3 top tips for HR to avoid fines and penalties

Top tips for HR to avoid fines and penaltiesAs always, we are here to support and advise and, in this case, warn you about keeping your organisation safe.

Does your HR team (or those with responsibility for HR) really understand the various penalties for non-compliance? We worry that sometimes they do not.

The law is complex and it’s easy to miss something when we are dealing with the numerous and varied challenges of H&S, data protection, bribery act, employment law, and a raft of other legislation.

Tip #1 Be careful and conscious of what you commit to…

Risk Assessments – key H&S risk assessments currently being carried out by HR staff are home working, return to office and pregnant workers.

If you risk assessment has identified something that has to be done, but you haven’t got around to doing it or simply forgot that you committed to it, then you are in a serious breach of your H&S obligations. Probably worse than failing to do the risk assessment at all, as you are deliberately misleading others about having fulfilled your responsibilities.

HSE fines of up to £20K are common and in the case of serious negligence are unlimited. Directors can also be prosecuted, and workplaces closed. Be careful to do what you say you have done!

If you need support completing risk assessments, we can help.

Tip#2 Compliance is falling through the gaps

Whilst the world has been focused on the mental wellbeing of staff, who are suddenly locked down and remote working, not so much attention has been paid to the probably billions of data breaches that have been occurring through unexpected home working.

We all thought we had got pretty good at GDPR stuff prior to march but suddenly, our good practices shot straight out the window. With fines of 4% of annual revenue though, turning a blind eye to breaches is a very dangerous game to play.

Ask us about our eLearning courses – intro to GDPR and Preventing Data Breaches – a great way to bring it back into people’s attention.

The first ICO fine for a data breach after introduction of GDPR was BA who were fined over £183million. The fines are eye watering and smaller companies are not immune. Could your business afford 4% of turnover in a year like this when profits for so many have gone through the floor?

So many data breaches occur when discussing sensitive data with your doors and windows open for all passing by to hear your confidential company information. Also, flat mates overhearing sensitive calls, relatives being privy to information they previously never saw or heard. Laptops left lying around, unprotected zoom calls, people at home using barely protected Wi-Fi. The reality is that your staff are no longer protecting your business.

We have heard a lot about how much people are enjoying working from home, but isn’t it time we focused on home working responsibilities when it comes to data protection? Compliance requirements have not just gone away. You want the benefits of home working, then show us you are still protecting our business.

Whilst we mention data protection compliance here, don’t forget about other compliance requirements such as right to work in the UK for new starters (checking passports, visa requirements etc.), contracts from day one now for all workers as well as employees, declarations of conflict of interest etc.

Tip #3 Delays cost money

Another area where we see our clients exposed is where lockdown has given everyone a sense that we have permission to be late returning critical forms and information, to think that the complexities of remote working for all give us an excuse for not doing something we would otherwise have prioritised getting done.

We have seen businesses pushing to one side data subject access requests, grievances, appeals, misconduct hearings, tribunal claims. We understand that these things feel like an unnecessary distraction when so many are fighting for survival and dealing with issues around supply chain, organisational change, investor relations etc but no one has waived the penalties you will face if you fail to do what you need to do in relation to contracts, employment law and data protection etc.

Can you afford an ICO fine because you didn’t pay any attention to a DSAR? Can you afford to lose the right to defend your position at tribunal because you failed to complete the ET3? Can you afford to lose the right to manage a disruptive employee because you didn’t get around to addressing misconduct in a timely manner?

The world was pretty forgiving for a few months earlier this year, but if you think it will continue to be forgiving as we move forward you may be risking in your business more than it can afford.

Stop being complacent!

Many in our HR industry sell through fear. They tell you what the maximum fines will be and suggest that you will be facing those. That is not our intention here. At Jaluch we never sell through fear and prefer a far more pragmatic approach to life. Here we hope to shake up a bit of complacency so that you can deal with stuff that we are seeing as a business most weeks, before it comes back to bite you in the you know what!

And finally….

Whilst much of what we refer to above are fines levied by public bodies leaving you no wriggle room or control over the outcome, the endless employment disputes that crop up in workplaces do you give you much more ability to control the financial cost.

So much can be resolved if you are able to sit around a table and behave like an adult rather than heading straight into conflict mode. Act like an accountable adult and show respect and you might just be able to settle with someone for £1K today, rather than accruing £40K in legal fees and an employee who won’t settle for less than £30K because you launched straight into conflict mode. Adult conversations at an early stage of a dispute will often save you a small fortune.

If you would like some commercial, pragmatic support from Jaluch on all things ‘people’ then please do get in touch. No contract required.

Have you tried our Cyber Security eLearning? Safe Wi-Fi, preventing data breaches, staying safe from phishing and whaling attacks etc. Not enough people really understand how to protect both their business and themselves and this eLearning can support with that.

We also deliver commercial training in finance for non-financial managers, managing performance and under performance, train the online trainer, managing mental wellbeing, building credibility in HR, coaching skills for managers and developing an accountable culture. E learning, online learning and face to face all delivery options. Why not call us to see what we can support with?

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