Monthly Archives: March 2017

A Guide to British Employment

If you’re an employer or an employee, or even a solicitor, then you may have come across Employment Law.  The following article explains the history of the laws of employment in Britain and the impact of the legislation which has occurred over the years.

British Employment Law – The Industrial Revolution

The British industrial revolution led to the introduction of employment laws in Britain. The reason for this was that, due to the advent of industrialism and use of machinery for the first time, workers were increasingly being asked to work longer and longer hours. The average working day, prior to the revolution was between 11-14 hours, however this had risen, with some workers working as many as 16 hours a day.

British Employment Law – Working Hours

In 1833, a new law on employment hours was passed. This limited miners to no more than 12 hours work a day and children to just 10 hours. In 1848, a further reduction occurred, limiting all workers to just 10 hours.

British Employment Law – The Factory Acts

The Factory Acts (1802 and 1833), together with the 1832 Master and Servant Act were the first laws to regulate employment in the United Kingdom.

Prior to 1960, the vast majority of laws regarding British employment was based on the Law of Contract. After then, due largely to Britain’s involvement in the European Union, there has been significant change and due to what is known as the “equality movement.”

British Employment Law – The Equal Pay Act

In modern day terms, the Equal Pay Act of 1970 was a major turning point in British employment. Due to the radical nature of this Act, it didn’t come into effect until 1972. When it did, however, it brought much needed parity in pay and equality for women in the workplace.

British Employment Law – Labor’s Reforms

When Labor came to power in 1997, they set about reforming employment laws, with a series of measures designed to improve conditions for workers. Perhaps the most significant of these reforms was the introduction of the national minimum wage. In addition, the new working time directive governed working time, breaks and annual paid leave.

Workers were also for the first time offered greater protection against discrimination on the grounds of age, religion or belief and sexual orientation as well as gender, race and disability.

Do You Know Your Employer

Being a small business owner is more than a job, it is a way of life. You are on call all hours of the day, night, and weekend to handle issues, fill in the gaps, and make sure your baby is running smoothly and generating a profit. Yet between managing your clients and your bottom line, is there something you are forgetting to stay updated on? If you don’t know the latest details about employer law, then you are setting up yourself – and all your hard work – for major issues.

Employer law is the government written guidelines for how a business of any size needs to deal with certain issues like maternity leave, employing minors, verifying worker legality, paying for overtime, and providing benefits and wages. While business owners have autonomy handling many aspects of their business, the way they care for and treat their employees is monitored by the government partly to ensure employees are not being mistreated, and partly so they can get their cut.

The tricky part of employer law is that, especially over the past several years, it has been adjusted considerably; meaning just because you understood the law as it stood three years ago doesn’t mean you understand the law as it is today. What this means to you as a small business own is what you don’t know about new law could cost you in the form of penalties or even legal action. And if your business is like so many small businesses right now, unexpected fines could push you over the brink into bankruptcy.

Yet the government isn’t the only party interested in you following the law as it is outlined – employees also look to employer law as a measure of how they expect to be treated, particularly in terms of benefits. So if you are not following the most up to date employer law, the hammer that could fall on you may come from within your own organization, not the federal entity.

The problem is taking the time to be consistently up to date on the ever changing employer regulations utilizes resources and attention that you as a small business owner likely cannot afford to give. What is the solution then? The best bet is to hire a lawyer who specializes in employment law to consult with you and review your business once or twice a year to make sure you are up to date and following protocol. While it may seem like an unnecessary step, hiring a lawyer relieves you from needing to not only research employer law but also understand it and apply it to your business. A lawyer will be able to tell you exactly where and how you need to make changes and keep you from wasting your own time. Employing a lawyer to review your current situation also means you will have a legal power already familiar with your business if in fact some breach of employer law does occur and you need counsel.

Employment Law and Equal

The Industrial Revolution has brought radical changes in the working place. This historical phenomenon swept much of the world, especially Europe where it started and the Americas. One radical change it brought to the working place is the deterioration of working conditions as the number of workers or employees rose meteorically. In this regard, the government would need to pass laws protecting the rights of workers. These protective laws paved the way for the creation of modern employment law in the United States.

What is Employment Law?

The Employment Law protects employees or workers from any kind of mistreatment on the workplace. The poor working conditions that resulted from Industrial Revolution led to the creation of laws establishing fair wages, limiting the number of working hours in a week and prohibiting child labor. Other labor related laws also include laws regulating the cleanliness of the workplace, protection of employees from any kind of hazardous accidents.

Employment Laws have been passed standardizing the provision of benefits by the employers for the employees.

Employment Law includes health insurance that benefits workers if medical problems arise due to poor work condition or unsanitary workplace. In addition, Employment Law also covers protection against discrimination in the workplace based on religion, race, gender and other factors.

Let us focus more on employment discrimination laws that protect employees from discrimination in the workplace. The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) enforces several employment discrimination laws that protect employees from compensation discrimination. One of these laws is the Equal Pay Act of 1963. The passage of this law is milestone in labor history as it ensures that there shall be no wage discrimination based on sex in the workplace.

The Equal Pay Act

As stated above, this law requires that no wage discrimination shall take place based on gender. This law requires that men and women be given equal wage for the same work rendered in the same workplace. The jobs need not to be the same, but they must be essentially equal.

