Category: Employment

22 Feb 2019

Harassment In The Workplace

At Stuart Q Murphy we understand that employment law issues can be very sensitive and a stressful process for victims, we always aim to establish a resolution through non-adversarial means, such as mediation. Our experienced Employment Law Solicitors have put together a guide on harassment in the workplace and what you should do if you are a victim of harassment.

Your employer is required by law to protect you from any form of discrimination that you could face during working hours. Discrimination can have a detrimental effect on the work place environment and should never be overlooked.

The Equality Act 2010, protects employees from being harassed by their employer, colleagues and customers of the organisation.

The nine protected characteristics are:

  • Age
  • Disability
  • Gender reassignment
  • Sex
  • Sexual orientation
  • Marriage and civil partnership
  • Pregnancy and maternity
  • Race, colour, ethnic or national origin
  • Religion and belief

Your employer should have a policy that explains that they have zero tolerance as an organisation for harassment and bullying. It should also clarify what you need to do in the event of needing to make a harassment complaint.

Common workplace harassment examples include:

  • Spreading rumours.
  • Insults, pranks, jokes, and teasing.
  • Flags and emblems that are offensive.
  • Unwelcome sexual advances.
  • Undermining a competent employee with criticism on a continuous basis.
  • Offensive emails, tweets, and social networking interactions.

If you are being bullied or harassed, you should aim to try to resolve the problem informally in the first instance, having a discussion with the harasser (with someone else present) could be all that’s needed. Keep a copy of all the correspondence and dates you send and receive from the harasser.

If you find the harassment doesn’t stop or your employer doesn’t take your complaint seriously, you should make a formal complaint or raise a grievance. Your employer may offer workplace mediation. If your problem isn’t resolved after this, you can make a harassment claim in the employment tribunal under the Equality Act. You need to make sure:

  • the behaviour counts as unlawful harassment under the Act, and
  • you’re within the 3 months’ less one day time limit for making your claim.

The Employment Tribunal can make a declaration as to your rights, award damages for unlawful discrimination, or make a recommendation.

An Employment Law Solicitor can explain the legal rights you have and where necessary what action to take.

If you feel you have been bullied or harassed at work, contact our Employment Law Solicitors to determine whether you can take legal action to assist in resolving the issues you have faced.

 

Do you need help or advice when it comes to employment law?

 Contact Stuart Q Murphy on 01923 355 755.

22 Feb 2019

Flexible Working – No More 9-5?

Interested in working in a way that suits you? You may want to consider flexible working.

YouGov recently conducted a survey which has discovered that 6% of people in the UK still work a traditional ‘9am to 5pm’ working day, 66% of people surveyed said that they would prefer to start and finish earlier.

Flexible working is a way for employees to work in a way that suits them and meets their needs. Flexible working is any type of working that is different to the standard 9-5 working day, this could involve different working times, working from home or even changing to job sharing.

If you’re an employee and have worked with the same employer for 26 weeks or more you’re entitled to make a flexible working request. There is no right to flexible working, but you can be considered for it.

How to request flexible working

There will be a procedure that you have to follow when putting in your request.  To start with, you’ll have to write your employer a letter/email, employers are allowed to take up to three months to respond to your request. You’re only able to make one working request each year.

In order to assist your case and make it more likely that the employer will agree to accepting your request, it may be helpful to explain the proposed new working arrangements, although it is not a legal requirement to state why you want flexible working hours. However, it will help to provide a solution, for example, if you want to work less hours suggest how you’ll reorganise the work load.

Refusal of flexible working

Employers must consider all working requests within 3 months unless you’ve agreed to a longer time frame. Your employer can reject flexible working requests for a number of reasons such as:

  • planned structural changes to the business
  • unable to reorganise work amongst existing staff
  • unable recruit additional staff
  • detrimental impact on quality/performance
  • detrimental effect on the ability to meet customer demand
  • burden of additional costs on the business.

If your employer turns down your request for flexible working, they should give you a good explanation of why they have made this decision, the reason should not be discriminatory.

Your employer should allow a right of appeal as part of the procedure.

If your request is denied and you and your employer can’t reach a compromise, there are a number of different options if you want to take things further including:

  • contacting ACAS or using alternative dispute resolution
  • raising a grievance via your employer’s grievance procedure
  • bringing a claim to an employment tribunal if certain circumstances apply
  • brining a discrimination claim
  • resigning and claiming constructive dismissal

 

Do you need help or advice when it comes to employment law?

 Contact Stuart Q Murphy on 01923 355 755.