Direct Deliveries Limited (DDL). which is a company that specialises in selling a variety of goods to small independent retailers has grown quickly in the last three years.
Melisa, Nigel and Penny are all employed by DDL. Harriet has recently been appointed by DDL as the first Human Resource Manager for the company and the Directors are relying on her to ensure that the company not only complies with the law but also follows good practice
Colin is the general manager who had dealt with all employee issues until Harriet was appointed. Colin had very little knowledge of general human resource management and having looked at Colin's notes relating to the issues with which he has recently dealt, Harriet is concerned about the following situations which could be potentially difficult for the company
Melisa who has been employed for three years as the receptionist at the company's Head Office had taken a number of days sick leave in the last three months.
On one occasion two months ago she telephoned to say that she was ill and did not come in to work for three days. When she returned she had a meeting with Colin in which she confessed that she had not really been ill but was too upset to come into work because her husband had left her and gone of with another woman. Colin sympathised with Melisa and decided to take no further action at that time.
Two weeks ago Melisa telephoned again to say that she was ill but Colin overheard a conversation whereby a colleague of Melisa's said that Melisa had e-mailed to say that her car had broken down and she could not be bothered to walk all the way to the station so she was staying in bed.
The next day when Melisa returned to work Colin called her into his office and immediately issued her with a formal warning for abusing the company's sickness absence procedure for both this and the previous incident he also told her that two days pay would be deducted from her next salary.
Melisa has not been into work since but has sent in Doctors notes stating that she is suffering from ‘migraine headaches'
Nigel was employed by DDL in 2003 as the warehouse manager. His job involved managing the deliveries and instructing the drivers. He could be very temperamental and on at least four occasions in the last six months Colin had had to tell him to calm down .
Three weeks ago Nigel had shouted at a driver for no apparent reason, swore at a long-established customer over the phone and come back from his lunch break smelling strongly of alcohol. Colin had called him into his office and asked him what was going on. Nigel had said " I am fed up with this lousy job, there are no prospects." To which Colin had replied, "Well, if that's the way you feel I am very pleased to let you go." He then gave Nigel four week's wages and sent him home in a taxi.
Penny was Nigel's personal assistant. She is 57 years old, and has worked for DDL since May 2005. She is not very productive as she tends to stick to traditional methods whenever possible. Colin decided that since Nigel had been dismissed Penny was no longer needed and should also go. However as he did not want to hurt her feelings he told her that new software was being introduced which he felt it would be unfair to ask her to adapt to and that she would therefore be made redundant as from the end of the month.
He told her that she would receive £2000 redundancy pay plus four weeks wages.
a Harriet approaches you, as an consultant who specialises in Employment law, and asks you for advice on the legal position of DDL in relation to the above issues
b Compare the different legal and procedural approaches to dismissal which apply in the UK with one other country / legal system of your choice