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Playing it safe

New employment proposals are a step in the right direction but they don’t go far enough, suggests Ronnie Fox

17 October 2012

In May 2010, the coalition government committed itself to reviewing and attempting to simplify employment laws. One of its key aims was to boost economic recovery by encouraging businesses to recruit staff. In particular, the review highlighted employers’ concerns about their ability to have conversations with employees about sensitive work issues, without fear of ending up in the employment tribunal. Currently without prejudice privilege will only protect conversations which are part of a bona fide attempt to settle an existing dispute; this can be a potential problem if an employer seeks a frank and open discussion before a dispute has arisen. Do Vince Cable’s recent proposals go far enough to address this concern?

One of the most controversial proposals initially put forward was the compensated no-fault dismissal dubbed by unions as ‘hire and fire at will’. It would have allowed micro-businesses, defined as those w...

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