News and analysis HR news briefing t o c k
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P h o l l
1 Outside-IR35 contractor pursued by HMRC HMRC’s own tool at fault
2 Weetabix loses constructive dismissal case over bullying boss Boss believed humiliation improved performance
3 Four-day week hailed a success
Almost all the companies have kept the policy
4 Businesses face record recruitment difficulties Hospitality and manufacturing squeezed badly
5 How to spot a toxic leader HR is ideally placed to tackle toxicity
6 HR March/April 2023
Number of trans related employment tribunals soars
Employment disputes relating to alleged discrimination against transgender employees have more than doubled in the past year.
Nine cases reached decision stage at employment tribunals in 2021-22 compared with four in the previous year, according to research by law firm GQ Littler. Less than 1% of discrimination reports reach the tribunal overall.
Cases revolve around issues such as using the wrong pronouns when addressing transgender colleagues, leaving transphobic comments on social media and harassing colleagues for using toilets aligned with their gender.
Joanne Lockwood, founder and CEO of SEE Change Happen, said the increase in cases came from employers’ lack of experience with trans issues.
She said: “Not everyone has the skills and awareness around trans identities. Mix that in with the world where there’s lots of gender critical beliefs that are loud and forceful, it’s not surprising we’re seeing an increase in cases.
“Workers are genuinely confused and stuck and don’t know what to do. ”
In June 2021, an appeal tribunal ruled that gender critical beliefs can qualify for protection from discrimination under the Equality Act 2010.
Caroline Baker, partner at GQ Littler, said: “In cases where employees share beliefs that are at odds with one another, employers are advised to tread carefully. The focus should not be on the belief itself, but on the actions taken that stem from that particular belief.”
Businesses face record recruitment difficulties
UK firms are facing the highest level of recruitment difficulties on record, according to new British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) research.
Data from its Quarterly Recruitment Outlook for 2022 found 82% of organisations reported recruitment difficulties in Q4, up from 76% in Q3.
Firms in the hospitality sector were most likely (87%) to face challenges when recruiting, closely followed by manufacturing (85%), construction, professional services, public, education and the health sector (83%).
Simon Tetley, head of talent at hotelier Lore Group, said the hospitality sector was struggling.
He said: “A large proportion of the skilled EU workforce that kept hospitality thriving either le the UK or changed industry during the pandemic. The strict immigration rules that came with Brexit makes it difficult and expensive to hire from the EU, coupled with the distorted view in the UK that hospitality isn’t a viable career path.”
Recruitment pressures varied depending on sector – 73% of construction sector firms surveyed had difficulties in finding skilled manual or technical workers, whereas 70% of hospitality firms faced difficulties finding semi-skilled or unskilled workers.
Harvey Francis, chief people officer at construction company Skanska, said the turbulence in the talent market would settle down, but long-term pressures could not be ignored: “The early exit from the workforce of the over-50s is a structural change in the employment marketplace, which will require a structural response in order to keep people working and attract back those who have le .”