Mistakes by Jersey employers are contributing to record numbers of unfair dismissal claims in the Island, says a Collas Crill employment law specialist.
With the news that more than 160 workers in Jersey claimed they were unfairly dismissed last year – the highest number since the Jersey Employment Tribunal began in 2005 – Collas Crill’s Colette Hunt says employers are still not heeding the need to seek advice and have the right policies and procedures in place.
She said: “While the high number of unfair dismissal claims may reflect the tough economic times we are still experiencing, particularly with so many people being made redundant towards the end of 2012 and early 2013 (and some claims arising because some redundant employees questioned the fairness of the events that led up to their redundancy), it is also the case that ever more employees know to go and seek free advice from JACS (the Jersey Advisory and Conciliation Service) about their entitlements.
“However, in my view, the most likely explanation for the highest ever annual figure of unfair dismissal claims being lodged with the Tribunal last year, is that many employers are still not heeding the need to:
1) seek advice about the type, and terms, of contracts prior to handing these out
2) have relevant and appropriate policies and procedures in place
3) adhere to their policies and procedures
4) act as a fair and reasonable employer would prior to taking the decision to dismiss
5) once dismissed, allow the employee the opportunity to appeal the decision and to follow a fair appeals process
“If employers seek advice – from an employment lawyer or JACS, for example – then it goes without saying that they should follow it. The Jersey Employment Tribunal has noted twice recently that the employer did not follow the advice that it had been given – presumably this was because they did not like hearing it and preferred instead to take a punt and see what happened before the Tribunal.”