeks of the change. You need to acknowledge your mistake and explain to him that he will be considered against a set of objective criteria to determine which of the six people is to be selected for redundancy and will need to inform the other five people that they are in a period of redundancy consultation. You need to do a full and proper consultation exercise and conduct an objective assessment of which five people are most valuable to the business and then deal properly with the de-selected person including giving consideration to any appeal and search for suitable alternative employment.