8 Ways That Businesses Can Protect Themselves from Employment Tribunal Claims

employment lawyers

Within today’s litigious society, employment tribunal claims are a risk for businesses of all sizes and can arise from a number of employment-related issues including wrongful dismissal, wage and hour violations, harassment and discrimination.

It is paramount for businesses to sufficiently safeguard against employment law claims and do everything they can to navigate through the complex employment legislation and legal challenges that they might face.

We spoke to some professional, experienced and qualified London employment lawyers and put together this helpful insight into 8 ways that businesses can protect themselves from employment law claims.

Understanding Employment Law

The comprehensive framework of employment law in England and Wales is designed to balance the rights and obligations of both employers and employees, encompassing various regulations, statutes and case law that cover areas such as wages, working hours, health and safety and discrimination.

Having a foundation of understanding of employment law and keeping up to date with legislative changes that could impact your operations can prove to be extremely useful for any business and help with pre-emptive legal risk management.

Seek Professional Legal Advice

An employment lawsuit is something that has the potential to negatively affect your business for years to come so it is important to take every necessary step to prevent this from happening. Employment law is extremely complex which is why consulting with an experienced legal professional early on can make all the difference.

They will be able to offer insight into the legal requirements of your specific industry, assess existing legal claims and help you to develop effective strategies to minimise your legal risks in future.

Foolproof Employment Contracts

An employment contract defines the relationship between employer and employee, making it a crucial, comprehensive tool for clearly outlining rights, roles, responsibilities and obligations. It is important to take the time to get this right as a well-drafted contract will be your first line of defence against employment lawsuits.

This means ensuring that your contracts;

  • Use precise language that cannot be misinterpreted
  • Avoid using ambiguous terms
  • Are easy to understand for all parties
  • Include detailed descriptions of the job, expectations and procedures involved with dispute resolution
  • Are regularly reviewed and updated
  • Get audited by an employment law expert
  • Reference your company’s HR policies and procedures

Take Out Insurance

As an employer, it might be worth purchasing employment practices liability insurance in addition to a general liability policy. This type of insurance can vary by provider, but in general, it tends to help provide protection and cover the costs of defending against employment claims for things like discrimination, wrongful termination and breach of contract to name a few.

Effective HR Policies and Procedures

Developing and implementing comprehensive HR policies and procedures throughout the business can go a long way to preventing employment-related lawsuits, managing the workforce and protecting the business from legal claims.

Make sure that your policies address all aspects of employment including;

  • Recruitment
  • Conduct
  • Equal employment opportunity
  • Performance management
  • Discrimination
  • Termination
  • Harassment
  • Employee discipline

These policies should be clearly written and used as a guide for both management and employees to help ensure consistency and fairness when it comes to decision-making. They will also need to be regularly reviewed and updated.

Training For Managers and Supervisors

Those in a management or supervisory position play an important role within the business when it comes to creating a positive work environment, minimising employment-related disputes, implementing employment policies and ensuring legal compliance.

Have these key personnel receive sufficient training on the relevant aspects of employment law, the company’s HR policies and how to handle employee complaints and investigations. This training will provide vital knowledge that they can use to make informed decisions, mitigate legal risks and handle employment-related issues fairly and professionally.

Develop Clear and Fair Grievance and Disciplinary Procedures

A crucial aspect of effective HR practices, grievance and disciplinary procedures should provide a structured way to address employee concerns and misconduct that is accessible, transparent and consistently applied.

Grievance procedures should outline the steps for filing a grievance, how the investigation process works and possible decisions, outcomes and resolutions. It is important that employees should feel encouraged to raise any concerns they may have without fear of retaliation.

Discipline procedures should include a clear definition of misconduct, outlining the disciplinary process and possible outcomes.

Review and Update Company Policies

The ever-evolving legal landscape means that it is important for businesses to regularly review and update their company policies. Doing so helps to ensure that they remain relevant and compliant with the current laws as well helping to identify potential legal vulnerabilities so they can be proactively addressed.