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A recent article in the Guardian featured a pilot scheme being rolled out by the Ministry of Justice in South Wales which aimed at weaning young offenders away from crime by, among other things, introducing them to Eminem lyrics. Two recurring themes in Eminem’s work are the difficulties he faced in his upbringing and the insights he since gained from those experiences. The hope of the project is that the wayward youngsters will identify with the lyrics and be motivated to make positive changes in their lives which will steer them away from future brushes with the law, presumably into careers as multi-platinum rap artists.

employment lawyer GlasgowWe here in the Thompsons Employment Team not only applaud the noble aims of the pilot scheme, but have decided to borrow the psychology of the project to see if the same approach can be used to inspire bad employers to break their oft-repeated cycles of poor industrial relations. In this spirit, we have compiled an essential playlist for employers, designed to educate them into changing their ways…

1.    Aretha Franklin – Respect

(for the Implied Term of Trust and Confidence)

The somewhat prolix espousal of the implied term by their Lordships in Malik v Bank of Credit and Commerce is that the employer should not, “without reasonable and proper cause, conduct itself in a manner calculated or likely to destroy or seriously damage the relationship of trust and confidence”. However in law, as in feudal hierarchy, Royalty trumps nobility, and the Queen of Soul herself certainly summed up the basis of the implied term in notes both far simpler and far catchier: R-E-S-P-E-C-T, find out what it means to me.

2.    Dire Straits – Money for Nothing

(for when it comes to wage negotiations)

We didn’t think this one too far through beyond the title, and closer examination of the lyrics reveals some questionable themes, but you can see what we are getting at.

3.    Michael Jackson – Black or White

(for when you are drawing up your equal opportunities policy)

As a general point of principle, it’s never been particularly excusable to discriminate against your employees based on their race, but since 1976, it has also been unlawful. The current incarnation of this prohibition is contained in the Equality Act 2010, which also prevents discrimination on the grounds of sex, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation and gender reassignment surgery. We feel MJ’s smash hit from 1991gets the message across in terms readily understandable by most employers.

4.    M.C. Hammer – Can’t Touch This

(for when you try to alter the terms and conditions of employees who have TUPE transferred)

TUPE may become a thing of the past once the UK becomes the Hellish asteland of economic insecurity and neoliberalism we all expect it to after Brexit, but we’ll always have the memories. Such as the EU’s Acquired Rights Directive, which red ringed the contractual terms and conditions of transferring employees. But that is the future and this is now, and if you do have employees who have transferred across from another employer, just remember the sagacious advice of the culotte wearing lunatic Mr Hammer.

5.    Cliff Richard – Summer Holiday

(for when you are thinking about breaching the Working Time Regulations)

The final track on our playlist relates to another cherished employment statute of European origin, the Working Time Regulations 1998, which consolidates the various existing provisions relating to maximum weekly working time, minimum periods of rest break and, most appropriately for this little ditty, annual leave entitlement. Whether your employees, like Cliff, are planning to take Laurie Peters to Greece in a double decker bus, or even if they are doing something more mainstream, they are entitled to a minimum of 28 paid days off in which to do it.

Blog by Michael Briggs, employment lawyer Glasgow

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