Further, the EPA states that it is not the job titles that matter in determining whether jobs are substantially equal but the job content. Men and women alike are protected by EPA as it prohibits unequal wages to both genders that perform a job that requires substantially equal amount of work, skill and responsibility in the same workplace and same working conditions. Pay differentials are only allowed when they are based on merit, seniority, quantity or quality of production or other factors than gender.

Need Help With Employment

Many people need advice on employment law when there is an employment issue needing to be resolved such as dismissal and bullying. In these times it is important to locate a firm specialising in this area which can work alongside you, guide you and put in place simple systems and procedures that will allow you to manage tomorrow’s problems.

Employment law requires the employer to provide an employment agreement but it is important for the employer to ensure the employment agreement is tailored to the needs of the business: Any old agreement will not do.

This is an area of law where prevention is better and cheaper than the cure or, to put it another way, it is better to know where you stand before you are standing in it! Personal grievances and claims that the employer unfairly dismissed an employee, failed to investigate a complaint of workplace bullying or stress, or failed to consult the employee about restructuring and the resulting redundancy can be prevented by obtaining good advice on employment law.

If you are a small to medium sized business you are unlikely to have inhouse advice. You need advice from a firm that understands the world of business and the difficulties of running a business. However, lawyers and advocates providing employment law services should be specialists. Your lawyer who has helped you when buying or selling your house or business is a commercial lawyer and not a specialist in employment law.

Some employment law firms act for only employers or employees: Other firms act for both. They have the advantage of knowing better how both employees and employers think when faced not only with the employment relationship problem itself but also the stress of managing it.

A lawyer or advocate specialising in employment law understands how the employment law institutions work: They know about the mediation process, the investigative process of the Employment Relations Authority and hearing process of the Employment Court. They should also know about the costs of using these processes.

Whether you are an employer or employee, when looking for a firm, see if they provide free advice. A free phone consultation allows you to assess not only whether you need further advice but also whether the person on the phone sounds like the person you need. You can also check out their websites to see if they give information through blogs and articles: They are often a good indication of the person that will be representing you.� You want to work with a lawyer or advocate who speaks plainly and can advocate passionately.

All Managers Should Attend Employment Law Training

Matt Manager would like to know why he has to attend employment law training. What does employment law have to do with Matt’s job anyway? His job requires him to make sure his employees are being productive and making money. Employment law is HR’s responsibility. Matt has no time or patience for such matters.

Unfortunately, Matt’s conclusion could not be farther from the truth. Now, more than ever Managers need to understand and be familiar with the employment laws because acting within the law, following the company’s policies and avoiding liability are all part and parcel of the manager’s job duties.

Begrudgingly, Matt Manager attends the training class and is pretty shocked by what he learns. The first part of the training deals with hiring and what he can and cannot ask the applicants he interviews. He never knew, for instance, that you could not ask an applicant if they are a US Citizen or ask a female employee if she is married or ask an employee if they are disabled. Who knew?

In fact, in many states the laws prohibit employers from asking questions about citizenship, marital status, disabilities and sexual orientation among other things. More accurately, the laws prohibit an employer from refusing to offer employment to an applicant based on the applicant’s citizenship, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, or any other protected class under federal, state or local law. Once the manager asks questions on these topics, the applicant who is not hired may claim that the real reason he was not hired was a discriminatory motive on the employer’s part as evidenced by their asking such a question and now having such information regarding the applicant.

Moving from hiring issues to the major issues that arise during an employee’s employment, Matt learns that under many state laws, he as a manager can be held personally liable for harassment that he engages in or condones under the state’s aiding and abetting law. What does personal liability mean? It means that he has to pay out of his own pocket damages awarded against him for his harassment in the workplace. In one case a manager was held personally liable for one million dollars! Matt’s ears perk up now. Matt needs to understand how to not engage in harassment himself and how to ensure his employees do not engage in harassment as well.

Matt next learns about the other major problems that arise during an employee’s employment. He learns that he can violate the employment laws by terminating an employee out on protected FMLA leave or by failing to provide a disabled employee with a “reasonable accommodation” under the ADA.

Moreover, Matt thought that if an employee was a poor performer, it would be no problem to get rid of him. Little did he realize that even at the termination stage, the employment laws control every move a manager makes. Although every state other than Montana is an employment-at-will state, he should not just fire an employee for being a poor performer without engaging in progressive discipline. He needs to warn that employee that his behavior is unacceptable and that if he fails to improve he could be subject to further discipline, up to and including, discharge. He also needs to provide the employee with an opportunity to improve before terminating him.

Matt also learns that before he can terminate an employee he better create a paper trail complete with disciplinary warnings as well as the poor performance being reflected in the employee’s performance review. Otherwise, Matt learns when the employee sues for discrimination as he ultimately will, he will be successful because there will be no documentary evidence substantiating Matt’s claims that he fired this employee because he was a horrible employee and not because the employee was too old, Hispanic and gay.

Matt comes running to HR after the employment law training thanking them for providing this valuable and enlightening training. He encourages HR to provide it to all managers at the company so they too can better understand the important role they play in enforcing the company’s employment law policies and protecting the company and themselves from liability.