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Blog  »  November 2013
25
Nov 13

Posted by
Laura Murphy

Employer Successfully Defends Bullying Claim

Ryanair has successfully defended a claim at the Employment Appeals Tribunal from a former flight attendant, Brian Butler, who claimed he had been bullied by a supervisor.

Mr Butler had claimed that the bullying was to such an extent that he often became nervous, apprehensive and unwell, to the point of being physically sick. The Claimant did raise his concerns informally but because he felt they were not being dealt with fast enough, he decided to resign from his post. The tribunal heard that having submitted his notice Mr Butler went off on sick leave, citing an ear ache.

The tribunal found that although Mr Butler was aware of the Company’s grievance procedure he had not formally raised his issue via the process available to him; he then left the Company before they had an opportunity to address his issues.

Lessons Learnt

This case shows the importance of having a grievance procedure in place and of ensuring all staff are aware of it.

A grievance procedure gives employees a forum to raise issues where they will be dealt with in a consistent, thorough and fair manner.

With no grievance procedure in place an employee has a much greater chance of bringing a successful claim against a company because there was no recourse to raise their compliant internally.

In this case Ryanair’s policies and procedures protected them from what could have been an extremely expensive case.

BrightPay - Payroll Software

Bright Contracts - Employment Contracts and Handbooks

Posted in Bullying and Harassment, Company handbook, Contract of employment

19
Nov 13

Posted by
Laura Murphy

How to Manage your Employee Files

All employers need to retain certain information on their employees.

Maintaining accurate, up-to-date employee files ensures employers are:
• compliant with employment law
• prepared to deal with employee relations issues
• equipped to handle any audit or NERA inspection enquiries

Creating & Storing Employee Files

For most companies manual files are the easiest, most convenient way to retain employee files. However, more companies are moving towards electronic records. Personnel files, of both past and present employees, should always be stored securely and confidentially:
• Filing cupboards should be locked or files should be stored in a locked room
• Only those staff who need to use the data should have access to it
• Electronic records should be password protected
• Files should not be removed from their normal place without good reason

Employees Accessing Their own File

Under the Data Protection Act employees have a right to access their personnel file and obtain information with regard to why data is being stored and how it is being processed/used.

With this in mind, employers should:
• never record something that they wouldn’t want a tribunal to see
• hold only factual information (no criticisms or comments about an employee’s personal circumstances or beliefs)
• only hold information pertaining to the individual in question on file otherwise you may infringe on another employee’s Data Protection Rights

Employees’ right to access their own files continues after they have stopped working with a company.

Further details on records to be kept can be found in our guidance note on Record Keeping Requirements. http://www.brightcontracts.ie/docs/record-keeping-requirements/

BrightPay - Payroll Software

Bright Contracts - Employment Contracts and Handbooks

Posted in Company handbook, Employee Records, Employment Contract

9
Nov 13

Posted by
Ann Tighe

€27,300: The Average Cost of Workplace Accidents to Employers

Last year €22m in total in Ireland was paid out in compensation for workplace accidents. For a small business with limited cash reserves, compensating an injured employee can be the difference between survival and insolvency.

There are practical steps that businesses can take to protect themselves and their employees, since most workplace injuries are preventable.

Slips, trips and falls are the largest cause of accidents in all sectors.  Last year they accounted for 33pc of all claims.

One in five of those slips or trips resulted in employees missing a month of work, or more. 25% of all workplaces surveyed by HSA inspectors had not carried out a Slip, Trip and Fall risk assessment.

Prevention can only be achieved by employers leading the way on risk management through robust health and safety initiatives.

Steps to assist in avoiding avoidable accidents:

  • Nominate one person per shift to take charge of cleaning up spills as it creates a chain of responsibility 
  • Erect caution signs in the event of a spill              - Clean up spills immediately and prevent access to the wet surface
  • Fit mats with weights in areas of high footfall
  • Good Lighting and clear identification of ground level changes like unexpected steps are vital.

Proper management of Workplace Safety and Health contribute to long-term commercial success and profitability!

BrightPay - Payroll Software

Bright Contracts - Employment Contracts and Handbooks

Posted in Health & Safety, SME