HR predicts contract grievances will keep it busy in year ahead

Changes to employee terms and conditions are going to be the main employment
law challenge for HR professionals in the coming year, according to the latest
research.

A survey of more than 300 senior HR managers by the IRS Employment Review
found requests for part-time and flexible working was the second greatest
challenge, and an expected increase in disciplinary and grievance cases rated
third.

The study shows HR prac-titioners are not as concerned about individual
pieces of legi-slation as much as the internal policies and procedures that
stem from these changes. Data protection dropped from second to fifth place.

Sex discrimination claims were viewed as a top three issue by less than 1
per cent, while disability discrimination was the most worrying equality issue.

While disciplinary and grievance issues are a major concern, the measures
contain-ed in the Employment Bill are not widely expected to help. More than
three-quarters of HR practitioners said the Bill would have no impact at all on
dispute resolution; 62.5 per cent said it would not affect flexible working
practices, and 71.9 per cent it would not influence fixed-term working.

Only 17 per cent thought the Bill would reduce employment tribunal cases.

Stress was also expected to stay high on the agenda, despite the recent
Court of Appeal ruling. Richard Lister, partner at Lewis Silkin, said: "We
are seeing a lot of disability discrimination claims connected with stress.
There are many ways in which stress can be brought into litigation and I don’t
think it is an issue that is going to go away."

He said other issues that would crop up in the near future included age
discrimination and the implementation of domestic works councils.

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