Change of heart on ‘time wasters’

In the past
I had a lot of sympathy for the view that time-wasters at tribunals should be

sobering moment comes when the tribunal chairman utters the words, “I agree
with you that this application is frivolous/vexatious and would be prepared to
consider any application that you may wish to make for costs”.

euphoria is tempered by the thought that, even if an award is made, the
respondent still has to collect it, probably via the county court system with a
hard-up ex-employee offering to settle at £1 a week.

Even if the
individual has obtained advice, you can be sure that the penalty will fall to
the individual and not to his or her advisers.

John Adsett



Letter of the Week

WH Smith
offers disabled hope

Like Lloyds
TSB (News, 28 November), WH Smith is also attracting disabled graduates, like
myself, on to a fast-track scheme.

The WH
Smith secondments are run by Scope for disabled graduates who have not been
able to secure employment by the normal means.

programme has been running for six years and Scope has a partnership with about
10 companies (increasing as the years go by), giving disabled graduates a
chance to gain employment experience and to help them find a job for the

The scheme
is a year-long contract under which graduates are given two six-month
placements in two companies. So far the scheme has had a 100 per cent success
rate with all graduates securing a job in one of their chosen placements.

It also
shows companies that disabled graduates have a lot to offer when given this
chance – and this is exactly what WH Smith has given me.

Being with
WH Smith has given me an immense pleasure and experience that I might not have
had the chance to do, had WH Smith not decided to give disabled graduates a
chance by joining the fast-track scheme.



WH Smith


Does sexuality really matter?

I was
incensed at the attitude of investment bank JP Morgan towards diversity in the
workforce reported in the article “Private sector now ‘leads the way’ in staff
diversity” (News, 31 October).

The bank
claimed that their decision to hold a recruitment event “specifically for gays
and lesbians” was “part of a drive to find good applicants, whatever their
sexuality”. If sexuality does not matter, why specify?

Forgive me
if I am being naive, but it has always been my perception that encouraging and
welcoming a diverse workforce is about inclusion, and not excluding any
particular social group, whether that constitutes gay people, Asian or black
people or heterosexual people. 

I am in no
way prejudiced against gay people, and I’m sure they themselves would rather be
recruited into a position because they are good at their job, and not because
they fulfil the requirements of some misguided organisation’s half-hearted
attempt at diversity management.



Beatty Rail Renewals


For beer-drinkers just read ‘men’

I was
surprised by the claim in Personnel Today’s competition “Is your firm the best
place to work in IT?” It reads, “This is a good chance for employers with good
HR policies to send a positive message to current and prospective staff.”

Good HR
policies should endorse equal opportunities. The message you are sending out
with this competition is that you believe that most IT departments are full of

definition, this usually implies the people in question are men. Certainly most
men would be excited at receiving a prize of a fridge full of beer. 

My own
close team, made up of men, would be excited but would feel embarrassed if the
IT department won something that was not shared by us all (the joy of being
part of a team).

Psychologists Press is an excellent place to work in IT but we would not
endorse what appears a subtle form of sexism.



Psychologists Press


Enlightenment north of Nirvana

McGrath is right to complain about the suitability of Harrogate as a venue for
the CIPD Conference (Letters, 14 November).

On behalf
of us all here in the North, we would like to apologise profusely for our
shabby hotels, traffic congestion, poor quality of staff, terrible overpricing
and difficulty of access. We admit openly that all these problems are totally
unique to the North – and add that we never experience any of these discomforts
ourselves when we travel to the Nirvana that is the South-East during the
course of our work for the other 11 months of the year.

My only
disappointment was that McGrath omitted to mention the incessant rain. I can
confirm this is also unique to the North and that we will try much harder next
year to direct the clouds over some less deserving people.

applause is due for his wonderful suggestion that the police close off the
roads to allow him to leave the area quicker: excellent idea – and proof that
the HR profession could never be accused of self-importance. After all, why
should the schoolchildren of Harrogate get home on time when there are HR VIPs
waiting to go home?

With all
this in mind I’d best not mention the warmth, good manners and hospitality I
found among the good people of the spa town – nor how much I enjoyed the only
event on the whole of the HR calendar that ever requires people such as Mr
McGrath to venture outside the M25.



(recruitment advertising )


Shortcomings of net recruitment

Re: “Dotcom
takes on staff on the strength of virtual interviews” (News, 21 November). This
year Robert Half International has been focusing its strategy on the
application of the Internet to enhance its recruitment processes.

I have
always been wary of sole dependence of the Internet that some recruitment
consultancies have turned to, as you simply cannot e-mail a handshake.

Internet is a wonderful medium where employers can have access to many
candidates around the world and can process information to match capabilities
quickly. But it does not provide the opportunity to measure the softer
elements, such as level of formality, attitude and individual personality which
also play an important role in whether the candidate would fit in with their
work environment.

attempt to examine these softer elements by web camera is an exciting concept
and could be a breakthrough method for recruitment consultancies to break down
global barriers and recruit worldwide.

We are also
looking at ways to transfer skills across national borders and I will be
interested to learn in six months or so how successful Virgin’s web recruitment
has been.


managing director

Half International


Tribunals keep open minds

As a lay
member of the employment tribunals I find the comments made by Thomas Kirby
(News, 17 October) out of touch.

He said
that “panels prefer paper documents to witnesses” and “having read the
paperwork tend to all but have made their mind up before the start of unfair
dismissal cases”.

Lay members
do not know the details of a new case they are sitting on until half an hour
before they sit. Further, some of the bundles we have to deal with can be up to
two inches thick. To suggest that we have made up our minds before hearing all
the evidence belittles the service we provide.

Dale JP


Comments are closed.