If you’re new to the recruitment industry, we know there’s an awful lot to take in when it comes to employment law. There’s always the temptation to put the dry stuff like legislation on the backburner whilst you’re occupied with the day-to-day running of your business, but it’s vital that you’re clued up on the law when hiring for the first time.

There are a number of different employer/employee relationships, and a person’s employment status affects what rights they have and what responsibilities you have as an employer.

After doing some initial research, you’ll see the better known terms popping up time and again – Statutory Sick Pay, National Minimum Wage, Statutory Maternity Leave, Workplace Pension and so on. As you’re likely to have been an employee at some point in the past, you’ll also be aware that there are minimum annual leave entitlements, notice periods and working hour restrictions, but what about the things that you don’t realise are employment law issues? This where it can get a bit complicated.

Perhaps a lesser-known requirement of employers is to prevent bullying and harassment of their employees – whether this is taking place over email, face-to-face or through social media. An employee can take legal action against an employer if they feel they haven’t taken the necessary steps to prevent them from being harassed at work.

You’re probably aware that employers are responsible for the health and safety of their employees, but did you know that this also extends to stress at work? The law says that employers are obliged to undertake a risk assessment for health hazards at work – including stress, and take action to control that risk. If an employee is persistently absent from work, then an employer must consider stress as a potential cause of this.

It’s also well within any employees rights (if they’ve been employed for at least 26 weeks) to request flexible working. Flexible working can include working from home, job sharing, flexi-time or compressed hours. By law, an employer must deal with this request ‘in a reasonable manner’ and can be taken to an employment tribunal if they don’t.

Because there’s so many facets to employment law, it’s wise to seek guidance to prevent problems before they occur. Being taken to an employment tribunal by an employee can be costly not only in financial terms, but also in reputation. Get it right now, and avoid headaches further down the line.

If you’re looking for a bit of extra information, Genus Law offer legal advice in Employment related matters, amongst other areas of corporate and commercial law. They run a number of workshops to give practical advice on legal problems. Follow them on Twitter to make sure you are kept updated about future events.