Our case studies provide situations as to how we have assisted clients with some of their employment and human resource issues.
We also undertake large projects for our clients, which are generally large pieces of activities and can extend over a number of months. In these instances we work with with you to develop a schedule, and project manage the situation on your behalf. This page has some examples of recent projects.
Please note that our case studies and projects do not constitute legal advice; to find out how we can help you, please call us on 01245 261883
Joe is having regular time off work due to sickness as he has chronic fatigue syndrome and works as a receptionist for a veterinary clinic. Joe's time off was causing issues with other staff members as they had to cover Joe when he was off and felt that this was unfair. Sarah the Practice Manager was unsure how she could deal with the situation to assist Joe as his sickness was affecting the business. Sarah contacted us to ascertain how to proceed with the member of staff.
We advised that Joe’s illness is regarded as a disability under the Equality Act and this would give him protection. Also an employer has a duty to make reasonable adjustments for the employee. We suggested that Sarah had a meeting with Joe to ascertain why he was taking time off and to discuss how they could assist him.
Joe was struggling with undertaking morning shifts and working every Saturday as this was impacting on his illness as he was very tired.
We suggested that a reasonable adjustment would be to offer Joe reduced working hours so that he was able to recover with his tiredness when he was not working. Joe was reluctant to reduce his hours due to the financial implication. Sarah and Joe discussed that his financial situation was being affected by taking time off due to his condition as he does not receive company sick pay as the company only pays statutory sick pay.
Joe agreed to reducing his hours each week by starting work later and working every other Saturday. With the adjustment to Joe’s working hours he was able to work his scheduled hours and his sickness level reduced considerably.
During discussions with us, Sarah quickly realised the implications of not making the reasonable adjustments and the potential for Joe to bring a disability claim. There is no limit on the award for compensation if a disability discrimination claim is successful and this can include losses for past and future earnings. Proceed with caution as the costs can be significant!
A few simple steps and a basic understanding of the law in this area meant that Sarah was able to make some changes to Joe’s working hours and Joe was able to manage the hours he was working.
Case Study 2...
Lucy is using company computer to run her own business
Lucy is employed by a marketing company as an accounts assistant. Leah her manager found on Lucy’s computer evidence that she was using the company’s office computers during working hours to operate a personal business without Leah or other managers’ consent. Leah’s initial reaction was to immediately dismiss Lucy without holding a disciplinary meeting. Once Leah contacted us we advised that Lucy should be suspended immediately to investigate the situation and collate the documentary evidence. Leah obtained all of the information which included the employee sending invoices, emails and other written documents relating to her personal business that she was operating by using the company computer.
Once the information was collated we advised Leah that she should invite Lucy to a disciplinary meeting to discuss the situation and the evidence collected. Upon receiving the invitation Lucy resigned from her position.
If Leah had dismissed Lucy without investigating it through a disciplinary meeting, Lucy would have had a claim for unfair dismissal even though the company would have had a fair reason to dismiss Lucy for gross misconduct. Just by telephoning us and providing Leah with all of the information, this saved the company thousands of pounds in a potential employment tribunal claim for unfair dismissal.
Case Study 3...
Julie realised the company does not have any contracts or policies in place
Julie is the General Manager for a lighting company and the company has over 50 staff. Julie has recently joined the company and when looking at the employees files realised that the company did not have employment contracts that were consistent across the company. Also they did not have a staff handbook.
Julie contacted us to discuss her options. We advised Julie that the employees should have as a legal minimum requirement statement of terms and conditions of employment. Julie wanted to ensure that the employees received full contract of employment and this would also give the company protection. Julie was unsure if the company had all the necessary documents in place.
We advised that we can undertake an HR audit and this will establish what is required. During the HR audit it became apparent that there were no personnel files, some staff did not have contracts of employment and there were no forms such as holiday or sickness forms which meant that managers were unable to track how much holiday or sickness was taken.
We agreed with Julie to prepare employment contracts for all employees so that the contracts were consistent. We also prepared a staff handbook that was bespoke to the company. Once the staff handbook had been prepared, we suggested that the managers were trained on how to implement the procedures in the handbook. We provided training to the managers on how to use the staff handbook especially the disciplinary and grievance procedures so that they could deal with these issues more effectively..
We also set up personnel files for each staff member and this ensured that the company was organised and paperwork could be filed easily.
By undertaking the HR audit we were able to assist the company in being legally compliant with all the necessary documentation. Also the managers were able to deal with staff issues confidently which will help reduce problems occurring in the future.
