Employment law news from Spirit HR
Happy New Year Newsletter from Spirit HR
Greetings & Happy New Year!

There is something about beginnings.  A new year is a real identifiable new beginning when we can choose to do things differently.  If in 2014 you want to worry less about HR and focus more on running your business, then get in touch and we'll talk through options for you.  Meantime, first off the blocks for 2014 we bring you a good case where an employer rejected an employee's chosen companion where the statutory right to be accompanied applied.  Right or wrong?  Find out below.    Next is the case of an unfair dismissal claim, made on the grounds of a small error, it started with an incorrect date - win or loose?  You may be surprised!  And next to the National Minimum Wage and a huge hike in penalties for employers not paying it.   And finally, given our first two items are about picking the detail, we believe our Thought for the Day and our Top Tip are quite fitting? 


Can a company object to a chosen companion, where there is a statutory right to have one?

There is the statutory legal right to be accompanied in certain meetings, including disciplinary. But, can a company object to the employee's chosen companion?  In this case, the company rejected the chosen companion more than once (at hearing and again at appeal).  Did they fundamentally breach the employee's statutory rights - or not?  This one's interesting, and links back to other cases against the same company (sounds like they had a time of it) - read our summary here ...

If your notification of dismissal letter has an small error, you could face unfair dismissal claims

This case reinforces how easy it is to make a small mistake that can cost dearly.  In this case, this large organisation made a small error and after three court cases, the EAT confirmed on the grounds of the error and resulting actions, the employee was unfairly dismissed.  This is a matter of who had authority to do what, and which date exactly the notification of dismissal (in the eyes of the law) was given.  Food for thought - easy mistake to make, it easily happen to a company without HR expertise.  Read about it here...

Huge increase in penalties for non-payment of National Minimum Wage

In a government crackdown, penalties for employers not paying the correct National Minimum Wage (NMW) to workers goes up from £5,000 to £20,000.  Remember, it's not just whether the government or HMRC find out, it's about whether or not a worker files a claim.  Read about it here, and don't forgot, there is the horror of a possible Equal Pay claim made under the Equality Act - this can relate not only to pay, but also to overtime, bonuses, performance related pay, benefits .... we could go on!  Not sure about the rates, find the current rates here and here.

Thought for the day

“Never trust to general impressions, my boy, but concentrate yourself upon details.”

Arthur Conan Doyle, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes

Pablo Picasso
Diary Dates

Diary Dates

New Year's Day - 1 January 2014
UK Bank Holiday

1 January 2014
Pension auto-enrolment staging date - 350 - 499 employee

1 February 2014
Pension auto-enrolment staging date - 250 - 349 employee

Plan your HR Meetings

Plan carefully before holding a meeting with an employee that could lead to formal action, and before taking any formal action.  Ensure you find out about and understand the implications & risks of your actions (& non actions).  A successful ET claim, with an uncapped award, could easily close a small business.

Guaranteed time with a Spirit HR 

We have a number of clients who benefit from guaranteed time with Spirit HR each month. These companies get a whole lot more than trouble-shooting support.  If you'd like to join our exclusive entourage, give us a ring for an easy going chat and see what you think.  Ask for Donna on 0845 463 3231.

Here's what our Clients think of us ....

Donna has worked with the FSS for a 2 year period supporting the HR team with responsibility for providing advice and guidance to managers and directors across the organisation.  In particular ... taken the lead on the following:

  • Advising manager and directors on the people aspects of both preparing for and executing business change.
  • Developing people management skills across various levels of management.
  • Managing and advising on investigations, disciplinaries and grievance.
  • Advising managers on the practical application of employment legislation within the FSS environment

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Read all our testimonials here 

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