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On 3 December 2021 new guidance on hybrid working that had been commissioned by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) was published on behalf of the government's Flexible Working Taskforce.  This guidance is supplemental to the guidance that has already been provided by ACAS on hybrid working.

The guidance encourages employers to consider hybrid working as a possible way forward.  The guidance states that hybrid working may be a solution to attracting and retaining talented employees. It offers practical suggestions for employers as well.  For example, ensuring that relevant hybrid working policies and practices are in place and also reviewing HR processes and training of relevant managers/employees and also examples of practical steps that the guidance recommends employers should follow.  The pandemic has demonstrated the need for employers to think flexibly and although forced upon the labour market, that flexible/home working are possible and can be advantageous to employees and businesses alike. However, it does acknowledge that this is not always possible or indeed not every employee finds hybrid working of benefit to them either.  Therefore, the wellbeing of all employees must be taken into consideration.

Health and Wellbeing has perhaps never been more at the forefront since the pandemic. The guidance further highlights the responsibilities that employers have towards their employees.  It suggests that for the health and wellbeing of their employees that it may be advantageous for employers to offer hybrid working.  The report concludes that hybrid working is evolving and as such businesses that adopt hybrid working policy must evolve with it.

If you are in of need employment advice or support please contact Annalie King, Employment Consultant Solicitor at Kerseys Solicitors, I am a click away or call away. You can contact Annalie on Ipswich 01473 213311 or Colchester 01206 584584, email or visit our website and click “Call Me Back”.  Annalie will be happy to contact you at a time that is convenient.

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The case of Gwynedd Council v S Barratt and I Hughes [2021] serves as reminder to employers that they should follow best practice even if the employer considers that the outcome would not differ from the original decision.

In the above case Gwynedd Council (the Council) decided that it would restructure schools in a particular area.  It would close a number of schools and open a new school instead.  The Council notified teachers at the affected schools that the schools were going to close and they would have a chance to apply for roles at the new school.  Those teachers that were unsuccessful in obtaining new roles at the school would be made redundant. 

The claimants in this case had applied for roles that were largely similar to the roles that they had been doing in their previous schools but were unsuccessful in their applications and were notified by the Council that they would be made redundant.  The Council failed to notify the claimants of their right to appeal.

The claimants wrote to their current schools Governing Body raising the issue that they had not been offered the right to appeal. The Governing Body apologising for the failure to notify the claimants of their right to appeal, but that any appeal by them would have been fruitless. 

The claimants then wrote to the Council notifying them of their right to appeal the decision, but the Council responded similarly to that of the Governing Body that any appeal would be fruitless. Therefore, the claimants were not offered the right to appeal the decision to make their positions redundant. 

The claimants proceeded with claims in the Employment Tribunals for unfair dismissal.  The success of their claims included the failure to follow a fair procedure in the lack of proper consultation and also declining their right for them to appeal the decision.

The Council then appealed to the Employment Appeal Tribunal where it was again unsuccessful in defending the claim.  It then went on further to appeal to the Court of Appeal. 

The Council argued a number of points before the Court of Appeal. 

The Court of Appeal did not uphold the Council’s appeal.  However, the Court of Appeal did state that the failure to offer a right of appeal in a redundancy situation does not automatically render a dismissal unfair.  It can, however, contribute to a finding of unfairness. 

It is risky for employers to take the stance of not offering an appeal where it believes that any such appeal would be fruitless.  It should be borne in mind before making such a decision that should the matter go before an Employment Tribunal the Employment Tribunal may find differently resulting in a judgment of unfairness. 

For all of your Employment Lawand HRneeds Annalie King, Employment Consultant Solicitor at Kerseys Solicitors is a click away or call away. You can contact Annalie on Ipswich 01473 213311 or Colchester 01206 584584, email or visit our website and click “Call Me Back”.  We will be happy to contact you at a time that is convenient.


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