Previous Article Next Article Q&AOn 2 Oct 2001 in Personnel Today Legal questions and answersQ We have a close sales team, whowork under pressure to demanding targets. There is a lot of “banter”and jokes against individuals which has always been part of their working lifeand has never been objected to by any of the team. A Welsh individual has joinedthe sales team and finds this unacceptable and has raised complaints aboutjokes which have been made because he is Welsh. We are considering terminatinghis contract as he does not seem able to work in this environment. Are we ableto do so? A Practically there isnothing to stop you dismissing him but you should be aware of certain risks ifyou do. This individual has raised grievances which you are under a duty toinvestigate fully. The banter he is subjected to during his working life is causinghim distress and is capable of amounting to racial harassment, on the groundsthat he is being subjected to jokes which otherwise he would not have to faceon the basis that he is Welsh. The Welsh are a nationality within the meaning of race discriminationlegislation and can therefore be protected against harassment. As with allcases of harassment under discrimination law it is not the motive of the peoplemaking the comments that is the guiding factor, but their subjective effect onthe individual. Dismissal in these circumstances without a full investigation and seeking toremedy the behaviour complained about would leave the individual able to claimthat his dismissal was linked to his nationality and may found the basis of arace discrimination claim against you, in addition to potential wrongful and(in cases where the employee has one or more years’ service with the company)unfair dismissal claims. Equally, where you have received complaints of thisnature and you fail to act, should he resign, he may then be able to claimconstructive unfair dismissal as well as wrongful dismissal and racediscrimination. Q We have reason to believe that an employee has been accessingpornography on the Internet during office hours. Do we have justifiable groundsto sack him? A Not necessarily. You shouldalways carry out a proper investigation and procedure, even if you consider theactions of the employee amount to gross misconduct warranting their instantdismissal. First, you need to consider what evidence you have that the employee hasbeen accessing pornography. Have you been told by other employees? Can youobtain statements from them? You may want to access his computer but you should consider first whetheryou have a communications policy that lets you do this. Remember thatgenerally, an employer does not have an “automatic” right to accessor monitor an employee’s e-mails or Internet use without consent. If you do not have a policy then, provided the allegations are serious, youwould probably be justified in checking which sites the employee was accessing.You should also check whether it has been made clear to staff that they shouldnot access certain sites. One important point to consider is what the employee has actually beenaccessing. The adage, “One man’s porn is another man’s page three” istrue in cases such as these and, ultimately, it is a subjective decision whichthe company must make. You should always ensure that a proper procedure is carried out, and thatthe employee is given an opportunity to respond to the allegations. Compiled by the legal team at Olswang, www.Olswang.com Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.
PREMIER LEAGUE*Salah on target as Liverpool hammers West Ham 4-0Manchester City got their Premier League title defence off to a winning start with a deserved victory over an Arsenal side playing their first competitive game without Arsene Wenger since 1996. Elsewhere, Liverpool got their new season campaign off the ground with a 4-0 defeat of West Ham at Anfield.Raheem Sterling put City ahead in the 14th minute when he got the ball on the corner of the box, cut beyond two players and rifled home from 20 yards.Riyad Mahrez went close to scoring on his league debut for City when his free-kick was saved by Petr Cech, who denied Aymeric Laporte from the follow-up.It was always going to be a tough first game for Unai Emery at Arsenal and they had few clear-cut chances – with Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and substitute Alexandre Lacazette shooting wide from outside the box.City were brilliant in parts – and controlled in others – and killed off the game when Benjamin Mendy, who assisted both goals, pulled the ball back for Bernardo Silva to blast in a second.Pep Guardiola’s City, who looked good in the 2-0 Community Shield win over Chelsea, were in fine form again. They only signed one first-team player – Mahrez in a £60m record deal – in the summer, and he went straight into their Premier League line-up.Sterling, who was selected on the left wing over Leroy Sane, opened the scoring when he received a pass from Mendy, making his first Premier League start since September.The England winger received the ball on the left corner of the box, beat Hector Bellerin and Matteo Guendouzi and then rifled a 20-yard shot past Cech, who must have been unsighted as he barely moved.It was his 50th Premier League goal and a good start to the season after being harshly criticised during England’s World Cup semi-final run.By that stage Bernardo and Sterling had already had shots saved by Cech at his near post.City kept pushing for a second goal that their performance deserved and went close when Arsenal’s keeper denied Mahrez and Laporte.Mahrez curled another shot just wide late in the first half. The Algerian put in a good performance on the right, and but was replaced by Kevin de Bruyne on the hour mark.Record goal-scorer Sergio Aguero should have had his 202nd City goal when he was played in one-on-one from the halfway line but he shot right at Cech – with De Bruyne free in the centre.Bernardo finally sealed the points when he finished from Mendy’s cutback.City keeper Ederson played a few nervy passes late on – although Arsenal could not capitalise – and De Bruyne almost added a third with the last kick but Cech tipped his shot over.Earlier, Mohamed Salah got Liverpool up and running as they comfortably dispatched West Ham in their first Premier League fixture of the season.The Egyptian tapped in a 19th-minute opener from Andy Robertson’s cross on his return to action for the Reds at Anfield.It took the visitors almost half an hour to fashion a chance of note as they struggled to stem the Liverpool attacking tide.Liverpool’s new goalkeeper Alisson, signed for £66.8m from Roma in the summer, comfortably saved a Fabian Balbuena header, one of only two efforts on target for theShare this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegram