You work for the organisation smallbusiness.co.uk, a consultancy which provides useful resources, for small business owners and start-ups. In addition, smallbusiness.co.uk offer free online advice in the form of news articles, guides, tips and features that can point business people in the right direction to start and run a small business.
During the course of your working week you receive the following online enquiries, which, as part of this assignment, you are required to write a response to all.
Online Enquiry 1:
I am considering making a complaint about one of my suppliers as they are constantly failing to deliver important materials on time, which is affecting the production line of my fashion business. However, I am slightly confused about the legal system, would my case be a public or private/civil case and if so, what claim would I make and how would I make it? Which courts may the case be referred to and what sort of sanctions could be imposed if my case is upheld?
Online Enquiry 2:
I am considering registering my business as a private limited company – I am currently working as a sole trader providing heating installations and plumbing services in the Solihull region. What are the benefits of setting up a private limited company, how should I do this? And how will it change my tax position?
Online Enquiry 3
I run a small design business, from a rented office space in Worcester and am thinking of taking on two staff to help me run my business, an administrator and an apprentice designer. I have not employed staff before and wonder if you can give me advice on the following: How should I decide what to pay the two staff and what hours they should work? Should this be in a formal contract for example? If so what else should I be putting in to it?
Online Enquiry 4:
I am the owner of a respected restaurant in the City Centre of Birmingham and employ around 25 staff to service front and back of house. I have a member of staff, let’s call him Phil, who has been working for me for around 3 years, and he came to see to last week claiming in the last 18 months he has been regularly taunted (in general banter) by his fellow employee’s due to his sexuality as a homosexual. He explained his discomfort with the way in which he was being treated by his colleagues, particularly those in the kitchen’s and explained the way it made him feel. He claimed that I had been aware of this ‘banter’ and should have stopped it and that he has had several conversations with his Supervisor and believes no action was taken and the taunting continued. Phil claims now that he has became depressed and unable to work, so is considering resigning, threatening that he will sue me for discrimination and also constructive dismissal. Can you explain constructive dismissal? Advise me on Paul’s legal position regarding discrimination and constructive dismissal? And let me know how I might manage situations like this better in the future please.