Aren’t you glad you aren’t trying to manage a business in India? An executive engineer, who was last in work in December 1990, a 25 year absence, has finally been dismissed in 2015!! The Engineer worked for the Indian government which had found him guilty of “wilful absence from duty” in 1992, but only now, after a 25 year absence, has the employee finally been dismissed. Even then it took the involvement of a cabinet minister to finally achieve the dismissal. According to a government statement the employee “went on seeking extension of leave, which was not sanctioned and defied directions to report to work”. According to the World Bank, India’s labour laws make it difficult to dismiss staff for any reason other than that of criminal misconduct. I’d say they’re right if a 25 year absence is anything to go by! Some states have recently made changes to the law that will make it easier for employers to recruit and dismiss staff going forward.
The Chair of any Disciplinary Hearing should be taxed by the question “How do you make sure disciplinary action is fair?”. When your disciplinary action is examined you must be able to demonstrate that any formal disciplinary action you have taken was reasonable, justified and proportionate. There is no hard and fast rule on how you should do this; it will depend on the circumstances of individual cases. Your disciplinary action should, where possible, be guided by the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary Procedures. If you are a small employer an Employment Tribunal will take into consideration the resources available to you when deciding whether it was practical for you to follow all the steps set out in the Code. However, regardless of the size of your organisations there are a number of essential elements to ensure fairness whatever the workplace disciplinary situation. Employers must: act consistently raise and deal with issues promptly and should not unreasonably delay meetings, decisions or confirmation of those decisions carry out an investigation thorough enough that the facts of each case can be established inform employees of the basis of the problem and always give employees an opportunity to put their case in […]
How many workers smell in the UK? The stats from the research by the University of Bristol into body odour helps us work out that 0.5% of the working population of the UK smell and that 109 500 UK employees should use deodorants but don’t! The study also tells us that a lucky 1 in 50 people have a gene that means they don’t produce body odour at all, and the fact that they’ve got dry ear wax is an indication that they carry this gene! Now there’s something to think about asking on your application forms!! 1 in every 200 British employees has a body odour problem which means that 6% of UK employers are likely to have an employee who smells. That’s 1 in every 17 workplaces! It’s a problem nobody likes talking about, and even fewer like working with, but it’s a problem that employers need to address tactfully rather than leave it to their less tactful employees. A survey by Australian Recruitment Employment Office found that 75% of people find it difficult to work alongside someone with bad body odour. What causes workers to smell? There’s the obvious things Not washing/showering often enough. A […]
How to tell someone they smell How to tell someone they smell is probably the job dreaded most by managers, even more so than telling people that they are redundant. Body odour or bad breath is a sensitive subject, challenging to address. It’s just as challenging for those individuals that have to work with the employee who smells. A survey by the Australian Recruitment Employment Office found that 75% of people find it difficult to work alongside someone with bad body odour, and 64% struggle to work with someone with bad breath. Remember you do need to be sensitive to the different cooking and eating traditions of different cultures which can affect body odour and the impact of fasting which can cause bad breath. An employer telling someone they smell is far less likely to back fire than leaving it to work colleagues who may be less tactful about how they deliver the message. For example, the man who took his colleague into a side room and told him that there were two people in the room, one smelled and it “isn’t me”! Or there were the colleagues who filled an employee’s locker with bottles of anti-perspirant. This approach can easily escalate into allegations […]
Can you sack someone for smelling? The short answer is yes you can sack someone for smelling but there are some sensible precautions you can take as an employer to avoid looking unreasonable. Talk to your employee. Tell them directly what the problem is and what the impact of their body odour is, as you perceive it, on the team, on clients or some other business issue. Make sure they understand what you are talking about (sometimes our embarrassment can mean we avoid being specific about issue we find difficult to address). Establish if the employee has any underlying medical condition which may mean you need to make reasonable adjustments; Hyperhidrosis is a condition typified by heavy sweating, Fish Odour Syndrome (Trimethylaminuria) is a genetic condition that makes the individual’s sweat smell like fish. Set out your expectations Set a review date Talk to the employee at least once more before commencing formal proceedings against the individual. If the employee’s odour doesn’t improve stick to your disciplinary procedure and take the matter through formal process, each time considering the appropriateness of a more severe penalty, the explanation given by the employee and the impact on the business. Each time give […]
How do you prevent employee theft is likely something you’ve already considered if you’re running a business. Maybe you’ve had to deal with an incident of employee theft. A 2016 survey by a criminal justice researcher suggested that 64% of small business owners reported experiencing employee theft. Theft of cash was the most common (40%) closely followed by thefts of products sold by the business (18%), theft of tools (8%) and theft of equipment and office supplies at 6%. Obviously theft = loss of money to the business. So how do you prevent employee theft? Don’t skip pre-employment background checks. Verify candidates’ qualifications, job history and references. Identify any gaps and check them out properly. Make your attitude to theft very clear. Employees need to know exactly what you do and do not allow at your workplace. For example, if an employee uses the copier to print programmes for her daughter’s school play, is that a theft of resources? If one of your staff borrows a tool to use over the weekend on a non-work related project, is that the same as stealing? Encourage reporting of dishonesty. Set up an anonymous means for employees to report theft in the workplace without fear of repercussions […]