How and when to have off the record or ‘without prejudice’ conversations was among the key topics of an employment law seminar for Guernsey’s senior executives and HR managers at Collas Crill last week.
Such conversations can be a useful way to address a dispute between employer and employee, but they can have pitfalls – particularly if the matter goes to an employment tribunal.
“People are definitely scared of getting them wrong,” said speaker Hana Plsek, “and they’re right to be. But with the right planning and advice, they can be a useful tool.”
Other tools in the HR toolbox discussed by Hana, who was admitted as a solicitor in England and Wales on 1 April, included employee references.
“Sometimes managers believe they must give a reference as a statutory requirement – they don’t – but references can and should be considered as a useful tool alongside restrictive covenants, notice periods and garden leave when terminating someone’s employment,” she said.
The seminar also considered, from an employer’s point of view, how to deal with an employment tribunal in the event that an individual’s employment was terminated fairly but they still want ‘their day in court’.
“In this scenario a tribunal appearance could prove costly both financially and in terms of an employer’s reputation,” explained Hana. “But if you have a procedure – the right procedure – and follow it, you’re in the best place you can be.”