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Sunday, 20 March 2016

How to avoid costly legal action against your business

How To Avoid Costly Legal Action Against Your Business

As an HR consultant, I often find myself having in-depth conversations about how business owners can avoid legal action. Of course, The Human Resource offers services that go way beyond this. We can help you to boost your profits, create a happier and more productive workforce, and achieve your big strategic goals.

Still though, steering clear of expensive and potentially reputation-damaging legal action is something that many leaders are very keen to do, for obvious reasons. If you’re worried about ending up on the wrong side of the law, then it’s important that you take some positive steps towards minimising the risk.

Let’s take a look at what you can do to keep your business practices compliant, up to date, and above board:

Know the law

As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to keep up to date with the law. New pieces of legislation are passed on a regular basis, so it’s vital that you stay on the ball. The last thing that you want is to find out that new provisions came into force, rendering your existing policies and procedures unlawful.

This might seem like a huge burden, but it doesn’t have to be. Consider working with us on a retainer basis. This will ensure that you get the information that you need well in advance, and that you’re given useful, practical advice so you can make the necessary changes.

For example, you need to know about the new National Living Wage because there are hefty fines for non-compliance.

Consistently implement people policies

People policies are there for a very good reason. They outline acceptable standards of behaviour, make your expectations clear, and map out what will happen if a problem occurs. If you decide though that they should only be applied to some staff, some of the time, then you could be accused of discrimination. It will certainly be felt to be unfair by your workforce.

The bottom line here is that your whole workforce should be held to the same standards. They’re there to help you, so use them consistently! On the other hand, if you don’t have any people policies in place, contact us without delay.

Always keep records

If any problems arise, having a comprehensive paper trail can be extremely useful. You never know when things might escalate.

Make written notes as you go along to clearly outline the details of each stage of everyday employment situations, such as absences, performance discussions, grievances, and so on.

Your notes should be kept up to date, accurate with the detail, and confidential.

Give your line managers the capability they need

As your business grows, it’s unlikely that you’ll be personally handling all the day-to-day people management. By ensuring your line managers have the HR training that they need, you could avoid finding yourself in a situation whereby your operations aren’t compliant with the law.

It’s down to you to make sure that your managers consistently follow the law. When you invest in your leadership team, you’ll find that many potentially volatile incidents can be quickly defused before they spiral out of control.

Not many business owners would intentionally break the law when it comes to how they treat their greatest asset – their people. But if you aren’t vigilant, you could find yourself in a tricky situation.

If you’ve decided that it’s time to put your niggling worries to bed once and for all when it comes to complying with employment legislation, then get in touch with The Human Resource on enquiries@thehr.co.uk. We’ll be pleased to arrange an initial review of your existing practices.