Employment disputes at work arise from time-to-time. When an employment dispute first materialises if it is handled quickly, pragmatically and appropriately, often a solution can be found which meets the satisfaction and needs of both the employer and employee. Often using an external expert, who has experience of dealing with such issues and fully understands the legal position, allows a degree of trust to be restored between the parties; an essential ingredient for any chance of a successful resolution.
An external and experienced HR consultant can often identify practical solutions and engender a climate of greater understanding and empathy of both sides’ position, which is an essential component if a successful resolution is to be found.
The importance of timeliness can not be over exaggerated in getting the two parties to agree a solution which is acceptable to both sides. If an employment dispute is not dealt with correctly at an early stage, this can mean the issue festers with both sides becoming gradually but inevitably more intransigent and less tolerant. Often and perhaps inevitably such issues result in progression of the matter to an employment tribunal with the associated escalating costs for both parties.
For both sides, if the issue is not resolved and later escalates to an employment tribunal, the actions of the parties at the stage the employment dispute first emerged can be produced in court as evidence. Therefore getting expert advice at an early stage can be critical to protect the legal position.
Employment dispute resolution services for employees
Employees often approach HR First for guidance in seeking to resolve an issue at work. Prior to seeking our support employees have often suffered months of worry and frustration, and express that they feel they are banging their heads against a brick wall.
In today’s workplace many employees are not members of a trade union so when an employee has a concern it can be difficult to find good legal advice cost effectively. Although an employee can feel very strongly about an issue, it is important for the employee and employer that there is no misunderstanding of the legal position. Our HR consultants explain the legal position, setting realistic expectations of the options available to resolve the issue.
Employees often have concerns over pay and working conditions, proposals to change duties or the work location, maternity rights, concerns with redundancy, threats of termination of employment or disciplinary action, flexible working requests, changes due health issues and following bullying, harassment and discrimination.
Our approach is to understand and advise the employee of the legal position in accordance with the statutory framework and the employee’s contract of employment. HR First will prepare correspondence and support the employee including liaising with the employer directly if required. Often employees are not looking to leave the employment of the employer, but seeking to resolve an issue and at HR First we work very much with that in mind. We recognise that where an employment dispute arises it is important to handle the matter sensitively to preserve a good employment relationship for the future. Our philosophy is to effectively assert the employee’s concerns and mediate to a resolution of the issue which works in the long term for the employee and employer as that results in better outcomes for all.
Raising an issue at work is not easy, but feeling unhappy at work becomes increasing more difficult to bear. At HR First we evaluate the merits of success, and ensure the issue is presented to the employer to ensure the best chance of success and we provide support and guidance throughout.
Realistically there are occasions when although the employee’s position is reasonable, the employment relationship is not tenable and the employer is prepared to uphold and respect the employee’s legal rights. Where this is the case we are able to support clients by negotiating a settlement agreement or helping via our Employment Tribunal Representation Service .
Employment dispute resolution services for employers
At HR First we work with employers who may have concerns about an employee or perhaps an employee has made a complaint or submitted a formal grievance. HR First is able to advise the employer of the legal merits of any complaint and to provide the employer with impartial employment law advice and support to investigate the issues. Our consultants organise and facilitate grievance hearings in compliance with the legal requirements and will draft documents on behalf of the employer in response to grievances and other issues raised by an employee including settlement agreements if required. We have experience in working with union representatives for those employers who recognise unions or for those employees who are members of a trade union and have a statutory right to be represented by a union representative even though the employer does not recognise unions for collective bargaining purposes.
There are some employment disputes when despite an employer taking a reasonable position to resolve a complaint, the employee decides to progress the issue at an employment tribunal. Where this is the case HR First offers a full employment tribunal advocacy service with its Employment Tribunal Representation Service.