The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) has suspended JD Sports from recruiting until they are ‘satisfied that workers are being treated appropriately’.
The sports retailer won’t be able to recruit at Job Centres for its warehouse in Rochdale, according to the Manchester Evening News. This comes after Channel 4 News recently exposed the ‘worse than prison’ working conditions there.
A DWP spokesman said: “We are taking these allegations seriously and have put recruitment activity with JD Sports in Rochdale on hold until we are satisfied that workers are being treated appropriately. Decision makers take into account all of the facts before applying a sanction, which includes any information provided by claimants as well as the laws around minimum working conditions.”
In a new statement JD Sports responded to the accusations by saying: “Whilst we do not believe it to be an accurate reflection of our culture, the vast majority of our people or our standards of practice and procedures, we will be launching an investigation into the implementation of our policies at our Kingsway facility.
“While we maintain that the policies and procedures in place are robust and fair, it is clear that we need to do better in their implementation. In the short-term, we intend to retrain all supervisory and security employees at the facility, as a matter of urgency, to ensure that those policies are correctly reflected across the workplace.
JD Sports added: “Our employees are vital to our business, so we take any such allegations very seriously.
“As a result, we will undertake to conduct a review of all our policies, their communication and implementation at the site, with the clear aim not only to continue the improvement of the facility, but also to think about the future structure of employment at the site for the benefit of all the people employed at Kingsway.”
Speaking to HR Grapevine, Phil Richardson, Head of Employment Law at Stephensons, says that JD Sports may have more than just their recruitment to worry about; “While the facts around this particular case are yet to be made clear, if there is any truth in the allegations against JD Sport, they may well be putting the company at risk of facing one or more employment tribunals.
“Certainly, firing an employee ‘on the spot’ for simply sitting down, without having gone through any kind of disciplinary procedure first, is likely to give grounds for unfair dismissal.”
He continues: “Clearly, JD Sport's warehouse operation at Kingsway is of a substantial size and managing it effectively would involve a considerable investment in Human Resources. Nonetheless, it is the responsibility of every organisation, regardless of size or complexity, to make sure they have adequate workplace policies in place; that they are documented and that employees understand them.
“While such policies would require financial and logistical investment, the incentive for large organisations to ‘bite the bullet’ is clear. The savings made in avoiding future employment disputes - including litigation - relieving pressures from staff absences due to stress and high staff turnover, would outweigh any initial outlay in implementing new processes.”