• Employee relations in the European rail industry are undergoing transformation, with moves away from state ownership and collective bargaining at national level, a major survey has found. Key changes include falling employment levels everywhere and changes in employee status from civil service to private sector in some countries. The report was prepared by the European Industrial Relations Observatory.

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Bosses must not forget ‘learning curve loss’

• Employers underestimate the cost of high staff turnover by failing to appreciate the “learning curve loss” as a new member of staff gets up to speed, the Society for Human Resource Management states in a new report. It puts the total cost to a company of replacing a typical member of staff at more than $100,000 (£75,000) – around half of which is caused by the 25 per cent lower productivity of a new member of staff. This adds to the lost production while a post is unfilled. “A professional level vacancy in a technology company, for example, can cost the company over $1,300 (£870) a day,” according to the SHRM.

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Employees can win over unintentional age bias

• An employee can win a case of age discrimination in the US even where there is no proof of intention to discriminate, following a Supreme Court ruling. It ruled that prima facie evidence against Sanderson Plumbing Products was sufficient under the US Age Discrimination in Employment Act, overturning an Appeal Court ruling. Sanderson dismissed 57-year-old supervisor Roger Reeves after 40 years’ service and replaced him with a much younger employee, but the company said Reeves had failed to discipline employees and had entered inaccurate records. There is no age discrimination legislation in the UK, though pressure is building for such a law, to replace the code of practice.

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