The 12 months of 2017: August

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For our 12 Days of Christmas countdown we look at the most interesting HR happenings over the last year

Addison Lee defeated in independent contractor challenge

A former Addison Lee cycle courier won a legal victory in August against his past employer after an employment tribunal ruled he was a worker and not an independent contractor. The London Central Employment tribunal decided that the man should have been entitled to rights such as national minimum wage (NMW) and holiday pay during his time at the taxi and courier firm.

Google employee fired in anti-diversity row

A software engineer was fired from Google after he published an internal memo blaming differences between the sexes for a lack of gender diversity within the tech industry. In the document, James Damore states that he believes the wage gap is a myth, that women are more neurotic than men, and that programmes focused on diverse candidates are discriminatory.

Sue Ferns, deputy general secretary of trade union Prospect, told HR magazine that this attitude is holding women back in STEM. "It is this kind of behaviour that allows the continuation of workplace a culture that is perceived as unfair and unwelcoming,” she said.

The best bits of HR magazine in August:

People-perfect workplace design

The launch of trendy, feature-filled offices such as Google’s London headquarters and the World Wildlife Fund’s Living Planet Centre in Woking are examples of firms investing in pioneering building design that puts people at its heart. August’s cover story explores how firms are making offices more employee-centric and what workspaces might look like in the future

We need to simplify recruitment language

Impenetrable ‘business speak’ discourages young jobseekers and can knock their confidence too, says Rebekah Wallis, board director, people and corporate responsibility at Ricoh UK. Recruitment websites and other job platforms need to start making it explicitly clear which roles are entry-level positions, and stop ‘talking up’ roles.

How to adopt a pet-friendly policy

Allowing people to bring their pets to work can bring benefits for both current and potential employees, says Paul Steadman, head of HR at Purina PetCare. So what’s stopping employers from adopting a pet-friendly policy?

Finding your life's balance: Work

In our regular feature Nina Grunfeld presented a wellbeing series for HR professionals. It's time to focus on yourself! Hone in on work and what’s working or not working for you with our workplace Balance Chart.

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