July 2011



On a Need to Know Basis!

Welcome to the latest edition of Purple News, a newsletter aiming to bring you interesting information and essential updates effecting people management in your business.


In This Edition....

  • Heads Up on Employment Law
    • Equal Treatment for Agency Workers
    • The Bribery Act
    • Offensive Spam
  • Giving references
  • Employee Satisfaction
  • Rhinofacts!

Heads Up on Employment Law


Equal treatment for agency workers (1 October 2011)

The Agency Workers Regulations 2010 allows agency workers the same basic employment conditions after 12 weeks in a given job as if they had been employed directly by the end-user. In our last newsletter we stated that this was to be introduced in October and it looks on track.  If you are a company that uses agency workers on a regular and long term term (over 12 weeks) basis you should start to think about how you are to work with agencies in the future.  If there is likely to be a cost issue for you, start planning now.  According to a Jobs OutlookSurvey only 10% of Companies are prepared for the new legislation.

If you need any advice on your resourcing strategy do not hesitate to call.


The Bribery Act 2010

Originally set to be introduced in April 2011 the legislation came into force on the 1st July 2011.  The legislation is aimed at making it easier to prosecute companies who make corrupt payments.  The Act makes it illegal to offer or receive bribes and to fail to prevent bribery.

It is important to note that both British and foreign companies are covered, provided they have some operations in the UK.  The Act also applies to individuals.

It is important that Companies have adequate procedures to prevent bribery, as this will be an important defence.  Sales or bid teams should be made aware of the legislation and any policies you have around this area should be updated.

One of the reasons that the legislation was delayed was a concern over corporate hospitality and whether this was seen as a bribe.   the Ministry of Justice says: "Very generally, [bribery] is defined as giving someone a financial or other advantage to encourage that person to perform their functions or activities improperly or to reward that person for having already done so."

In March Justice Secretary Kenneth Clarke assured companies the act would be implemented in a "workable, common sense" way.

He has since assured companies that they can take clients to events such as Wimbledon and the Grand Prix, so long as the hospitality is reasonable and proportionate. 


Offensive Spam email to Client

In a recent reported case of Gosden v Lifeline Project Ltd an Emplyment Tribunal (ET) ruled that an employee who sent an offensive chain email to a colleague out of work time and from his personal computer was fairly dismissed.  The chain email contained racist and sexist material and was sent bearing the header “It is your duty to pass this on!”

Whilst the case it not straight forward the company felt that this chain email might damage its reputation as Mr Gosden worked for them.  The ET’s view was that it was not a private email and was intended to be passed on and therefore could damage the Company’s reputation.

Giving References

We are often asked about references and what should be said.  It is best recruitment practice for employers to make job offers conditional on the receipt of satisfactory references. As a result, employers often receive requests for references about their staff from other employers. Recruiting employers may request references in writing or orally. There are a number of potential obligations and liabilities that employers need to consider when they receive a reference request.

With the primary exception of references in relation to certain roles in the financial services sector (typically those regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA)), employers are under no general legal duty to provide references and are entitled to refuse requests. Irrespective of whether or not their policy is to provide references, it is important that employers take a consistent approach to this issue and treat all reference requests in the same way.

However if you choose to give a reference you must ensure that it is factual, not discriminate in any way, not defamatory or malicious.  It is best to keep to the facts of the employment, dates employment and the duties that they undertook.  If you are in any doubt let us review your practice.

Employee Satisfaction

A drop in living standards and job security has plunged workplace morale to record lows according to the latest CIPD survey.  Do you know what your employees are thinking about at this time?  We can produce a employee satisfaction survey for staff to see what they really think and what you can do to try and increase their engagement to the company.




Absence Rates

According to a survey by XpertHR absence rates have fallen from an average of 4% of working time in 2006 to 2.8% in 2010.  The highest absence rate for 2010 was found in the public sector at 3.5%.

We hope that you have found the Newsletter of interest and if you would like us to publish anything in particular in the future do not hesitate to ask.

If we can assist you in any way please contact us on 01473 402864.