In this Internet age, news travels fast. Bad news travels even faster.
Protecting your business' reputation is therefore ever the more important, and you can bolster your chances of avoiding damage to your business' reputation with these 3 measures (of course, this is not an exhaustive list):
1) Have a clear social media policy
Plant v API Microelectronics Ltd was a case where the Claimant's unfair dismissal claim was rejected. She was dismissed over comments she made on Facebook about her employer.
The ET found that the Respondent had a clear and robust social media policy which was circulated to all the staff. This included a note to staff not to assume that comments they make on social media are private.
The policy should ideally set out the consequences for breaching the social media policy. That way, employees can't say they were caught by surprise at the way their employer handled the matter.
2) Keep your recruitment practices professional
Unless you want to be known for having managers who accidentally forward emails to the applicant which describe them as "left-wing loon tree hugger[s]", it is best to ensure that managers and those others in the recruitment process manage the process in a professional manner.
Read and weep...
3) Fighting a claim at Tribunal vs Adverse publicity
There is no way to avoid it. From February 2017, employment tribunal decisions are available online (https://www.gov.uk/employment-tribunal-decisions) and are therefore a strong magnet for negative media interest.
This doesn't mean that your organisation just capitulates at every single potential claim, but your organisation should consider the effect the public display of a loss at the employment tribunal can bring on its public perception.
Most certainly, you should get legal advice on the effectiveness and appropriateness of your staff policies. You should also obtain legal advice on the merits of defending any claim your employee (or ex-employee) may have brought. Indeed, sometimes it is worth getting advice when a grievance is raised by an employee.
Whatever the case is, we at Hedges would be happy to help.