Footballs European Super League: Three Issues Highlighted for Employers

Football has been in the headlines with the announcement that some of the top UK clubs were breaking away to start a European Super League (ESL). Whilst it wasn’t long before the plan was shown the red card and abandoned, it may have got some employers thinking about matters relevant to their own workplace.

Here’s three issues employers may be considering:

  1. What to do if there is a customer complaint about employee conduct?

Football fans made their feelings about the ESL very clear, but what if it was a customer or client who was dissatisfied with your organisation because of the conduct of one of your employees, how should this situation be addressed?

The first step will usually be to carry out a full and thorough investigation into the matter to establish the facts. As part of this an investigation meeting should usually be held with the employee who is the subject of the complaint – an investigation meeting is different to a disciplinary hearing – it is a fact finding meeting, the purpose of which is to obtain relevant facts from the employee and to ascertain their version of events.

Once the investigation has been completed it will be necessary to determine what action, if any, it’s appropriate to take. Where there is sufficient evidence to take disciplinary action, it’s important that a fair process is followed.

In outline this will involve:

  • Inviting the employee in writing to attend a disciplinary hearing, providing them with the evidence and advising them of their right to be accompanied
  • Holding the hearing – this will involve amongst other things allowing the employee the opportunity to state their case and answer any allegations that have been made
  • Giving a written outcome and a right of appeal following the disciplinary hearing. It’s important that any decision is reasonable and fair in the circumstances.

If you are concerned about possible misconduct in your organisation, it’s important to seek advice on the facts of your case before taking any action. Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd can provide you with practical advice throughout the process. It’s worth bearing in mind that if an employee has less than two years’ service it may be possible to dismiss them without first following the usual disciplinary process, however this will depend on the circumstances of the particular case, so it is always important to seek advice before taking any action irrespective of an employee’s length of service.

  1. Are there ways of protecting the organisation from departing employees?

Talk of a competing super league may have got employers thinking about how they could protect their own organisation from departing employees.

At the moment restrictive covenants can be a useful preventative tool for employers. If you haven’t heard of these before, in a nutshell restrictive covenants are clauses within a contract of employment (or sometimes a settlement agreement. Could a Settlement Agreement Help Your Organisation?) which prevent a departing employee from doing things such as taking clients or working for a competitor. In the absence of restrictive covenants, once an employee’s employment has ended, they will no longer be prevented from doing things such as using the employers trade connections, this can cause harm to a business.

If you are considering using restrictive covenants for an employee in your organisation it’s important to discuss the facts of your case with Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd first. Restrictive covenants can be a tricky area for employers, particularly if you are considering introducing restrictive covenants which you may wish to enforce rather than using them for deterrent value.

As reported last year (Proposed Changes to Non-Compete Clauses) the government has been consulting on the reform of restrictive covenants. The outcome of the consultation is awaited and we will keep you updated on developments.

  1. Should poor performance result in relegation?

One of the features of the ESL that attracted attention was that founding teams would not be relegated. In essence, not the usual penalty for poor performance… this may have led some employers to think about performance management in their organisation. If you are one of these employers here’s some things to bear in mind:

  • Set your employees up for success – ensure they are set clear and reasonable targets, are aware of what is expected of them and are given appropriate training and support

 

  • Appropriately monitor performance – this enables any issues to be spotted at an early stage in most cases making matters easier to address

 

  • Where poor performance is identified – the first step will usually be to meet informally with the employee to discuss the situation. This will involve explaining to the employee the concerns the organisation has regarding their performance and finding out if there is a good explanation for it. If there isn’t, then appropriate targets will need to be set, and the employee given a reasonable timescale to improve. They need to be warned that if they don’t improve or improve sufficiently, the matter will be formally addressed via your performance management processes.

If you would like further information on performance management or you are concerned about the performance of an employee in your organisation, please do not hesitate to contact Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd as we are happy to help. If a poorly performing employee has less than two years service, it may not be necessary to follow the usual procedures when managing poor performance, but advice should always be sought on the facts of your case before taking any action.

If you have an employment law matter you would like assistance with, please contact Kingfisher Professional Services Ltd.