As corporate staff and human resources managers, you may have encountered "tough" human resources issues. In this one-day workshop, the speaker will analyze some common HR challenges using a number of recent related court cases, and advise on how employers and HR managers should formulate legal and enforceable policies.
The workshop will cover below questions:
1. Criminal offence under the Immigration Ordinance: According to the Immigration Department statistics, in 2018, there were 283 employers or related managers prosecuted for employing illegal workers, violating sections 17I and 17J of the Immigration Ordinance. In the light of these cases, what defence measures should employers and human resources professionals implement to prevent employers, executive directors or managers from being wrongfully convicted?
2. In recent court cases, some companies sent salary adjustment invitations to employees to consult them on their willingness towards deduction of wages. However, mistakes were made during execution and the companies were held criminally liable. When consulting employees on adjustment of wages or welfare, what are the implications of these cases? How should employers ensure their conduct is legal and manage the risks?
3. How should employers handle employees taking excessive sick leave according to the law? What is the guidance from court cases?
4. Forcing employees to work on rest days is a criminal offence. Where employees volunteered to work on rest days and are leaving a company, how to ensure compliance of the law and that they will not demand compensation from employers claiming they were "compelled" to work on rest days? What is the guidance from court cases?
5. Where employees commit misconduct or tortious acts during employment, for instance, inappropriately disclosing clients' information or violating the Discrimination Ordinances, how can employers avoid "vicarious liability" under common law? What is the guidance from court cases?
6. Where an employee committed serious misconduct and was summarily dismissed, how to ensure that the court would see this as a reasonable dismissal? What is the guidance from recent court cases, including a case in Final Court of Appeal where an employee claimed 14 million dollars as compensation?
7. According to the Employment Ordinance, if there are sufficient justifications and evidence, an employer can dismiss or summarily dismiss a pregnant employee who has committed serious misconduct or breached the employment contract. In the past few years, relevant court cases, where employers won or lost their cases, have important implications on how employers should avoid criminal charges of unlawful dismissal and the violation of the Discrimination Ordinances.
8. Employers discover former employees set up a new company to compete with them. What common law principles can employers rely on to claim damages or seek injunction? In recent court cases, where the employer successfully sought injunction and claimed damages from former employees, who were convicted of conspiracy to defraud, has important implications on how human resources departments should assist employers in handling this issue.
9. How should employers legally handle suspected dishonest work injury cases or where employees constantly change doctors to dishonestly acquire work injury leave? A 2018 court case has important guidance on alerting employees to the abuse of work injury leave and sick leave issue.
10. How should employers make good use of mediation to handle employees' complaints alleging violation of the Discrimination Ordinances? How should the investigations be handled? What are the common violations of legal principles that lead to successful prosecution? What is the guidance from court cases?
11. When employing senior staff members, can employers make use of 'anticipatory breach' contract clauses in common law to reduce the risk of employees not reporting duty?
12. When formulating employment contracts, how to make good use of 'prior consent' clauses in common law to flexibly handle the amendments of salary and welfare without the need to seek employees' consent?
13. Where an employee has committed serious misconduct and the employer allowed him/her to voluntarily resign, how can the employer avoid having to compensate the employee who claims he/she was "compelled to voluntarily resign"? What is the guidance from court cases?
14. Where there is a gap of 10 days between the two employment contracts of an employee, how would the court construe and determine such gap in relation to the continuity of the employee's employment?
15. Where a frontline manager accidentally and mistakenly dismissed an employee with work injury, who is pregnant or on sick leave, what steps should the employer or the human resources department take to handle such 'illegal' unreasonable and unlawful dismissal?
16. What are the common misconduct or acts that amount to a breach of employment contract during employment or after the employee has left? How should employers handle these acts in accordance with the law? How should employers remind employees of the risk and criminal liability of violating other laws? What is the guidance from court cases?
17. Employers might face compensation claims if they fail to exercise their duty of care towards employees. In April 2019, a department head failed to exercise the duty of care towards an employee with work injury. The employee won the case and was awarded more than HK$20 million compensation. This case has implications on how human resources departments should assist employers and department heads to avoid related legal risks.
18. If a company has not met the requirements under the Employment (Amendment) Ordinance (7-13), what are the legal and financial risks? What are the possible ways of rectification? What are the strategies?