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FSB warns businesses to check candidates’ references

The Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is contacting its members to warn them about the scale of reference fraud directed at small businesses. The FSB and BBC1’s Fake Britain cooperated on a survey of 1,800 small firms, which found nearly one in five (17%) had discovered candidates with fraudulent references.

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Employee engagement is vital to business success

The UK could deliver up to £26bn GDP growth by better engaging its employees, a new report from the Engage for Success task force reveals. CEOs from across the UK came together earlier this month to call for every leader and manager in the economy to help tackle the UK’s employee engagement deficit by inspiring and motivating their workforces.

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Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill published

The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill has now been published and presented to Parliament.  From an employment law perspective, it includes measures to improve the employment tribunal system, as well as provisions on various non-employment matters.

Subject to Parliamentary approval, the Bill will improve the employment tribunal system by encouraging parties to come together to settle their dispute before an employment tribunal claim is lodged, through ACAS early conciliation and greater use of settlement agreements. It will also make the determination of less complex disputes quicker and cheaper for employers and employees alike, through a new ‘Rapid Resolution’ scheme.  Taking away the fear of employment tribunals will, according to the Government, give business more confidence to take on new staff.

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Government sets out proposals to amend Equality Act 2010

As part of its commitment to ease the burden of regulation on businesses, the Government has launched two consultation documents on proposals to remove certain provisions in the Equality Act 2010. There are three specific statutory provisions under the spotlight.

The first proposal is to remove the provision in the Equality Act 2010 which make employers liable for repeated discriminatory harassment of their employees by external third parties over whom they do not have direct control, such as their customers, clients or suppliers, where inadequate steps have been taken by the employer to prevent the harassment (section 40(2) to (4) of the Act). However, repealing this provision would not affect the other avenues of legal redress which an employee may potentially use if subjected to conduct that would count as third party harassment, for example, a constructive dismissal claim (where the employer has breached the implied term of mutual trust and confidence by failing to take steps to protect the employee from the offensive behaviour) or a personal injury claim (where personal injury has been suffered by the employee as a result of the harassment). In addition, if the reason for the employer’s inaction is itself related to a protected characteristic covered by discrimination law (sex, race, etc.) that can still constitute unlawful harassment even if this provision is repealed. That consultation closes on 7 August 2012.

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Employment law reforms confirmed in Queen’s Speech

The Queen’s Speech has set out the Government’s plans for the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill which, from an employment law perspective, will overhaul the workplace dispute resolution system to facilitate the earlier resolution of disputes via a more efficient and streamlined employment tribunal system.
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