CASE STUDY: SARAH CUTTING LTD
Plymouth-based Sarah Cutting Ltd is a leading contractor offering a variety of construction trade disciplines and in the last ten years has grown from a single painter and decorator to employing 30 staff. But such growth also brought significant challenges in terms of employee related difficulties, primarily around performance
The company needed to redress the balance in the organisation and ensure all employees were achieving high standards of performance, but management was shying away from challenging under-performing staff, afraid of the possibility of employment tribunals.
Insight Legal implemented the following changes:
- Introduced a new employee contract and staff handbook
- Helped management set new standards for employee performance and enforce those standards
- Equipped the company’s administrator with the knowledge and skills to follow effective recruitment, appraisal, performance management and disciplinary processes
- When employees weren't meeting company standards (despite encouragement), helped the company through the dismissal process.
By dismissing seven under-performing employees, Sarah Cutting Ltd avoided tribunal costs that could have totalled almost £60,000 (ignoring any compensation). Alongside the financial impact, there is a new culture within the company of improved performance from employees who know what is expected of them. The administrator is now doing HR qualifications to bring additional skills in house.
CASE STUDY: LOCAL GARAGE AND MOT CENTRE
An employee dismissed from garage services business for gross misconduct for acting aggressively and swearing at the owner, subsequently brought a tribunal claim for unfair dismissal alleging the reason for dismissal was his sickness absence. The company had gone to the expense of engaging an independent HR advisor to conduct the disciplinary process for them to ensure the procedure followed was fair and impartial. Despite all this effort the employee still brought a claim. Commercially it would have cost less to settle the matter but the owner of the business felt so aggrieved by the employees conduct and cheek in bringing a claim it did not want to concede. Instead it sought advice from Insight Legal.
Insight Legal took the following action in support of the owner:
- Drafted a strong response outlining the owner’s intention to contest the claim
- Won a pre-hearing review and claimant was ordered to pay a deposit
- Advised claimant there was little prospect of success and that owner would seek costs if claim was pursued further
- When claimant offered to settle, advised the owner to reject it and hold his nerve
- Claimant subsequently withdrew the claim.
While it may have been more cost effective for the owner to settle the claim from a commercial standpoint, Insight Legal supported him in holding onto the principle that he had done nothing wrong. The owner would rather have spent money on contesting the claim than pay anything to the claimant and Insight Legal was able to help him achieve the result he ultimately sought – and deserved.