Employer Rights – The Least You Should Know
Although employer rights are not stated as clearly as employee rights in law, they do exist. The principle of fair work for fair pay remains a right for employers everywhere. But what can employers do when they feel their rights are being undermined or abused?
Ways to protect employer rights include:
Maintaining good disciplinary codes
Although Disciplinary Codes should be crafted to fit the requirements and culture of the organisation, it is important they still conform to the conditions of the Law. Employees should be aware that a Disciplinary Code exists along with the nature of its contents and procedures. If an employee can show he or she was not aware of the Disciplinary Codes an employer’s position could be weakened in the event of a dispute. The answer? Make sure new employees sign a document stating they are aware of and understand the terms and conditions of employment and all the relevant codes.
Knowing your industry
Familiarise yourself with any special rules and issues that apply to your industry. For example, industrial labour law and retail labour law are both areas that have their own special requirements. Being aware of industry specific issues can often forestall problems before they arise.
Creating an effective employment contract
Sometimes, employers implement a standard boilerplate employment agreement to save time and money. While such a document may cover some areas of the law, it is unlikely to address the special requirements of the organisation. That can lead to unforeseen issues that manifest as expensive and time consuming disputes later. Alternatively, by talking to us about your unique culture and requirements, we can create an employment contract that will protect your employer rights.
The old adage “employ in haste, repent at leisure” continues to hold true. It is essential that you ask all necessary questions of potential employees at interview stage. The best approach is to assume that, if you do not ask, then the candidate will not tell you, especially if it is likely to be detrimental to the job application. Ask questions directly – just be certain the questions you intend to ask are permitted under Labour Law.
Build good relationships
Undertake to build and maintain good relationships with employees, unions and their representatives. Help them fulfil their own responsibilities by conveying the rules of the workplace and any procedures required in advance. It can also help to start communicating with these parties early on when trying to achieve dispute resolution.
Operate and maintain good records
The Labour Relations Act requires employers to keep records on matters such as collective agreements, arbitration awards, terminations, strikes, lock-outs or protest action involving an employee. These records should be kept, in their original form, for at least three years. Should any dispute arise, having the relevant documentation to hand can help support a case for the employer.
Keep expert knowledge on hand
With such a broad spectrum of labour law statutes and codes, employers do not always have a clear enough understanding of what the law requires in a given situation. Confusing legal terms and seemingly ambiguous definitions can make policy making and enforcement difficult and even risky for the unaware. The key to navigating the complexities of Labour Law lies in keeping us close for when an issue arises. Even better, is to prevent disputes with expert advice and guidance in advance so that any threats to your employer rights are minimised.