Valentines for employers (avoiding a harassment claim)

Orchard Employment Law

Sure it is wonderful for your staff to be smiling and happy about where the next anonymous card is going to come from but what is the difference between harmless fun and sexual harassment.

The answer is that there is no answer. One person’s idea of being romanced might be another person’s worst nightmare.

The Equality Act of 2010 gives us some guidance. It says that harassment is ‘unwanted conduct related to a relevant protected characteristic, which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating and intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual’.

In simple terms it is unwanted attention. It doesn’t matter how sweet or thoughtful a person thinks they are being when trying to woo another, if the recipient does not want this attention it may be deemed as harassment.

This means flowers, songs, special attention, touching and in one…

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Is the fear of Employment Law hindering you from growing your business?

In an age where terrifying stories are the ones that hit the headlines you can be forgiven for not wanting to employ staff. After all staff are just added costs and obligations that a small business does not need aren’t they? Or are they?

In this short article I’m going to tell you why staff needn’t be a headache, why you might find you already have employees and how they can be a benefit.

Ask yourself why you are in business. Perhaps it is because you want to be cash rich or maybe you want to be time rich. You might be fortunate enough to be both time rich and cash rich and if you are you can stop reading this article here.

However, if you are lacking either time or cash maybe staff are the solution to the problem. An extra person or two (with the right guidance) can achieve far more than you could achieve on your own, hence the proverb ‘two heads are better than one’.

Having the right staff in the right jobs allows you to relinquish those jobs you hate or are not very good at. Extra manpower can enable the business to continue to function whilst you are on holiday and this in turn will bring in extra cash as well as extra time.

You might argue that you achieve this through working with freelancers, consultants, self employed people or whatever you choose to call your team but you may just find that you have (without any intention) become an employer.

This has happened to the big boys such as Uber and Amazon so there is the possibility that you might have gotten it wrong. Regardless of the name you attach to an individual the Law can still impose a relationship on your working agreement. If you are in doubt take advice.

Besides, with the right contracts, policies and a little reassurance having staff needn’t be a headache. No one expects you to become a HR director or an Employment Lawyer overnight (unless you want to). You don’t even have to employ one.

If you would like to grow your business and remove the fear of having staff. Contact Orchard Employment Law at to see how we can help.