A recent case that came before the Jersey Employment Tribunal has yielded some interesting and important considerations for employers and HR practitioners alike.
In its judgment dated 20th September 2023, in Julie Johnson and Jersey Action Against Rape, the Tribunal dismissed an application for Leave to Appeal against a previous decision not to allow a claim for unfair dismissal, unpaid wages and workplace discrimination brought by the appellant against Jersey Action Against Rape.
Jersey Action Against Rape (JAAR) is a registered charity providing an independent and confidential service helping people to recover from the trauma of sexual violence. JAAR had dismissed the applicant, who was a senior counselling professional employed by the charity following a disciplinary process initiated for failing to meet the charity’s record-keeping policies and procedures.
HR Now advised JAAR throughout the disciplinary process, which resulted in the applicant’s dismissal and our advice and performance was described by the Panel Chairman, Cyril Whelan as exemplary and having been conducted with textbook propriety.
That’s of course welcoming to hear, and an endorsement of our professionalism and skill but perhaps what’s more important in this case is the key findings that help clarify several considerations:
- Anxiety Self-Diagnosis: The Tribunal unequivocally did not consider self-diagnosed ‘anxiety’ as a disability. This decision sends a clear message, emphasising the importance of thorough, documented medical assessment and professional evaluation when defining disabilities.
- Compliance Matters: Compliance with regulatory and professional standards cannot be overstated. This case underscores the significance of regulated businesses including Finance and Care organisations, adhering to the highest industry standards, ensuring that every aspect of HR management, including HR, is conducted with the utmost precision and in alignment with established best practices.
- Excellence in HR Procedures: The Tribunal holds in high regard employers who ensure that suspension, investigation, dismissal, and appeal procedures adhere to the highest standards of expertise and best practices. This reflects a commitment to fairness and the principles of justice throughout the HR process.
We recognise that navigating intricate HR cases necessitates a unique skill set, one that not all organisations readily possess and that is where independent, qualified professionals can add real value for any organisation and especially those that don’t necessarily have in-house expertise or resource.
Recognising this, more and more clients are asking HR Now to manage the whole case from suspension/investigation to dismissal and Tribunal.
Our objective is to follow a fair and balanced procedure and at all costs reach a solution before it goes to JET. As this case demonstrates, it doesn’t always work out that way and if you do find yourself standing before the Tribunal, you want to make sure you have crossed all the ‘t’s and dotted every ‘i’ to make your case as watertight as possible.
For more information about this case or how we might be able to help you, give us a call on 01534 747559.
HR Now are the flexible alternative to owning or growing your own HR team, based in Jersey but working across the UK and other Crown Dependencies. They support business leaders and HR managers – from the smallest start-ups to the largest international corporations, across absolutely all sectors. To discuss how HR Now can help your managers to create top performing, happy teams, email Karen or Becky at HR Now.
Pictured: Becky Hill, Director, HR Now. Credit: Paul Wright Photographer