Can we talk? – Protected conversations at work

As part of its drive towards encouraging growth and removing some of the swathes of red tape introduced in the last ten years, the Government has announced its intention to introduce the concept of “protected conversations” into the workplace. The idea is that employers will be able to discuss the possibility of severance packages and early termination deals with staff without the fear of the staff member concerned being able to rely upon such a conversation as a ground to claim constructive unfair dismissal and then referring to the contents of the conversation in subsequent Employment Tribunal proceedings.

In many respects, this proposal is to be welcomed. It will enable small businesses to address the issue of under-performing employees in a far more pragmatic fashion provided, of course, the employee is willing to engage in such a conversation. If the employee is not amenable to a negotiated termination of employment, the protected conversation process doesn’t make dismissal any easier and the Employer is then faced with having to go through the due process of performance reviews, warnings and the like with an employee who has a pretty good idea that he is not wanted.

If you would like more information on protected conversations or, indeed, any other employment related issues, please contact John Andrews or Sarah Smith.

John Andrews