Many businesses are at risk from within. The climate has never been more litigious. This is not just hearsay. The Labour Relations Commission (LRC) is estimated to have over 50,000
cases on its books. Our estimate is that up to 80 percent of Employers will end up paying out.
Because Employers make mistakes in how they deal with employees. You can’t just call
someone into the office and tell them they’re dismissed or subject to a disciplinary measure.
We’ve had cases where a business owner has erupted in a fit of temper and told slacking
employees to go home and never come back. That’s a recipe for Employer disaster.
Some – not all, I hasten to add – employees are watching their opportunity. Ninety-nine times out of 100, it’s nothing personal – they’re just looking for a way to replace income caused by falling rates and hours. Job prospects are slim out there and they don’t see much light at the end of the tunnel. So if they can use you to make up the shortfall, they might take the opportunity.
How do you insulate yourself from the risk of paying out thousands of euro in a claim? Here are some tips to take on board:
Be compliant. The National Employment Rights Authority (NERA) is the governing body for employment rights. To be compliant, you must have all your processes in order, right from the terms and conditions onwards. The process of becoming compliant takes you through the many steps along the way. Also, compliance ensures you won’t ship a painful fine from NERA.
Understand that, when it comes to employment issues, process is king. You cover yourself by following process. Document what you have done, tell people why you’ve done things, follow correct disciplinary procedures – those are the nuts and bolts of the matter. Many business owners ride roughshod over the whole area of procedures. They are very vulnerable.
If you don’t know employment law inside out, find someone who does. It will cost you money to get the expert advice you need, but the cost of taking a chance can be multiples more. Observe the legislation.
Redundancy is a minefield if you take chances. You must remember that employees now know their rights better than ever before. They have lived through a time when friends, family and work colleagues have been laid off. They have picked up a great deal of information about their rights. We say to Employers “your employees know their rights – do you?” Some businesses are now facing into a second phase of redundancies. In that instance, you can be guaranteed that staff know their rights better than they did for the first phase. If you don’t follow process, if you make a false move, it could cost you.
Redundancies are required to keep a business viable. Make your decisions based on what’s best for the business – not because you want to get rid of Danny the storeman who you feel hasn’t done a tap for years. Before making people redundant, look at the business overall and see what areas are suffering a downturn, what areas are picking up, and how best you should react to changed circumstances.
A Selection Matrix will help to clarify your thoughts and take the personalities out of the decision – and also
ensure that no-one can accuse you of using redundancy simply to take out people you don’t like. As a business owner or manager, you are entitled to make decisions that make business sense. So establish the logic of any decision before you make it.