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PH311 Employee Law And Relations

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Case Study

Sparkling Cleaning Solutions Ltd is a contract cleaning company which has enjoyed fast growth over recent years. The company was founded in 2009 by two sisters called Jackie and Joan Sparkle. They started with three clients and a team of eleven cleaning staff. The company has grown organically since then, steadily winning new contracts, retaining existing ones and employing a few more people each month. By 2011 Sparkling employed several hundred cleaners and a team of 35 managers, sales staff and administrators in their head office. In the Spring Jackie and Joan decided to retire, selling their
company to an entrepreneur called David Hose-Cuff.
David has plans to grow the company at a much faster rate by acquiring smaller companies and merging them with Sparkling while also continuing the strategy of organic expansion. Since his arrival David has been impressed with most aspects of the Sparkling operation, but he is not happy with the way the tenstrong sales team operates. He thinks that the operation lacks coherence, that the staff do not support one another as much as they could and that there is insufficient drive, enthusiasm and hunger to attract new business. He has therefore fired the existing Sales Director and hired a more dynamic figure in the form of Frances Overshot. She has extensive sales experience and has been
highly successful in previous roles, but has not managed a team before and is unfamiliar with the contract cleaning industry.

Soon after starting Frances decided that team-building must be her first priority, and to that end she and David Hose-Cuff agreed that the sales team should all be taken away for three days to stay at a country hotel where they will undertake a variety of outdoor team-building tasks designed to help them work better together and raise their level of enthusiasm. The trip will require staff to stay away from home for two nights and to engage in a variety of challenges including abseiling, orienteering and building a raft to get their group from one side of a river to the other. Frances's partner, a former RAF officer, will be employed to run the training event.

When this plan was announced, most staff in the Sparkling sales team responded apathetically. Frances Overshot stated that everyone must attend, that no excuses would be accepted but that overtime would be paid to all to cover any additional hours that staff spent over and above their usual working
day on the programme or travelling to and from the location. While some looked forward to the course, others agreed to come because they felt they had no alternative. A third group, comprising four staff came up with different reasons for not attending and asked Frances and David to be excused. The reasons given were as follows:

Two female members of the sales team said that they could not attend because they were single parents with responsibility for young children. Their childcare responsibilities meant that they could not spend time away from home at such short notice.

A senior salesman called Richard Buff asked to be excused from attending on the grounds that his ex-girlfriend was due to give birth totheir baby that week and that he was intending to take a period of
paternity leave at the time of the training course.
A recent recruit called Yasmin Fogger stated that she was not prepared to attend because last time she went on a similar programme some years ago, it triggered a relapse of a long-term mental condition and had led to a period of stress-induced absence lasting eight months.
These requests not to attend the outdoor team development event were turned down by Fran and David. They took the view that everyone's attendance was vital for the future success of the sales team and that if they were to assent to one request then they would have to agree to all, and this would undermine the whole event.
Two days before the planned start of the outdoor development event Frances receives a formal letter signed by Richard Buff, Yasmin Fogger and the two women with childcare issues. This states that they are all withdrawing, with immediate effect, from the opt-out agreements they signed on appointment
allowing the company to require them to work in excess of 48 hours a week. The letter states that in requiring them to attend the three-day outdoor development training course, later that week, their total working hours will exceed 48. For this reason they are not prepared to attend. Fran and David decide to reject this demand too. They reply stating that all four staff must attend the outdoor programme and will be subject to disciplinary proceedings if they do not.
The training course goes ahead as planned. All staff attend and find, to their surprise, that they enjoy the experience. It seems that the aim of building the team and its enthusiasm is being met. However, on the final afternoon an accident occurs which has the opposite effect. During the final orienteering exercise Yasmin Fogger, while running down a steep slope, trips over and falls several feet. She sustains serious head injuries and a broken arm. As a result she is now in hospital and is not expected to be able to return to work for several months.

1. Using appropriate case laws, critically discuss the possible legal claims that the Sparkling Cleaning Solutions could find itself defending. 

2. You have been approached as the HR Manager to provide advice to  the new owner David Hose Cuff and his senior manager, Sales Director Frances Overshot. Critically analyse the strengths and weaknesses of each claim identified above. 

3. With consideration of the circumstances of this case, critically discuss the ways in which Sparkling Cleaning Solutions could attempts avoid potential workplace conflicts by managing its employee relations better. In your discussion, propose recommendations on which the company could use to promote good 
4 employee relations. You should justify your answer with examples of good practice from advisory or professional bodies such as ACAS and CIPD and/or from relevant case law. 
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My Assignment Help. Employee Law And Relations [Internet]. My Assignment Help. 2021 [cited 26 October 2021]. Available from: https://myassignmenthelp.com/free-samples/ph311-employee-law-and-relations/fairness-and-trust-in-the-workplace.html.

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