HR Problems PageTuesday, January 10th, 2012
Are we entitled to search employees as they leave our premises?
If you wish to do this you must give prior warning to all employees and give a reason. Make clear that either you will search people at random and explain how they will be selected, or that you will search only if you have a suspicion of theft. Any search must be conducted in a private room by an authorised official of the same gender and must be of clothing and bags only. The employee must have a colleague of his or her choice present throughout and the person doing the search should also be accompanied. A note of the search and its result should be made and retained in a confidential file.
Be aware that if you search someone against their will you may be found guilty of assault. If someone refuses to be searched you should ask them to remain while you summon the police, but again you may not retain them against their will.
Frankly searches, or the threat of searches, do much harm to employee relations, therefore such a regime should be adopted only if security is a major issue. Better by far to employ systems to safeguard goods and confidential information within the organisation.
Employee refuses written statement
When people have been employed by us for a month we give them a written statement of their terms and conditions. One man has refused to accept his. What do we do?
The first thing is to ask why he is refusing the document. If he is unhappy with some element of it, for example the holiday arrangements, then clarify matters with him. You may find that he was promised something different at interview in which case that arrangement forms part of his contract with you. But if you cannot reach agreement on the issue you may have to terminate his employment by giving appropriate notice and offer him continued employment on the terms and conditions set out in the written statement. If however he has no argument about the contents of the statement but just will not accept it from you, tell him that you will place it in his personnel file for him to collect at any time. Write what you have told him on the document itself.