Previous Article Next Article Legalquestions and answersQOur company is restructuring to cope with the recent economic downturn. Weneed to make certain changes to how our work is organised and this may have aneffect on the employment prospects of some of our staff. A number of employeeshave suggested that we have to consult with them over such key issues. Is thistrue?AA new EC Directive will, progressively over the next seven years, requireemployers with more than 50 employees based in the UK to inform and consultemployee representatives on certain key issues. Thewording of the Directive has now been finalised by the Council and the EuropeanParliament and it was expected to be formally adopted by the end of March 2002.Employerswill be required to consult with employees on key issues, for example: thefinancial condition of the business; employment prospects; and proposed changesin work organisation or contractual relations (including redundancies andrestructures).Theconsultation will have to be undertaken with a view to reaching agreement, withemployee representatives having the right to a reasoned response on any pointsthey make.Thepenalties for failing to meet these requirements will be determined by thenational government, but must be sufficient to be ‘effective, proportionate anddissuasive’.TheUK has three years to adopt legislation to implement this directive. And theindications are that initially thereafter (2005), it will apply only to thoseemployers with more than 150 employees. However, after two years in 2007, itwill also apply to businesses with 100 or more employees and one year later, tothose with 50 or more.Inpractice, the new directive is likely to have a profound effect on the wayemployers take decisions which are likely to have an impact on employment.‘Management’s right to manage’ is going to be heavily qualified in the future.QWe are finding it increasingly difficult to understand the rules andregulations surrounding data protection. Particularly, over the issue ofworkplace monitoring. Will the Employment Practices Data Protection Codeclarify this or is it simply another list of regulations?AThis Code is designed to assist employers to comply with the Data ProtectionAct 1998. The first part of the Code has just been released. It deals withrecruitment and selection. The remaining parts, covering employment records,monitoring at work and medical information, will be released over the next fewmonths.Thecode should prove invaluable to employers: by adhering to it, employers arelikely to be able to prevent challenges to their data protection practices; thecode may also help employers to comply with other legislation, such as theHuman Rights Act 1998 and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000; and byfollowing the code, employers may improve their housekeeping practices,disposing of out-of-date information and improving access to filing systems. Q&AOn 2 Apr 2002 in Personnel Today Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos.