Business Law

BUSINESS LAW
Question 1: Advice Abbie as to whether she is obliged to use the new equipment

Abbie should not be obliged to use the new equipment because of forceful regulations in employment about harassment that are against the law. The Harassment Act of 1997 protects employees from any form of harassment from the supervisors/managers.[1] The law prohibits any form of harassment including imposition of orders contrary to employee’s consensus with the regulation. Abbie is under the protection of the Harassment Act; therefore, she is not required to oblige to the new orders. Abbie should pursue the employer according the provisions of the employment act. The Equality Act of 2010 provides platform and mechanism for employees to pursue the harasser.[2] According to the act, an employee that is subjected to any form of harassment by the employer, especially on background aspects like age, race, gender, and reassignment should pursue legal redress against the employer. This law protects employees against forms of work bullying, including assigning work descriptions that stress the employee.

In the modern employment sector, especially in private employment, harassment and bullying are becoming common problems. Forms of mistreatment are unlawful and unaccepted by the Harassment Act of 1997.[3] The employer is required to create conducive work environment that is safe from any form of harassment, intimidation, and mistreatment. These forms of mistreatment are unlawful and the employers that contravenes the law act against the policies and legislations outlined by the government. The case of Abbie is a perfect example of a form of bullying and intimidation. According to the Equality Act of 2010, bullying includes a range of activities and actions such as abuse of authority or power, which violates the dignity of an individual.[4] By trying to force an employee to an equipment that he or she is not comfortable using amounts to an act of bullying. The Harassment Act of 1997 notes that bullying includes offensive activities such insults, intimidation, and malicious acts. It is apparent that the case of Abbie is a form of intimidation and threats that seek to undermine and humiliate the victim.

The law argues that employers should not impose regulations and rules that amount to any form of humiliation and undermine the authority of an employee. Employment statutory in the UK provides the basis for respect and preservation of individual dignity through proper handling of individuals. Employment policies include the Employment Act of 2002 that requires employers to provide employments opportunities that improve workers’ careers through regular training and practice.[5] The case of Abbie works against the provisions of different employment and work statutory in the UK, hence, the employee (Abbie) should not be obliged to obstructive regulations because the law protects her against any form of humiliation and undermining actions. The law protects individual employees against abusive employers that disregard rights and privileges that employees enjoy. The Equality Act of 2002 provides ambient background of cases that protects individuals against forms of harassment.[6] The case of Abbie should be viewed as form of employee harassment because Roz, who is new in the company, is aware that Abbie, the machinist, has been using old and manual machines, despite knowledge that Abbie lacks knowledge of using modern tools and machines. Roz should initiate a process of enlisting the use of new equipment by training the machinist. This could reduce any form of stress and help Abbie adapt to the new changes. Forceful implementation of regulations violates individual freedom because employees must not be subjected to intimidation and forms of harassment and mistreatment.

The law in the UK protects individual employees that use new machines; the provisions made in the regulations of 1998 require the employer to ensure that equipment guarantee safety. This ensures that equipment is suitable to the purpose and is not subject to risks. The provisions further claim that selecting work equipment for employees should be done in regard to health standards and conditions as well as health and safety measures of employees. The regulations also require the employer to choose the equipment that suits the needs of the worker and ensure that health and safety measures are guaranteed. On maintenance and provision of instructions, the law requires all the employers to give workers the safety and health measures/manuals before they use the machine or work equipment. The regulation provides that where appropriate, the employer should provide both written and oral instructions in relation to the use of the machine. This is to ensure that the employee is protected against any form of risks. The regulation further advices employers that all the employees that either have a direct or indirect access to machine or work equipment have adequate information in terms of usage and safety measures. There should be written instructions on the use of the equipment.

According to Arnold, the guidelines on how the equipment is used in the process of production should have guidelines that outline the conditions and methods that the equipment can be used.[7] The regulations also require employers to give information regarding the foreseeable abnormal situations regarding the use of the equipment and necessary measures that should be taken if such abnormal situations occur. Importantly, the regulation directs the employers that employees who use the new equipment should have adequate experience. Furthermore, the employer should ensure that the instructions and information on the equipment are comprehensible to the employee. Regarding training, the regulation requires employers to ensure that the employees that use the machine have adequate training and experience. The regulation directs employers to make sure that workers understand methods adopted while using the equipment as well as the risks that it entails and the precautions to be taken.[8]

The regulations further direct the employers to guarantee that the supervisors and managers have adequate training for the purpose of enhancing safety and health measures. It is against this background that Abbie should not obliged to utilize the new machine. Roz has not met the requirements of this provision. She has not provided adequate instructions to ensure that Abbie understand information regarding safety and health measures of the new machine. Furthermore, Abbie has not received any form of training or experience on using the new equipment. Therefore, she lacks information regarding precautions and safety measures of using the equipment. The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations of 1998 provides measures for protection against health hazards.[9] According to the regulations, the employer must ensure that the employee that is subjected to specified risks and hazards should receive protection measures. The regulations provide that workers subjected to risks should have protective measures to minimize the effects of the hazards. Looking at the case of Roz and Abbie, it is apparent that Abbie lacks protection from specified risks posed by the equipment. Therefore, she should not be obliged to use of the new equipment. Roz should meet the regulations provided by act of 1998, including providing adequate training and protection as well as instructions and information on the safety and health measures of the machine.

