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Employers warned to not take shortcuts around employment rights

We understand that businesses are having to move at speed in these uncertain economic times.  Whilst the Government sought to provide some level of support with the Job Retention Scheme, we fear decisions are being made at haste with businesses not considering the longer term consequences.  The likely outcome: an increase in litigation.

It is sadly inevitable that decisions made quickly, possibly recklessly, by businesses in the Covid-19 will mean a surge of business owners having to defend their actions and decisions in court in due course, as employees and other businesses seek to recoup lost costs.

This may apply where employers may have not considered the full process of employment rights, but it will also apply to decisions across the whole gamut of business decisions.

Our advice now is to do your best to not be part of that statistic and take care when making decisions - document discussions and decisions should you require to draw on them at a later date and make sure you have taken the relevant advice.

Things to watch out for:

●      Check and double check your handling of the furlough scheme, business grants and other governmental schemes that you may be (or not be) eligible for.

●      Check compliance and document decisions relating to reducing hours, workloads and pay.

●      Be aware of the increased risk of internal fraud as well as external fraud, as criminals seek to take advantage of the situation with teams dispersed and remote working.

●      Make sure remote workers understand the required security protocols and that there can be no breach of data, privacy, etc, particularly by inadequate hardware and software. A small amount of investment now can potentially save against unspecified future costs of a data breach.

●      Check contracts and insurance policies to ensure that you are not in breach and that you are covered, should work not be able to go ahead, you need to reduce hours or postpone projects.

●      Seek legal advice ahead of time - it is almost always cheaper to do it before you make a decision than defending your actions afterwards.

Posted on 11 May, 2020 by Ortolan

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Ortolan Legal have supported us with some very tricky tribunal issues. They are very commercially focussed and truly understand our business. They give really commercial, practical advice which supports our business.

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