This week’s letters

Letter of the week
‘Irrational’ euro claim disputed

In the front page news story "Labour seen as high-cost party" (5
June) Shaun Tyson, professor of HR management at Cranfield, is quoted as
saying, "Employers think entry to the euro would increase employment
costs. This is irrational."

As a European HR director with employees based in seven European cities, may
I confirm what I am sure other readers with practical experience feel – that
professor Tyson is talking through his hat. He clearly runs the risk of giving
ivory towers a bad name.

David Kichenside
European HR director, Open Text Corporation

Do not see harm test as a burden

In a modern, open and trusting workplace it would be nice to think that harm
tests are not required. Unfortunately there is ample evidence that many
organisations operate in a bygone age where a job has to be done by one person
working between 8am and 6pm (I should be so lucky).

I see the test as being a commitment to flexible working rather than a
burden on employers.

Tony Rees
Via e-mail

Happy to be out of the profession

I think the CIPD has lost its way. It seems to make wonderful statements but
forgets HR and personnel actually means "people". I have had to take
early retirement due to severe depression caused by work-related stress. I had
to fight my employer for my rights over a period of three years even though I
was chronically ill and developed other medical problems due to the stress.

I contacted the CIPD to alter my membership, thinking I would be able to
transfer to its retirement register at a reduced membership fee. After 20-plus
years in personnel my career is not just a job, it is a never-ending learning

I was very disappointed to be told by the membership department that I did
not qualify because I did not meet its mem- bership status. Not only does my
employer put me on the scrap heap but so does the CIPD.

I am an affiliate member who joined in the 1980s. I have three diplomas –
business studies, management studies and employ- ment law – plus 12 years’
personnel experience as a manager. In view of recently published articles
regarding business and management versus personnel exper- ience and
qualifications for the new personnel manager roles, I would have thought I
should be allowed to join the retired register.

Why does the CIPD think only certain levels of status are worthy of being
included on the retirement register? I know of FCIPD members who do not have
the CIPD qualification. What makes them so special when I have so much
personnel experience?

HR practitioners have forgotten they are dealing with real people who should
be treated with dignity and respect. I am glad to be out of my profession after
experiencing such treatment.

Stefaney Raee
Via e-mail

Doubts over issue of references

In the On Appeal section of Personnel Today (Legal, 30 May), Richard Lister
provided a timely reminder of the duty of care when providing a reference (Cox
v Sun Alliance Life). But 22 May’s Employment Law Clinic opened with the
statement, "There is no legal requirement for the company to provide a

Really? As the same article referred to the case of Bartholomew v Hackney, I
looked up the full law report for that case (1999, IRLR 246). It clearly states
that the Court of Appeal held that, "An employer is under a duty of care
to provide a reference which is in substance true, accurate and fair".

This is not the first time I have read advice that there is no legal
obligation to provide references. This is surely unhelpful as the natural
reaction of some employers may be to decline to provide references to avoid the
pitfalls as experienced in the Cox case.

The Bartholomew case casts real doubt on the assertion that employers can
opt out of providing references. As referred to in the Employment Law Clinic,
in the case of Coote v Granada Hospitality (no 2),1999, the EAT held that it
was unlawful victimisation contrary to the Sex Discrimination Act when an
employer refused to provide a reference to an ex-employee following her
successful sex discrimination complaint against the company.

Providing a reference is more than just a moral duty.

Andrew Coley
Principal personnel officer, Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council

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