Question 2: Advise Roz as to any action she can take in relation to the comments made by Dennis

Employment Act of 2002 (Dispute Resolution) provides measures and means of solving conflicts at work. The act provides statutory procedure and measures that ensure employment conflicts are resolved amicably. It highlights the means of achieving conflict resolution through statutory procedures and conflict management procedures. The act covers among other factors, disciplinary measures that cover conflicts in employment.[10] The law protects employees against dismissal without giving notice, explaining the reasons for dismissal, circumstances for dismissal, as well as right of an employee such as reception of full compensation before dismissal. The UK has placed much emphasis on workplace mediation and conflict resolution; the government initiated The Gibbons Review Team to assist it in initiating programs for legislative changes.[11] The government asked the Gibbons Review Team to find options and measures for improving and simplifying employment dispute resolution. The Gibbons Review Team recommended that the government should repeal all the traditional statutory dispute resolution procedures and find informal, flexible, and easy approaches to employment conflict and grievances.[12] The Gibbons Review Team placed a great emphasis on the need for employees, employers, and the stakeholders to find alternative methods and approaches to conflict resolution. In particular, the team argued that mediation provides the best alternative approach to conflict resolution.[13] The Gibbons Review Team recommended that mediation provide flexible, informal, and pragmatic means of solving conflicts and providing positive outcomes. The government adopted the recommendations of the Gibbons Review. Legal Acts in the UK support conflict resolution based on the mediation process.[14]

Roz should find a way of managing the conflict between herself and the manager. She should develop strategies and procedures of ensuring that the conflict between the two is resolved in an cordial manner. Roz should use the mediation process to solve the conflict. The mediation process ascertains that all parties are satisfied by the outcome of the process.[15] In the case where Dennis wants Roz to work under him while managing employees that work in the warehouse, Roz should initiate the mediation process, which will guarantee that both parties are satisfied and those working in the warehouse agree with the changes. The mediation will provide an amble process that is trustworthy by all participants in the conflict.[16] There are many ways of handling the mediation process[17]. One of the ways is using legal proceedings whereby individuals in the conflict give evidence in a court of law. In the event that the court procedure is followed in the process of solving the conflict, the court is required to maintain the confidentiality of the mediation process.[18]

Roz can use grievance resolution procedures to solve the conflict with the manager. The procedure uses the mediation process to reach amicable resolutions. This procedure starts with informal resolutions whereby Roz and Dennis try to discuss and find the solutions. In the case where they cannot reach a consensus on their grievances, they can enlist the service of higher managers. This is important because the management reach resolution by define roles and giving jurisdiction of duties.[19] Roz should try using the mediation process because it provides several advantages. Mediation gives her the opportunity to talk to the manager and express her grievances and try to reach consensus. The process will enhance a better understanding between the parties.[20]

Of significance is that mediation provides mechanisms for faster response between the parties under conflict. It will give Roz and Dennis the opportunity to solve the conflict without one of them becoming entrenched. In addition, the process will guarantee the stability of the relationship between the manager and employee. The process solve issues without involving third parties that could blow the issue out of proportion and in some cases result in subjecting them to intimidation and harassment.[21] The process further avoids instances in which the issue could slip into the public domain. Therefore, Roz and Dennis should discuss and reach consensus without infringing any party or going against the company rules.[22]

Bibliography

Agusti-Panareda, J. “Power Imbalances. Questioning.” Dispute Resolution Journal 59.2 (2004): 101-23.

Alberts, J., Heisterkamp, B., and McPhee, R. “Disputant perceptions of and satisfaction with a community mediation program.” International Journal of Conflict Management 16.3 (2005): 218-244.

Arnold J. and O’Connor, K. “How negotiator self-efficacy drives decisions to pursue mediation.” Journal of Applied Social Psychology 36.11 (2006): 2649-2669.

Arnold, J. “Mediator Insight: Disputants’ perceptions of third parties’ knowledge and its effect on mediated negotiation.” International Journal of Conflict Management 11.4 (2000): 318-336.

Barrett, J. “In search of the Rosetta Stone of the Mediation Profession.” Negotiation Journal 15 (1999): 219-227.

