Employment law update – the employment contract
There’s nothing to stop employers including additional terms of their own. When we are preparing documents for clients we always ask about things like dress code. This does not appear in the ERA’s list of contents, but we always specifically consider it. You wouldn’t believe how contentious it can be! Many employees grumble about their ‘human rights’ are being breached because you ask them to wear business clothing instead of allowing shorts. Nonsense! Provided that your requirement isn’t unlawful, there’s nothing wrong with setting your standards out clearly and getting employees to sign up to it.
Many employers, especially smaller ones, don’t really understand the importance and value of having a really good, robust set of terms. They set out the rights and responsibilities of both parties and are invaluable in helping an employer manage his business effectively. However good the first lots of terms are, they will date fairly quickly. Life changes so quickly these days that it’s sensible to review them every three years or so. It may well be that when you last revised your terms of employment we weren’t facing the Facebook menace. How clear are you as an employer about your rights to access an employee’s emails if he is absent from work and can you use your CCTV footage in a discipline investigation? And if you don’t specifically reserve the right to do so, relying on CCTV footage to dismiss an employee may invade his privacy, be in breach of the Data Protection Act 1998 and make the dismissal unfair. It’s a tricky business.
If you need help putting your terms of employment together, give us a call. Russell HR Consulting provides expert knowledge in the practical application of employment law as well as providing employment law training and HR support services. For more information, visit our website at www.russellhrconsulting.co.uk or call a member of the team on 0845 644 8955.
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