First there was the historic BREXIT vote in June which rocked the UK establishment to its core and now Donald Trump will be elected the 45th US president after a stunning victory over Democrat Hillary Clinton. In these turbulent and uncertain times, how can UK based employers provide stability and support to their employees in the months and years ahead? This guide provides some practical considerations.
1. Provide reassurance to your team
At this time, the true impact of these seismic changes are largely unknown and this is an important message to convey. To date, notice has not been served under Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty and, in view of the British court’s decision – that the UK government could not start Brexit without parliament’s approval – this is likely to delay matters further. Therefore, for many SME employers, it is still too early to accurately assess the true impact of BREXIT at this time.
2. Provide support to EU employees
EEA employees are likely to feel particularly unnerved and uncertain about their future following the vote to leave Europe. Employers can provide immigration support/information to these employees. For example, if they have lived in the UK for over five years, they can apply for permanent residency at this time. Employers should also note that it is unlawful to discriminate against employees or candidates because of their nationality. Therefore, employers should refrain from making decisions relating to promotion and/or hiring on the basis of nationality as this could give rise to a potential and costly discrimination claim.
3. Manage any incidents of harassment in the workplace decisively
Hate related crimes have reportedly increased in the UK since the BREXIT vote. Therefore, it’s important for employers to act swiftly and follow their disciplinary and/or grievance procedure to manage any allegations of harassment or bullying (on the grounds of nationality) in the workplace. Employers have a duty of care to all their staff and such an approach would send out a clear message.
As the dust settles on the historic events of 2016, only time will show the true impact of BREXIT and the election of President Trump, who will be officially inaugurated into office on 20 January 2017.