Barsky, A. and Wood, L. “Conflict avoidance in a university context.” Higher Education Research and Development 24.3 (2005): 249-264.

Bellman, H. “Some reflections on the practice of mediation.” Negotiation Journal 14 (1998): 205-210.

Berggren, K. “Do formal mediation programs work in the settlement of employee-employer disputes?” Schmidt Labor Research Center Seminar Research Series. (2006).

Bingham L. “Employment Dispute Resolution: The Case for Mediation.” Conflict Resolution Quarterly 22.1-2 (2004): 145-174.

Bingham, L. “Mediation at work: Transforming workplace conflict at the United States Postal Service.” IBM Center for Business and Government: Human Capital Management Series (2003).

Bingham, L. “The politics of evaluation. Lessons learned from the evaluation of workplace dispute resolution programs.” Labor and Employment Relations Association Series. Proceedings from the 59th Annual Meeting (2009).

Equality Act 2010, c.15. Web. 25 Apr. 2015. <http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2010/15/contents&gt;

Gewurz, I. “(Re)designing mediation to address the nuances of power imbalance.” Conflict Resolution Quarterly 19.2 (2001): 135-162.

Gibbons, M. A review of employment dispute resolution in Great Britain, London: DTI, 2007.

Hallberlin, C., Walker, D. and Chung, W. “Dispute System Design and Justice in Employment Dispute Resolution: Mediation at the Workplace.” Harvard Negotiation Law Review 14 (2009): 1-50.

Johnston, T. Knowledge and use of mediation in SMEs, Acas Research Paper, (2008) 02/08

Protection from Harassment Act 1997, C. 40. Web. 25 Apr. 2015. <http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1997/40/contents&gt;

Qc, B. H., & Morris, G. S. “The Employment Act 2002 and the crisis of individual employment rights.” Industrial Law Journal 31.3 (2002): 245-269.

The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 Order 1998, SI 1998/2306

[1] Protection from Harassment Act 1997, C. 40.

[2] Equality Act 2010, c.15

[3] Ibid. 40.

[4] Ibid. 15

[5] Qc, B. H., & Morris, G. S. “The Employment Act 2002 and the crisis of individual employment rights.” Industrial Law Journal 31.3 (2002): 245-269.

[6] Equality Act 2010, c.15

[7] Arnold, J. “Mediator Insight: Disputants’ perceptions of third parties’ knowledge and its effect on mediated negotiation.” International Journal of Conflict Management 11.4 (2000): 318-336.

[8] Bingham L. “Employment Dispute Resolution: The Case for Mediation.” Conflict Resolution Quarterly 22.1-2 (2004): 145-174.

[9] The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 Order 1998, SI 1998/2306

[10] Barrett, J. “In search of the Rosetta Stone of the Mediation Profession.” Negotiation Journal 15 (1999): 219-227.

[11] Bingham, L. “Mediation at work: Transforming workplace conflict at the United States Postal Service.” IBM Center for Business and Government: Human Capital Management Series (2003).

[12] Gibbons, M. A review of employment dispute resolution in Great Britain, London: DTI, 2007.

[13] Hallberlin, C., Walker, D. and Chung, W. “Dispute System Design and Justice in Employment Dispute Resolution: Mediation at the Workplace.” Harvard Negotiation Law Review 14 (2009): 1-50

[14] Bingham, L. “The politics of evaluation. Lessons learned from the evaluation of workplace dispute resolution programs.” Labor and Employment Relations Association Series. Proceedings from the 59th Annual Meeting (2009).

[15] Berggren, K. “Do formal mediation programs work in the settlement of employee-employer disputes?” Schmidt Labor Research Center Seminar Research Series. (2006).

[16] Bellman, H. “Some reflections on the practice of mediation.” Negotiation Journal 14 (1998): 205-210.

[17] Barsky, A. and Wood, L. “Conflict avoidance in a university context.” Higher Education Research and Development 24.3 (2005): 249-264.

[18] Johnston, T. Knowledge and use of mediation in SMEs, Acas Research Paper, (2008) 02/08

[19] Arnold J. and O’Connor, K. “How negotiator self-efficacy drives decisions to pursue mediation.” Journal of Applied Social Psychology 36.11 (2006): 2649-2669.

[20] Alberts, J., Heisterkamp, B., and McPhee, R. “Disputant perceptions of and satisfaction with a community mediation program.” International Journal of Conflict Management 16.3 (2005): 218-244

[21] Agusti-Panareda, J. “Power Imbalances. Questioning.” Dispute Resolution Journal 59.2 (2004): 101-23.

[22] Gewurz, I. ‘(Re)designing mediation to address the nuances of power imbalance’, Conflict Resolution Quarterly, 19.2 (2001): 135-162.

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