There have been a number of successful Employment Tribunal claims against pubs in recent years. Many of these claims could have been avoided if the correct procedures were in place. All too often licensee find that if they had certain practices in place then the claim against them would have been unsuccessful.
• Written employment contracts. If there is no written contract it does not mean there is no contract of employment. A verbal contract is just as legally valid. In many instances the Tribunal will imply certain terms into a contract which could be excluded if there is a written contract that deals with those matters. Many licensees believe that having no written contract is to their advantage whereas the opposite is true, especially as the licensee can include his own terms to suit his business needs.
• Disciplinary procedure. The most common way for employers to lose a tribunal is where they have failed to follow widely accepted disciplinary procedures. Quite often this can mean losing a Tribunal even if they were right to sack their employee. Things that are considered to be part of a good disciplinary procedure include giving employees sufficient written notice of the intention to hold a disciplinary hearing; allowing them to have someone present with them at that meeting; the employer putting the outcome in writing; and giving them right to appeal against the decision to someone else within the company. These are some examples but for a disciplinary procedure to be considered satisfactory it would have to include other ingredients and proper legal advice should be taken to ensure that your business complies.
• Staff handbook. This should include such things as the pub’s Equal Opportunities Policy in relation to race, gender, sexuality and disability. The absence of such written policies has been viewed negatively by Tribunals in cases for discrimination. The pub’s disciplinary and grievance procedures should also be included in the handbook as well as any procedures in relation to taking holiday or having time off for illness or bereavement. If there is no written equal opportunities policy in place, an employer would stand little chance at all of successfully resisting a discrimination claim as they wouldn’t be able to show that they have taken reasonable steps to prevent discrimination from happening. Even in a claim that doesn’t involve discrimination a well written staff handbook is seen as evidence of a pub that has good practices.
These matters above are not the only areas that you need to identify to have an employment policy that is considered to be good practice. If you are unsure about anything on this page or more generally to do with employment law then please seek independent legal advice.
PAS have employment contracts which have been designed with pubs in mind. There are separate contracts for hourly paid and salaried staff and we can, by using your staff details, provide a contract for each and every employee to ensure that you are better prepared to deal with any issues that arise during or after an employees work for you. For a quote on quality employment contracts from our legal experts please contact us via the form below.
Pubs Advisory Service Ltd.PO BOX 237
Tel: 0203 651 3351