Charities suffering due to costly employment tribunals

Writing in the Times and quoted on CivilSociety.co.uk (http://bit.ly/ichKQj), the HR Director of the Homeless Charity Broadway says Charities are “groaning under the burden of complying with employment law that encourages employees to misrepresent themselves as victims of bullying and discrimination whenever their poor performance or behaviour is tackled”.

My additional view is that the difficulty for many charities is that they are often run by Voluntary Boards of well meaning people. Unfortunately they do not necessarily make good recruitment decisions. Conflict subsequently arises between an appointed manager and the voluntary “masters”. The Board feel they have the right to impose in some way or ways and the appointed manager feels that he or she is undermined. The fall-out can be very costly for the Charity. What is particularly sad is that much of the cost may be borne by donations from those who originally gave money for the Charities prime purpose. We don’t give to charities to compensate dis-affected employees. I have seen several of these cases and, without assigning blame, they are most distressing for that very reason.

In my view Tribunals should have more regard for the size and administrative resources of the undertaking. Charities do not feel they can rely on this statement, which is from the Employment Rights Act. That is sad because these limited resources often come from those who give up their time for free and in good faith. That said; Charities might do well to take professional HR advice early on. DIY can be dangerous.

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