Jersey employment professionals had the opportunity to discuss honesty and integrity in the context of the workplace at a recent Carey Olsen conference.
Carey Olsen’s employment law specialist Huw Thomas led a team of guest speakers including Jersey Financial Services Commission (JFSC) director of enforcement Barry Faudemer, Norton Rose Fulbright employment law partner Catrina Smith, JACS director Patricia Rowan and Byrne Dean founder director Matt Dean.
Faudemer said that around 30–40 per cent of employment cases the JFSC saw related to honesty and integrity and the remainder related to gross incompetence. His recommendation was: ‘If in doubt, engage with the JFSC.’
Smith provided tips for minimising risk for HR professionals and what employers needed to look out for at the start of employment. She also recommended making it a positive obligation to report wrongdoing and eliminating stigma associated with whistleblowing.
The presentation delivered by Thomas included practical advice on what the immediate priorities should be when things go wrong as well as the importance of adequate disciplinary and performance procedures. He said: ‘The demands imposed by statutory and regulatory regimes on employers are constantly growing. Employers are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits that can be derived from encouraging high standards of workplace behaviour as well as the high costs of getting it wrong.’
Rowan noted that workplace culture was taking on an increasing importance for employers. With the introduction of a Discrimination Law in Jersey on 1 September 2014 and a Sex Discrimination Law in 2015, she said that employers need to assess their current practices and procedures.
Highlighting the importance of the work environment and reconnecting with colleagues to improve working relationships, Dean said: ‘Knowing where you work and what it stands for gives employees a sense of purpose.’