Election Time Considerations…
Do your employees hold political views that you or your company does not wish to be associated with, or that you or other employees find offensive?
Exercise caution if you were considering taking any action on that account as you may face a claim for unfair dismissal or discrimination on the grounds of philosophical belief. If an employee was to make a claim for discrimination on those grounds then they do not require any qualifying length of service to bring a tribunal claim. There is still debate and conflicting case law about whether political beliefs fall under the category of philosophical belief. So caution is advised.
That said, if an employee is exercising their rights to their political beliefs in a way that is creating an environment that is humiliating, offensive or degrading to others, or if they express views that are discriminatory then employers can, and should, of course intervene as they would at any other time.
Do you have to allow your employees time off work to vote?
With postal vote options and with polling booths open from around 7am until around 10pm in most if not all areas, we’d suggest that in the vast majority of cases the answer is no.
If an employee has not arranged to make a postal vote, and then finds that due to work or family commitments, they are unable to vote either before or after work, or lengthy queues to vote mean they will be out longer than their lunch break how should you deal with this?
There is no legal right to time off work to cast your vote.
That said, with such an infrequent occurrence of such importance to the country and to individuals, we advise that employers exercise their judgement according to the working hours and arrangements of your employees, particularly if your staff don’t work a regular 9-5 day, are based on client site or travel extensively for their job.
However do of course ensure that you treat all employees fairly and consistently across the business.
We suggest it may be advisable to inform employees in advance of your expectations or any flexibility you will permit in enabling them to vote.