Reasons an Employer May Need Legal Employment Advice in Scotland
In this article, we're looking at some of the reasons an employer may need legal employment advice in Scotland.
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September 8 2023 - As the world of business and employment becomes more complex, it's not unheard of for Scottish businesses to seek legal advice from solicitors in Edinburgh to help handle a wide range of issues.
In this article, we'll be guiding you through some of the reasons an employer may need legal employment advice in Scotland in 2023.
How Employment Law Safeguards Businesses and Employees
When a business employs staff to help manage its operation it automatically assumes a number of responsibilities and obligations toward those employees.
In 2023, employment law in Scotland is becoming ever more complicated and a business - particularly one without a dedicated HR department - may find itself inadvertently breaching one or more of these laws which are designed to safeguard employees.
Why Employers Seek Employment Advice in Scotland
There are a few things which may cause an employer to seek legal advice, some of these include:
Health and Safety Guidance
All employers have a responsibility to safeguard the health and safety of its employees. This often involves providing adequate safety training, equipment and PPE where applicable, ensuring that the workplace meets safety regulations.
If an employee is injured in your workplace while carrying out duties, they may have grounds to sue if the employer's obligations have not been met. This is very much an instance where an employer should seek legal employment advice as soon as possible.
It should go without saying that, in 2023, inclusivity is essential - and is, in fact, grounded in law. If an employee feels that they have been discriminated against, this can be grounds for legal action. Such discrimination may take one of many forms with respect to refusing to hire or promote an employment on the basis of:
- Gender - Denying employment or promotion to somebody based on their gender, including gay, lesbian and transgender candidates.
- Race - Denying employment or promotion to somebody based on their race, culture or colour.
- Disability - Denying employment or promotion to somebody due to a disability (when such disability is not considered a barrier to performing the required duties).
This is an area of the employment law that businesses should pay close attention to as a discrimination case can be costly both in terms of finance and business reputation.
Redundancy and Dismissal
For most businesses, there will come a time when it is necessary to remove an employee whether that is through redundancy or dismissal due to misconduct or incompetence.
In either case, there are strict laws and processes that companies must adhere to when firing an employee or making them redundant and, failing to properly follow the correct procedures may leave an employer vulnerable to an unfair dismissal case by the employee.
These cases can often be unpleasant, time consuming and costly and may result in the company having to either reinstate the employee or pay a hefty amount of compensation.
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When hiring an employee, a contract of employment should be drawn up and signed and this document is created to lay out the obligations of both the employer and the employee. If either party breaches one or more of the clauses within this contract, this can ultimately result in litigation for which the employer may need legal employment advice.
Harassment and Bullying
These days, the law takes an extremely dim view of harassment and bullying within the workplace - including sexual harassment. Employers should always operate a zero tolerance policy on this type of behaviour as even something which may, on the surface, seem innocent can lead to legal action.
When working within your company, an employee will sometimes have access to private data, company bank accounts and / or products sold by the company. In some instances, employees choose to abuse this access by conducting criminal activities such as:
- Theft of products or equipment
- Breaching of data laws
- Fraud, including the theft of financial assets
- Leaking of private or sensitive information
In some cases, these activities will transcend employment law and move into the criminal sphere. Should you suspect an employee of committing such an offence, it's important to gather as much information and evidence as you can.
Once you have this evidence, you should seek the services of a reputable solicitor as soon as possible in order to limit the damage caused and recoup losses through legal action.
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Keeping your business in the workplace and out of the courtroom
Being an employer requires keeping a number of balls in the air at any given time and keeping on top of all of your responsibilities can be tricky. This is, however, essential if you want to maintain your reputation as a good place to work and, more importantly, avoid the financial cost and negative publicity that an employee or tribunal may cause.
If you are unable to hire a dedicated HR representative, you may want to consider outsourcing this to a third party company in order to make sure that you are operating within the law at all times.