Your rights as an employer
As an employer, you will be required to protect the legal rights and responsibilities of your employees. However, it is also important to understand your own legal rights as an employer. By doing so, you can protect yourself against any potential legal disputes in the future, maintain a better working relationship with your employees and boost your company’s productivity levels. To help you do so, we have created the following guide:
All employers have the legal right to ask prospective employees certain questions about their eligibility to work for their company. For instance, you can ask candidates about their legal right to work within the country and about any mental or physical health conditions they have, which may impact their ability to perform the job at hand.
Maintaining a safe and legal workplace
Although you are required to maintain the strict confidentiality of your employees’ personal information, you have the right to carry out DBS background checks into prospective candidates in order to maintain a safe working environment for your existing employees. As an employer, you also have the right to check an employee’s immigration status if they cannot present you with their National Insurance number, a valid UK passport, or if they inform you that they have an outstanding appeal or application with the Home Office. It is important that you are aware of this legal right, due to the fact that employers found to be hiring illegal workers can face criminal charges and fines of up to £20,000!
Protecting your rights with employment contracts
It is mandatory for employees to have a legally binding employment contract with their employer. Not only will this legal document protect an employee’s rights but it will also protect you as an employer against any workplace disputes, which may occur in the future. Unfortunately, although most employers will include key clauses within an employment contract, such as rates of pay, holiday leave, and sick pay, within their employment contracts, they will often overlook important clauses, which could protect their legal rights in the long term. As such, when you prepare the terms of your employee’s employment contracts, you should ensure that you include the following clauses:
• A workplace code of conduct that outlines appropriate workplace behaviour and instances within which you will have the right to discipline or fire employees.
• A conflict resolution process.
• Whether it’s 30 days or 60 days notice, your employment contract should contain a clear process that employees and employers must follow when leaving or being dismissed.
Once both parties have agreed to these terms, this employment contract will become legally binding. Obtaining this type of legal document can prove instrumental in resolving workplace disputes in the future; a process, which will protect and uphold the legal rights of you as an employer, as well as those of your employees.