1. Last month Paul was sacked from his job as a sales assistant in a large
department store located in central London. He had worked in the store on a full-
time basis for four years. He blames himself for the dismissal and thinks that he
probably deserved to be sacked given his conduct. He had reported for duty one
afternoon having drunk four pints of strong ale in a pub at lunch time. He had then
apparently sworn loudly at a colleague in front of several customers. When
reprimanded about this incident by the floor manager Paul had sworn at him and
was seen punching him on the left jaw. He had been summarily dismissed there
and then without notice.
To his surprise Paul has found out from a friend that his dismissal might in fact be
classed in law as being unfair. He thus completes the relevant documentation and
sends an unfair dismissal claim to his local Employment Tribunal Office.
Assume that you are the HR Manager in the store at which Paul was employed.
When Paul's unfair dismissal claim is received the General Manager asks your
Explain what course of action the organisation should have taken to comply
with UK law. What should have been done in terms of procedure?
Recommend the best course of action to be taken by the department store
2. You are hired to work as an HR manager by a Canadian hotel company
(Sleepwell Holdings) that is taking over a chain of motel-style operations in the UK
for the first time. The estate consists of five 100-room units. Existing staff
turnover levels are high. Staff are now being sought through recruitment
advertisements placed in local newspapers and at job centres.
The company has been highly successful in Canada by keeping staffing costs to a
minimum, despite paying reasonably high hourly rates. A key feature of its HR
strategy has been its policy of hiring staff to undertake a number of different
operational roles (room attendant, receptionist, bar worker, waiter, ground staff
etc). This has enabled it to operate more flexibly than its rivals, deploying staff as
and when they are needed. Management are obviously keen to adopt the same
highly flexible working practices in its new UK operations.
In Canada efficiency has been substantially enhanced by providing staff with live-
in accommodation within the motels. The major reasons are as follows:
- Because staff do not have to commute to work, they can be employed on split shifts (for example, four hours in the morning and four hours in the evening). This means that they can be deployed when the motels are at their busiest.
- An on-call system can be operated. Off-duty staff are designated as being 'on-call' for certain periods of the week. During this time they must not leave the premises and can be called upon to work for short periods if the motel suddenly gets very busy.
- School leavers are particularly attracted to the jobs that Sleepwell offers because accommodation is provided. The company prefers to employ younger people because it finds that their lifestyles permit them to work more flexibly than older people with family commitments.
- Sleepwell finds that it is far easier to staff their motels late at night and early in the morning where live-in accommodation is provided.
- A completely revised pay structure is being introduced for all new recruits. Hourly rates will be lower than for existing staff, but there will be opportunities for outstanding staff to earn more.
- In Canada strict attendance requirements are enforced and there is no scope for managers to sanction requests for greater flexible working.
You are charged with the task of adapting these established Canadian practices
for use in the five new UK motels. You want to maintain as many of the Canadian
approaches as you can, while also ensuring that the company complies with the
Working Time Regulations, Equal pay law and family friendly entitlements.
In which areas is there a potential clash between established company
policy and these legal requirements? What steps might the company be
able to take in order to reconcile these differences? Write a short paper for
Sleepwell's Operations Director setting out the options and justifying your
3. The Cleansing Services Division at an international airport is about to be
contracted out to a specialised private sector provider. 250 staff are currently
employed as cleaners directly by the airport. Most are employees with several
years’ service. The new contractor intends to run the Cleansing Services Division
with a considerably lower number of staff.
You work in the HR department at the international airport, where you look after
staffing issues in the Cleansing Services Division. You are asked to advise your
manager about the following:
- What consultation needs to be carried out with the staff prior to the outsourcing of the division? What further questions from staff are likely to be asked concerning their legal rights?
- What information, if any, needs to be provided to the contractor who will be employing the staff in the future which will assist it in planning a redundancy programme?
- Sorting out the problem of the ‘left over rump’ prior to the completion of the contracted out procedure.