She says that although sometimes things are quiet, this is interspersed by what she dryly calls “exciting weeks”. This informs both her teaching and her writing, which she undertakes extensively for the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development; she writes for their HR Inform website, which gives current advice for subscribers and must be kept completely up-to-date. Every time Case Law is reported Kathy reads the details and decides if it is relevant and whether the case must be added to the website, bearing in mind that the subscribers are ‘HR People’ and not lawyers! She also produces a monthly newsletter for the CIPD, as well as updating the CIPD subscription product ‘Employment Law for People Managers’ and CIPD ‘Law at Work’ module materials, to ensure that the programme delivered by CIPD-accredited training providers is completely relevant and accurate.
Kathy is Editor-in-Chief for an Employment Law Newsletter produced by Agora Publications. This is aimed much more at small and medium-sized businesses, is much more practical and also gives up-to-date guidance to employers. She also writes books and Factsheets for the CIPD, which again have to be constantly reviewed and updated, and when Kathy sits on Employment Tribunals she must be fully up to speed with current employment law – with so much on-going work, we feel we are very lucky to have Kathy as a colleague, and to have the benefit of her obviously valued knowledge!
Kathy genuinely finds the whole employment law arena fascinating, and remembers when she was Head of HR for a local manufacturing organisation and how difficult it was sometimes to understand and stay within the law. She recalls the company being represented by a leading barrister who supported and fostered her interest in employment law, which she regards as the bedrock of everything we do here at Aston; as she points out, resourcing, performance, learning and development and all the other areas of HR have to comply with the law, otherwise they are in trouble!
For the next year or so, Kathy’s publisher has some exciting ideas about how to further develop her employment law textbook, which is currently in its 3rd edition; there are plans for more interactive and online learning to be incorporated. Kathy is also constantly being approach to write articles and other pieces, so the next year is likely to be a busy time for her – she is constantly planning her workload about 3 months ahead.
Kathy and indeed all of us are particularly excited about plans for Kathy to do some mini-seminars on the often tricky areas of employment law for the Aston Centre for Human Resources which will perfectly complement the work ACHR already does to advise employers. Kathy points out there is a huge amount of bureaucracy that prevents employers from doing many of the things they would like to do but cannot within the law, even given the attempts by the coalition government to relieve some of this.
Although the details are still to be decided, she foresees the seminars as being invaluable in helping employers to comply with legislation but still enabling them to move their businesses forward, particularly given the speed with which employment law becomes outdated. She feel the seminars, which will take the format of workshops will be especially valuable to employers who are often nervous about employment law, which is often exacerbated by scaremongering media headlines that distort the realities of the outcomes of Employment Tribunals. She also feels they will be welcomed by busy employers by allowing them to attend for a few hours and come away with a real feel for what the government are doing and how this will impact their operations, delivered in a readily digestible style and based on real-life cases, that demonstrate the salient points and allow exploration and understanding of the points of law to develop naturally.
This format has been really effective in Kathy’s work for ACHR, working with the Goldman Sachs 10000 Small Businesses scheme in helping small businesses to update their processes and procedures to be legally compliant and we look forward to the launch of the seminar series – so watch this space!
Read more on Kathy’s profile page.