The bottom line on handling staff issues
By James Lynas
While head teachers’ jobs demand the full range of management skills, they are expert educators first and managers only second. This means school leaders can stumble when dealing with HR issues, making expensive and often avoidable mistakes. Just one case going to an employment tribunal can run up more than £30,000 in costs before any award is taken into account. With time factored in too, it is clearly worth shutting the door before the horse bolts.
In more than 20 years advising schools and as a former chair of governors, I’ve noticed a number of easy-to-avoid HR mistakes that keep cropping up. Here’s the list and what steps can be taken to avoid them.
Email is your enemy
A switched-on employee being disciplined will always make a subject access request under the Data Protection Act to flush out embarrassing communications. In one case, the request revealed that a chair of governors convening a disciplinary panel had been discussing with its members the intended dismissal before the hearing even began. The end result was that the hearing had to be scrapped and a new panel called, but the school was then on the back foot and had to settle…
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Briefings from Winckworth Sherwood
The EAT considered whether an employee who said she was too ill to resign for 18 months and who received 39 weeks’ sick pay during that period had affirmed her contract.
It is possible for employers to defend unfair dismissal claims arising from inappropriate use of social media even if the misconduct is not work-related.