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- Last month Paul was sacked from his job as sales assistant in a large department store located in central London. He had worked in the store on a full- time basis for four years. He blames himself for the dismissal and thinks that he probably deserved to be sacked given his conduct. He had reported for duty one afternoon having drunk four pints of strong ale in a pub at lunch time. He had then apparently sworn loudly at a colleague in front of several customers. When reprimanded about this incident by the floor manager Paul had sworn at him and was seen punching him on the left jaw. He had been summarily dismissed there and then without notice.
To his surprise Paul has found out from a friend that his dismissal might in fact be classed in law as being unfair. He thus completes the relevant documentation and sends an unfair dismissal claim to his local Employment Tribunal Office.
Assume that you are the HR Manager in the store at which Paul was employed.
When Paul’s unfair dismissal claim is received the General Manager asks your advice.
Explain what course of action the organization should have taken to comply with UK law. What should have been done in terms of procedure?
Recommend the best course of action to be taken by the department store now.
. You are hired to work as an HR manager by a Canadian hotel company (Sleep well Holdings) that is taking over a chain of motel-style operations in the UK for the first time. The estate consists of five 100-room units. Existing staff turnover levels are high. Staff are now being sought through recruitment advertisements placed in local newspapers and at job centers.
The company has been highly successful in Canada by keeping staffing costs to a minimum, despite paying reasonably high hourly rates. A key feature of its HR strategy has been its policy of hiring staff to undertake a number of different operational roles (room attendant, receptionist, bar worker, waiter, ground staff etc). This has enabled it to operate more flexibly than its rivals, deploying staff as and when they are needed. Management is obviously keen to adopt the same highly flexible working practices in its new UK operations.
In Canada efficiency has been substantially enhanced by providing staff with live- in accommodation within the motels. The major reasons are as follows:
- Because staff do not have to commute to work, they can be employed on split shifts (for example, four hours in the morning and four hours in the evening). This means that they can be deployed when the motels are at their busiest.
- An on-call system can be operated. Off-duty staff are designated as being ‘on-call’ for certain periods of the week. During this time they must not leave the premises and can be called upon to work for short periods if the motel suddenly gets very busy.
- School leavers are particularly attracted to the jobs that Sleepwell offers because accommodation is provided. The company prefers to employ younger people because it finds that their lifestyles permit them to work more flexibly than older people with family commitments.
- Sleepwell finds that it is far easier to staff their motels late at night and early in the morning where live-in accommodation is provided.
- A completely revised pay structure is being introduced for all new recruits. Hourly rates will be lower than for existing staff, but there will be opportunities for outstanding staff to earn more.
- In Canada strict attendance requirements are enforced and there is no scope for managers to sanction requests for greater flexible working.
You are charged with the task of adapting these established Canadian practices for use in the five new UK motels. You want to maintain as many of the Canadian
Approaches as you can, while also ensuring that the company complies with the Working Time Regulations, Equal pay law and family friendly entitlements.
In which areas is there a potential clash between established company policy and these legal requirements? What steps might the company be able to take in order to reconcile these differences? Write a short paper
For Sleepwell’s Operations Director setting out the options and justifying your recommendations.
- The Cleansing Services Division at an international airport is about to be contracted out to a specialised private sector provider. 250 staff are currently employed as cleaners directly by the airport. Most are employees with several years’ service. The new contractor intends to run the Cleansing Services Division with a considerably lower number of staff.
You work in the HR department at the international airport, where you look after staffing issues in the Cleansing Services Division. You are asked to advise your manager about the following:
- What consultation needs to be carried out with the staff prior to the outsourcing of the division? What further questions from staff are likely to be asked concerning their legal rights?
- Hat information, if any, needs to be provided to the contractor who will be employing the staff in the future which will assist it in planning a redundancy programme?
- Sorting out the problem of the ‘left over rump’ prior to the completion of the contracted out procedure.
The relevant facts are as follows:
In 2008 the airport drew up new contracts of employment for workers in the Cleansing Services Division. Prior to this different groups of workers had been employed on different terms and conditions, leading to accusations of unfairness and to administrative inefficiency. The aim of the change was to ensure that henceforward all staff were employed on the same basis.
The new terms and conditions were more attractive than the old ones in certain respects. They were drawn up after consultation with trade union representatives who subsequently recommended that their members signed up. 570 staff willingly agreed to accept the new conditions and since October 2008 all new starters have been appointed on the new contracts. However, a small group of cleaning staff refused to agree to the change.
The current situation is that there remain 16 long-serving individuals employed as cleaners who are still employed on the old (pre-2008) contracts. A number of attempts have been made over the last few years to persuade this ‘left-over rump’ to make the switch, but all have been soundly rebuffed.
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