Bond Williams Professional Recruitment in Bournemouth hold regular themed HR seminars and workshop events for professionals in Bournemouth. The events focus on areas of Employment Law, Professional Development and innovations within HR. This week’s seminar focused on tribunals, specifically unfair dismissal and age discrimination. How would you defend such a case?
First, the good news. The number of people taking companies to employment tribunals has dropped by 70 per cent since July, when the Government ruled employees need to pay their own cost for bringing cases, pricing many out of the system.
But if you make an employee redundant and they have deep pockets, a grudge or (whisper it) a genuine case, what would you do?
The seminar was by Bond Williams and Frettens solicitors who are experts in business and employment law.
The role play was designed to be as accurate as possible with regards to the two-hour window.
The judge goes through the issues and chronology lays out the charges; the claimant is called first – swears in on a bible similar to criminal trials – and is then questioned by the lawyer for the firm on issues in their witness statement. In this particular scenario, the (pretend) claimant, a senior sales manager at a publishing firm was claiming unfair dismissal AND age discrimination. The (pretend) respondent was a growing company trying to modernize and introduce more IT and marketing related aspects to the claimant’s workload, and felt there was some resistance.
Four witnesses were called and cross examined — the claimant, one of his colleagues, and the managing director and sales director of the respondent firm.
There was then a short break while the judges (and audience) made up their minds. Unfair dismissal was of course agreed, the judge calling it an “easy decision”. But age discrimination was thrown out “by a whisker”.
There was then a question and answer session, making the seminar fully interactive.
A final thought from the judge. “We think the way in which the respondent has handled this case does not reflect well on their organisation.” Indeed. So firms, beware – redundancy may be an unfortunate part of business life but, handled badly, it can turn into a lengthy, and costly, process.
The Judge also said the Claimant had shown a very obvious resistance to change and had his attitude been different in the courtroom whist giving evidence, the age discrimination case would have been difficult to refute.
The seminar had excellent feedback and most of the audience agreed with the judge’s decision.
If there is a particular subject you would like to see at one of our events please do let us know as we are keen to keep the topics interesting and current.