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Employment News In Brief October 2015

Alcohol and Disciplinary decisions

You might consider that smelling alcohol on an employee’s breath would be sufficient to dismiss for gross misconduct, but not according to a recent tribunal case.  The tribunal decided that a reasonable employer would not treat this as gross misconduct, or even conduct justifying dismissal, in the absence of evidence that it was having an adverse effect on the employee’s ability to do their job or a previous warning.

Disciplinary process need not be correct

In another case, (this time that went to the Employment Appeal Tribunal), a dismissal was found to be fair, even though there had been serious procedural failings at its earlier stages.

The EAT acknowledged that businesses often face practical difficulties when identifying the right people to run the process, or be at the appeal, who is sufficiently independent or senior.

Reckless employer fails to take advice on redundancies

If employers are proposing to make large scale redundancies, they should ensure they comply with their obligations to consult.  In a case where the employer was unaware of its obligations, the Employment Appeal Tribunal described their failure to take appropriate advice as “reckless”.  Their failure to consult cost them the maximum penalty under the legislation of 90 days pay per employee.

Increase in the over 50s working

The Dept for Work and Pensions has released new figures, which show that there are more than 8.2 million people aged between 50 and 64 now in work.  The figures also show that there are 235,000 more people aged between 50 and 64 in work than there were a year ago.