HR cannot rely on line managers to have a clue

HR failings over unfair dismissals are back in the headlines again, with HR defending its position over claims that it was responsible for the Whitehall failings that cost the taxpayer £628,632.

No doubt this serves as an uneasy wake-up call for HR to have an infallible knowledge of the dismissal, disciplinary and grievance procedures. And if responsibility supposedly rests with the line managers, isn’t it about time HR took full responsibility for making sure that those line managers are up to speed? A failure to take this seriously could cost your organisation in more ways than one.

If you’re shifting uncomfortably at this moment, knowing that you don’t have a sound grasp of the dispute resolution regulations, you’re not alone. Earlier this year, a survey of Personnel Today and Employers’ Law readers revealed that the tiresome three-step statutory procedures (or was that 98 steps, I hear you say) topped the list of the most awkward and complex legislation HR has to grapple with.

The good news is that the regulations are set for an overhaul – and no doubt you’ll have been following their progress in Personnel Today. But that doesn’t allow you to be dismissive about the dismissal procedures just yet.

With the repeal of the current regulations a long way off, and related cases coming thick and fast, you’ll be needing our survival guide to help you tread carefully through the nightmare that it has all become.

Pleasingly, one area where some employers are really starting to get a grip is diversity. You only have to look at this week’s shortlisted HR teams for the diversity category of our Personnel Today Awards to see what great initiatives are being developed, which extend way beyond the requirements of the law. Well done to you all. And all the more reason not to let diversity be taken away from HR.

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