There has been a sharp rise in Employment Tribunal cases over the past year. This has undoubtedly been caused by the recession as more and more employees are seeing tribunals as a way of recouping losses they will incur if they cannot quickly find a new job. Average tribunal awards range from £8,363 (disability discrimination) to £1,526 (age discrimination).
Absenteeism has almost doubled as a result of increased stress and workload caused by the recession. The average worker is now absent from work on average nine days a year, an increase from an average of five days from last year.
The European Court of Justice has ruled that the UK’s age discrimination laws are not wrong to allow for employees to be dismissed at the age of 65. Employers can therefore continue to require employees to retire at the age of 65 or above. However, an employer will need to give an employee at least six (but not more than 12) months’ notice of the proposed retirement date. The employee must also be given the right to request to continue working. If the employee does submit such a request, the employer has a duty to consider the request and to hold a meeting with the employee. If the employer refuses the request, then the employee must be notified and given the opportunity to appeal.
If an employee resigns, it is generally a good idea for an employer to allow a cooling-off period, particularly with “heat of the moment” resignations. One or two days is generally considered to be an appropriate cooling-off period. However, if the employee’s decision to resign is considered, rather than impulsive, no cooling-off period will be necessary. Whether a decision to resign is impulsive or considered will depend on the particular circumstances of each case.
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