Editor's message: Having policies in place on employee behaviour and appearance helps your employees know what standards are expected of them, in relation to their dress, use of social media or behaviour at work-related social events, for example.
Properly implemented policies can help to avoid tribunal claims against your organisation, and potential liability for the actions of an employee, such as for harassment. But legal action is clearly not your only concern; employee behaviour that comes to the attention of social media and brings your organisation into disrepute can be even more damaging.
You need to make sure your policies on employees’ appearance and behaviour do not themselves put your organisation’s reputation at risk, through being discriminatory or otherwise out of step with current attitudes. For example, could your dress code result in a petition with more than 150,000 signatures and an investigation by a Parliamentary committee, as happened when receptionist Nicola Thorp was sent home from an agency assignment with PwC for wearing flat shoes?
With the introduction of the GDPR, you are likely to have been particularly focused on data protection issues, which should include keeping on top of how employees are using your communications technology. Having policies on this can help to prevent data breaches and other unlawful processing of personal data.
Susie Munro, senior employment law editor
Updated to include information on recording obligations during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
In Hall v Weightmans LLP, an employment tribunal found that the employee's dismissal for excessive internet use discovered during a disciplinary investigation was fair and that the appeal procedure followed was "textbook".
We round up our resources that will help employers avoid problems at a work-related event, including at the Christmas or end-of-year work party. Our resources include research on employers' arrangements for celebrations over the Christmas and New Year period, to help you benchmark your organisation.
Encouraging employees to adopt a greener lifestyle is one thing, but how far can employers go in terms of building their views into policies and contracts? Nickie Pickernell considers the issues.
Nick Chronias, partner at DAC Beachcroft LLP, joins us to discuss the common issues for employers relating to social media misconduct.
How can employers prevent employees from electioneering at work? Should the workforce be banned from highlighting their political allegiances in the workplace? What if colleagues argue over opposing political views? With a general election taking place on 12 December, we look at five employment issues when politics and the workplace mix.
Updated to include dates for the 2020 Olympics and the football European Championships.
Widespread environmental protests, such as the Extinction Rebellion, are having an increasing everyday impact on employers. We round up potential issues for HR professionals who are dealing with disruption to their employer's operations as a result of climate change protests.
Banning staff from accessing emails outside office hours could harm their wellbeing rather than improve work-life balance, a study from the University of Sussex has claimed.
Updated to include information on the FCA's findings on the implementation of the rules on research unbundling.
HR and legal information and guidance relating to personal appearance and behaviour.