Legal & Finance: Employment Myths Putting Companies at Risk

The Birmingham Post (England), August 13, 2004 | Go to article overview

Legal & Finance: Employment Myths Putting Companies at Risk


A misunderstanding of basic employment law is putting companies at risk of legal action, consultants have claimed.

Business advice and support group Croner Consulting has a top ten list of 'management myths' after its research found that a surprising number of professionals are making fundamental employment errors.

Croner human resources expert Richard Smith believes that even the most astute manager can be caught out.

But those most at risk are smaller businesses which may not have dedicated HR professionals on the staff.

Croner's top ten myths, with its own interpretations, are: 1. There is no contract of employment if there's nothing in writing. Croner says: Even a verbal contract is a binding agreement.

2. Employees paid a monthly salary are entitled to one month's notice of the termination of their employment. Croner says: The minimum legal notice period is one week per year of service to a maximum of twelve weeks, irrespective of how frequently someone is paid. It could be longer for more senior staff.

3. Employees with less than one year's service can be dismissed for any reason. Croner says: There are now over 20 grounds where an unfair dismissal complaint can come from an employee with under one year's service.

4. Making someone redundant is easier than dealing with the real issues relating to performance. Croner says: This risks an unfair dismissal finding especially if the worker is replaced shortly afterwards. Employers must show reasonable justification for a redundancy.

5. You can sack someone on the spot for gross misconduct without following any form of procedure. Croner says: This is highly risky, leaving the employer open to an unfair dismissal claim. Workers should be given an opportunity to explain themselves at a properly conducted meeting before decisions are made.

6. Casual, agency and temporary workers never have employment status. Croner says: Such workers may be classed as employees, especially if under the control of the 'employer' and working as part of their organisation, and therefore gain employment rights.

7. If an employee resigns without serving their necessary notice the employer is entitled not to pay them outstanding wages or holiday pay. …

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