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Clegg backs protected conversations

28 October 2011

From leaked documents discussing scrapping unfair dismissal rules to announcements that the qualifying period for a claim is going to be upped to 2 years, it is clear that issues around dismissing staff are high on the Government’s agenda.

This theme has continued this week with an announcement from Nick Clegg that he plans for employers to be able to have ‘protected conversations’ with employees.  These are intended to be a way of allowing potentially uncomfortable discussions about performance management and retirement to happen without fear of being taken to an employment tribunal.

Many employers would agree that at times, the ‘cards on the table’ discussion could be a sensible way of managing a particular circumstance. However, what if such discussions contain discriminatory comments? Is it the Government’s intention that the employee would then be prohibited from referring to the discrimination in a tribunal?  Whether this idea will ever be workable in practice remains to be seen.

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