HR Problem PageWednesday, August 11th, 2010
Here we take our weekly look at answering some of the tricky HR questions we’ve been emailed. If you have a tricky HR question you needs answering email it to email@example.com and we’ll post the best here with an answer each week.
A confidentiality problem
We have just discovered that the boyfriend of our finance director’s secretary has begun working for one of our competitors. We are therefore concerned that she may, albeit inadvertently, pass on confidential information to him that could then reach the competitor. What can we do?
Have a serious talk to her. Explain the problem that you have. Insist that you do not in any way doubt her honesty and discretion but that she might inadvertently drop something out. Then consider her reaction and recognise that both she and he would have to be either dishonest or stupid. Also the relationship may not last. You may be worrying too much but, if you still have serious concerns, I suggest that you move her to a similar grade job where she would be happy and you less vulnerable.
New evidence after dismissal
My colleague dismissed an employee strictly according to our disciplinary procedure but, in my view, on flimsy evidence. As a result the woman is claiming unfair dismissal in the Employment Tribunal. I have now discovered clear evidence that she really was guilty. Can we use this evidence in the Tribunal?
No. You will be judged by the Tribunal on the way you behaved and on the evidence you used at the time to support the dismissal. The new evidence is inadmissible. Clearly your colleague did not follow your discipline procedure strictly, or the procedure itself is faulty because, as you have evidence that he did not use, clearly he failed to investigate the issue fully.