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The Importance of Understanding Employment Law

As a small business owner, a comprehensive understanding of employment law is crucial. Too many business owners don’t put emphasis on the law – something that will trouble their businesses in the future.

Indeed, put in place to safeguard employees AND an employer against discrimination, employment law outlines the parameters for a non-discriminatory and safe working environment.

workplace safety

photo credit: theclyde

The increasing litigiousness of the modern workplace, though, means employers have to be cognisant of the potential consequences of treating employees unfairly.

However, the complexity of employment law can leave some business owners tearing their hair out in frustration.

If you are one of those who don’t prioritize on the employment law, here’s what you can do today: Read on to discover the most common grievances in the workplace and what you, as a business owner, can do to prevent them…

Sexual harassment

The law states that no one should be subjected to unwanted sexual conduct in the workplace, whether it’s verbal, non-verbal or physical. According to the Sexual Discrimination Act, sexual harassment has taken place if the act violates a person’s dignity or creates an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment.

Employees treated this way may be liable to raise a grievance, which, in the first instance, should be dealt with internally. However, if you do need further information on your obligations, employment lawyers, like the specialists found here, can offer expert legal advice.

Discrimination

Whether it’s age, disability, race, religious, sex or sexuality, employees can be subject to discrimination in various forms. However, there are two types of discrimination that employers must be aware of: direct and indirect.

Direct discrimination is where a person is treated unfavourably due to a personal characteristic (age, race, sex etc). Indirect discrimination may occur when, for example, certain criteria for a job may put other sexes, race or religions at a disadvantage. Consequently, it pays for your firm to make its anti-discrimination policy clear or consult an expert for further advice about the laws.

Health and safety

Under The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974, your duty of care as an employer means you are obligated to provide a safe working environment for your employees. You should also ensure employees have the relevant equipment to carry out their work safely and have the correct instructions and training to avoid threats to health and safety.

If an employee does raise a grievance about the company’s health and safety policy, and you’re unsure of your firm’s standpoint, it is advisable to contact an employment law specialist for further guidance.

About the Author: The article is written by Nick Brahim

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This article is one of the excellent contributions from small business owners, decision makers and professionals.

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