Government to Introduce ‘Protected Conversations’

In his speech on Thursday 10th November, Prime Minister David Cameron re-iterated the Government’s plan to introduce “protected conversations” into the workplace, in order that management can have frank conversations with employees regarding performance and ongoing employment without fearing their words will be used as a basis for constructive dismissal claims.

It is intended that such “protected conversations” will not be admissible as evidence in employment tribunal proceedings.

The Prime Minister’s announcement is part of the Government’s aim to reduce red tape. Mr Cameron said ‘we will be consulting on the introduction of protected conversations, so a boss and an employee feel able to sit down together and have a frank conversation – at either’s request.’

This announcement comes as a compromise following the Government’s decision not to implement a ‘no-fault dismissal’ proposal suggested by Adrian Beecroft’s review. However, the Government has not as yet identified what conversations will be covered by this proposal. For example, it is unlikely that discriminatory conversations will be covered. It may therefore mean parts of a conversation will be protected and others not.

In addition to this, the Prime Minister also confirmed the Government will introduce fees for lodging employment claims and will also raise the qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims from one year to two years.