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  • Writer's pictureKerry Thompson

Legal Landmines to Avoid: Hiring for Your Start-up the Right Way


Picture this… you've launched your amazing Start-up and now need the talented individuals to propel it forward. Recruiting can be exciting, but it's crucial to navigate the legal landscape carefully to ensure your Start-up remains compliant and sets a solid foundation for success.


In this blog, we'll explore key legal considerations when recruiting for your StartUp and provide answers to some essential questions answered by Didi Ogbo, an Employment Solicitor from our Legal partner


Key legal considerations overview to ensure your hiring process is smooth and compliant:


1. Anti-discrimination: This is paramount. Focus only on the job requirements and assess candidates based on their skills and experience.


2. Data Protection: With online applications and candidate information storage, data protection comes into play. Be transparent about how you collect, use, and store candidate data.


3. Employment Contracts: A well-drafted contract clarifies expectations for both parties.


4. Right to Work: Ensure your candidates have the legal right to work in your location. This involves verifying relevant documentation and following proper procedures.


I asked Didi Ogbo to provide some detailed information on some essential legal considerations when thinking about recruitment for your Start-up:





How can I ensure compliance with UK Employment laws and regulations?


Ensuring your StartUp is compliant with UK Employment laws and regulations is a multi-faceted approach as there are many aspects of Employment law to consider and be wary of not breaching. As a starting point and a general guide, employers should consider the following steps:


1. Employee Handbook and Employment Contracts

An Employee Handbook is a useful way in which you can communicate your policies, rules and operating standards, which comply with up-to-date Employment laws and regulations. When drafted appropriately, they can protect you against employer pitfalls such as poor procedures. Having legally robust written employment contracts in place is essential in supporting your compliance with employment law. Not only are they legally required, but they can also serve as evidence that you have been compliant with Employment law.


2. Mandatory policies

All employers need to have the following policies in place to ensure that they are compliant with UK Employment law:

Discipline/Dismissal and Grievance - It is a legal requirement that employers refer to their disciplinary and grievance rules, which apply to employees, in an employee’s employment contract. Further, the ACAS Code provides that employers should have written disciplinary and grievance policies. Breaching the ACAS Code can lead to an increase of up to 25% of any compensation awarded to an employee in an employment tribunal claim.

Health & Safety – If you have more than five employees, you are legally required to have a Health and Safety policy in place.

Equal Opportunities – The Employment Statutory Code of Practice recommends that employers implement an Equal Opportunities policy that covers all of the protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010. Though this is not a strict legal requirement, having an Equal Opportunities policy can support employers in defending a discrimination claim.


3. Take care not to discriminate!

From hiring practices to the day-to-day decisions that you make; it is vital to ensure that you comply with the law regarding discrimination and that you treat employees fairly and in a way that does not breach their right to not be discriminated against.


4. Consult qualified professionals where appropriate

Engaging legal professionals who specialise in Employment law is an easy way to ensure you are compliant with Employment law. Employment solicitors can provide you with the peace of mind that you are making legally compliant decisions. Not only can solicitors identify what steps you may need to take but can take away the burden of doing it yourself so you can focus on other business needs.


What are the anti-discrimination laws I need to comply with in the UK?


As an employer, you must not discriminate against a person on the ground of any protected characteristic (i.e. age, race, sex, gender reassignment, disability, marriage or civil partnership, religion or belief or sexual orientation), at any point in the employment relationship (from recruitment to the employment ending). Discrimination can consist of actions that are intentional, and sometimes unintentional, for example:


  • Direct discrimination (an employer treating an employee less favourably than they treat others because of a protected characteristic the employee in question holds);


  • Indirect discrimination (an employer’s seemingly neutral provision, practice or criteria which is applied to all staff places a group of people with a particular protected characteristic at a disadvantage); and


  • · Failure to comply with the duty to make reasonable adjustments for a disabled candidate or worker (for example, where an employer fails to alter a physical feature which causes a substantial disadvantage to a disabled worker).


Falling foul of anti-discrimination laws could mean that you are faced with defending discrimination claims and if claimants are successful this can be costly to employers, not to mention the reputational damage risks.


What are the key elements I should include in an employment contract to protect my business and ensure fairness for employees?


In order for an employment contract to be compliant, it must include the particulars required of the written statement of particulars of employment, under Section 1 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 and it must be provided to the worker no later than the beginning of the worker’s employment. Some of the details which must be provided include:

  • The names of the employer and the worker

  • The date when the employment began

  • The scale or rate of remuneration

  • Any terms and conditions relating to hours and days of work

  • Details of holiday entitlement and holiday pay

  • Any terms and conditions relating to incapacity for work due to sickness or injury

  • Any other benefits provided by the employer

  • The length of notice which the worker is obliged to give and entitled to receive to terminate their contract

  • The worker's job title


As well as ensuring that you provide consistent terms to all workers (unless you have an objective reason not to), you need to be careful not to treat part-time workers less favourably than full-time workers. Further, fixed-term employees also should be treated no less favourably than permanent employees.


To protect your business, you should consider including the following terms in an employment contract:-

  • Confidentiality terms to protect your data and confidential information

  • Intellectual property terms to protect your intellectual property rights

  • Post termination restrictions to protect you from ex-employees working from a competing business, poaching your staff or soliciting your clients or suppliers


The above terms need to be drafted carefully to ensure that they are enforceable, should you ever need to rely on them.


Conclusion:

As a recruitment consultant for Start-ups, it's imperative to prioritise legal compliance to protect both your business and candidates. Consulting with an employment solicitor can provide invaluable guidance, helping you navigate the complexities of employment law and avoid costly legal pitfalls. By addressing these legal considerations proactively, you'll contribute to the long-term success and sustainability of your business.


For more information about having successful and compliant recruitment process please get in touch with Kerry.thompson@redimeer.com from Redimeer Recruitment.


For employment and legal advice please contact didi.ogbo@dragonargent.com, Employment Solicitor from Dragon Argent.




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