Employment Law - Get the Basics Right

24 October 2016

As an employer you will have made good and bad hires and good and bad fires. When the time comes to taking on a new recruit or when a current employee leaves, it’s important to ensure that you have the fundamentals in place and are able to identify when it’s necessary to put extra protection in place in order to protect your business.

As an employer you will have made good and bad hires and good and bad fires. When the time comes to taking on a new recruit or when a current employee leaves, it’s important to ensure that you have the fundamentals in place and are able to identify when it’s necessary to put extra protection in place in order to protect your business.

Whilst a written employment contract is not a legal requirement, within 2 months of the employee starting work an employer must provide what is known as a “Statement of Terms”. This often comes in the form of a letter from the employer to an employee or it can be incorporated into a more formal employment contract; whichever form it takes, it must include certain information including the employee’s job description, how much they will get paid and their hours of work. Along with the statement of terms you must give details of where your disciplinary and grievance procedures can be found.

If you get these basics in place and follow what they say, then you should have the peace of mind to know that your business has a good level of protection.

There are times when, as an employer, you need to be thinking about putting added protection in place to protect your business’ assets. By "assets" I mean both an employee (because although employees may sometimes feel like a liability – they are also an asset of the business) as well as the physical and intellectual property of the business.

A departing employee may be well placed to take advantage of an employer’s client information and may be well placed to cause serious harm to the employer’s business. The Courts will be happy to uphold reasonable clauses, known as "restrictive covenants". These could be in the form of a non-competition clause, which can restrict an employee’s movements or a non-solicitation clause, which can prevent a former employee contacting your clients and customers. These may not be necessary for every employee but if you have a key or senior member of staff who is relied upon then the benefit of these types of clauses is that they act as a deterrent for both employees looking to leave and competitors looking to poach your key employees.

Disputes can arise within a business as to what is confidential and what is not. If an employee is likely to come across sensitive information, an employer really should be looking to ensure that there is a suitable express confidentiality clause in the employment contract that applies both during and after the period of employment.

Getting the fundamentals right is the key to providing protection against unnecessary employee problems. Make sure each employee has a statement of terms and that you have disciplinary and grievance procedures in place. From there continue to give consideration to whether added protection may be necessary where you have key members of staff that you do not want to lose or where the business holds sensitive and confidential information.


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