Case Study 4...
Sam requests Flexible Working
Sam works as an office administrator for a small printing company. Sam has recently returned from maternity leave following the birth of her first child. Before her maternity leave, Sam was working full-time; 38 hours over 5 days. She has returned to work on this basis having made arrangements for her daughter to be in nursery 3 days a week and with her mother and mother-in-law looking after her daughter on 2 days a week. Unfortunately the arrangement is not working for Sam and she has asked the business owner, Charles, if she can reduce her hours to 15 hours over 3 days a week as she cannot afford to increase the nursery days but really wants to carry on working.
Charles is very sympathetic to Sam’s situation as she has more than 5 years' service, however he knows that the whole area of flexible working is a minefield and he needs to get it right; both from the Company’s perspective and with regard to Sam. He doesn’t know where to start. Charles called us to ask advice on his options.
We advised Charles that Sam qualifies, under employment legislation, to make a request for flexible working.
We discussed with Charles the impact on the business of the proposed change and we also discussed and considered other possible solutions. Charles is happy to have the meetings with Sam himself, however he wants to be fully briefed by us in advance. We prepared a briefing paper and arranged a call with Charles to ensure that he had all the information he needed to have a constructive meeting with Sam.
Charles feels confident that having sought advice, he was able to work through the options with Sam and come to a mutually agreeable solution for flexible working without flouting the law and risking a discrimination claim.
Case Study 5...
Nicky runs a garden maintenance business and has 3 employees that work all year round. Nicky wanted to offer work to gardeners during the busy summer months. She was unable to offer them permanent positions due to the work being seasonal and also if the weather was raining or had been too wet the gardeners were unable to work.
Nicky contacted us to establish how she could continue to run her business effectively and meet the demands of her customers during the summer months by employing gardeners but could not offer them permanent employment.
We discussed with Nicky the options of how much work she will have and if this will be on an ongoing basis. Nicky could not guarantee work every day as there were many factors to be taken into account such as weather, the time of the year and her client base can fluctuate. We suggested that the best option was to offer the gardeners zero hours contracts which means that the gardeners are not guaranteed hours and are offered work as and when it is available. Also the work could be offered at short notice.
We advised Nicky that this type of contract is only suitable for a period of time such as covering the summer period or even a large project that would take a few weeks. Also this type of contract should not be used if Nicky was going to employ a gardener on a regular basis.
We prepared the zero hours contract for Nicky to use when she offered gardeners work during her busy times. Nicky realised by contacting us that she was able to find a solution to her problem and remain legally compliant.
Ella is the new Managing Director at Magic Miracle and only joined the company 2 months ago. Ella realised that the organisational structure wasn’t working in certain departments and also some employees undertaking the roles were not performing very well due to lack of experience. Some of the managers in the company were promoted into the role even though they had no management experience and were not suited to the role. The previous Managing Director thought that they were suitable for the roles and had promoted them to the manager role.
Ella contacted us to discuss how we could assist with a re-organisation of the whole company. We advised Ella that we can provide assistance from the outset through to the final meetings. We attended at their premises to have a better understanding how the business operated on a day-to-day basis.
Ella had prepared a new company structure to ensure that each department had the necessary positions to allow the company to continue to run smoothly. Also some of the departments would have to incorporate new changes to their working hours.
We advised Ella that a consultation process would need to commence with all the employees that were affected by the change. We prepared a project plan setting out the whole process.
The process included inviting all employees to a group meeting to announce that a consultation period would commence and each employee was invited to attend an individual meeting to discuss the proposed re-structure and also informed them that some positions were at risk of redundancy.
During the process it became apparent that some of the employees did not have the required skills for the roles that they were currently employed to do. As part of the process, some of the employees had to re-apply for their roles as there were proposed changes to the roles within the new structure. Also all employees were given the opportunity to apply for any of the new roles within the re-structure. We undertook the interviews with Ella.
We assisted Ella throughout the whole process. We attended the individual meetings with all of the employees to discuss the proposed new structure and which positions were likely to become redundant. We also prepared the notes taken at the meetings, prepared all written documentation including new job descriptions, final outcome letters at the end of the process.
Ella was pleased to have us present during the meetings and interviews as we were able to advise her how to undertake the process correctly. Ella realised if she had proceeded with the re-structure and made employees redundant without taking advice from us, this could have resulted in some potential employment tribunal claims for unfair dismissal and could have cost the company a substantial amount of money.