There have been several recent tribunal rulings which have highlighted the need for refresher training for employees on a regular basis. Many of the rulings centre around employee understanding and communication of company policies. Without regular training what these policies mean, businesses cannot rely on this during disciplinary proceedings.
A few months ago, in a bullying and harassment defence claim, an employer demonstrated that they had provided some training with employees. However the tribunal noted this training was over 12 months old, and therefore not viewed as current. The tribunal stated that refresher training should be done every 12 months, so that employees are familiar with and understand the policies.
In a case that has been highlighted this month, Miss Spence v Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd, Miss Spence was dismissed for calling her manager a “young idiot” in a comment on a Facebook post which Miss Spence believed to private.
The tribunal found that Sainsbury’s had various policies, such as social media guidelines, and the equality, diversity and inclusion policy which states that managers must make sure all employees understand the policy. However, Miss Spence had no training on these policies. Miss Spence also had had no conversations with her line manager outside of the disciplinary process, and yet the hearing centred around a breach of these policies.
Both cases stress the need for managers to regularly review policies with employees. Even if there is no formal refresher training, managers need to ensure that all employees know what the policies are about, and how they are applied. Keeping written records that reviews or training has been carried out is vital.
This case demonstrates that if ongoing training is not integrated into good practice, and employees are unable to demonstrate knowledge of the policies and how they apply, harsh disciplinary sanctions for breaching policies may not stand up to scrutiny.
If you feel your organisation would benefit from help, support and or hr advice regarding the drafting of policies, their implementation or training, please contact advo today.