Employment Law – New Legislation – Age Discrimination and Maternity

On 9th March 2006, the government in the UK published the final draft of one of the most important pieces of employment legislation since the 1970s. This legislation came into force on the 1st October 2006.The legislation applies to employees of all ages, at any point during the employment relationship (from recruitment to retirement) and provides for the following:§ It will effectively outlaw discrimination on the grounds of age.§ It will outlaw victimisation and harassment on the grounds of age.However, it will also provide a new defence for discrimination: the defence of justification. If it can be shown that the discrimination was a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim, then an employer can use this defence against a claim brought against him. Interestingly, it should be noted that the government has removed all guidance on what constitutes a justification defence, but it has made it clear that a very high standard of proof is expected.In addition, the age cap for claiming Unfair Dismissal has been removed, meaning that those over the age of 65 will be able to make such claims. Also, a retirement age of 65 has been set. Any dismissal for retirement at an earlier age will be deemed unlawful unless justified fully. Retirement at 65 will only be lawful if the correct procedure, which includes a ‘duty to consider a request to continue work’, has been followed.This process starts with a letter to the employee at least 6 months prior to the intended retirement date of the employee. The employee may then ask the employer to consider allowing him to stay on (this is the ‘duty to consider a request to continue work’) and the employer must subsequently hold a consultation meeting with him to discuss the employee’s future. It is also interesting to note that employees will be able to bring claims of discrimination in all areas of employment including recruitment, benefits, pension provision, promotion and training, as well as dismissal. Also, this is not just a matter relevant to older employees: the discrimination against any age group will be caught by the new Regulations. Commentators have said that the introduction of these Regulations is arguably the biggest event in Employment Law in the last 10 years, and requires a complete overhaul of all personnel policies, including Health Insurance and Retirement Ages.In addition, to the new rules relating to age discrimination, there are also new rules relating to maternity leave which came into force at the same time. The main change which affects employers is that the distinction between ‘Ordinary’ and ‘Additional’ maternity leave has diminished.This effectively means that any pregnant employee, regardless of her length of service, will be entitled to a full year of maternity leave. The only differences which remain between the two forms of maternity leave are some slightly different rights on returning to work, but these depend on the length of leave taken by the employee.The law used to stipulate that if employees wanted to return early from Maternity Leave, they only had to give 4 weeks of notice. In order to assist the employer, that has now been extended to 8 weeks notice. It has been commented that one of the main difficulties for both the employer and the employee during maternity leave is that of keeping up to date with important events and work back at the office. The new Regulations introduce the concept of “Keeping in Touch days”: This is where an employee can agree to work up to ten days during her leave without it affecting her right to be on maternity leave.It should be noted, however, that there is no legal obligation on either the employer or employee to offer or accept this arrangement, and any pressure from the employer on the employee may be considered a detriment, something which the Regulations deem unlawful.Although the Regulations have been in force since the 1st of October 2006, they interestingly enough only apply to employees whose expected week of childbirth (or date of adoption) is on or after the 1st of April 2007. Commentators have argued that this has been a more onerous requirement on employers, who may have found that a very new employee has disappeared for a year. However, one potential benefit was that it has ensured that any cover brought in has had a decent period of time to know get to know what they are doing in their new role with the employer.In addition to the above, the government has also made one or two changes to benefit the employer. An example being that the length of notice an employee has to give if she wants to return early has doubled – a change which acknowledges that employers needs time to make arrangements in such circumstances.If you require further information please contact us at [email protected] or Visit http://www.rtcoopers.com/practice_employment.php© RT COOPERS, 2007. This Briefing Note does not provide a comprehensive or complete statement of the law relating to the issues discussed nor does it constitute legal advice. It is intended only to highlight general issues. Specialist legal advice should always be sought in relation to particular circumstances.

Your Complete Guide to Refurbished Gadgets

Refurbished gadgets are creating an unprecedented buzz in the Indian electronics marketplace. Knowing our affinity towards discounts and sales, choosing a mobile phone or tablet that has undergone refurbishment is undoubtedly a smart buying decision. If you are still in a fix about what these gadgets mean for you or where you can buy them, here is an all-inclusive guide to buying refurbished products. Have a look!What are Refurbished Gadgets?Many a times, certain products encounter minor glitches during their initial run. These products are reworked upon by trained technicians in order to achieve peak levels of performance. They are then sold as refurbished products to customers. Since they don’t bear the tag of “brand new”, they are offered at huge discounts to increase their competitiveness. Authorized retailers selling such gadgets ensure that they are checked and certified for quality benchmarks and are accompanied by a warranty.Buying Refurbished Products Means Huge SavingsThe first and the biggest consideration for buying a reworked smartphone is its price tag. A Samsung Galaxy Note Edge for just Rs. 35,199 or HTC One M8 for only Rs. 26,599. Sounds tempting, right? This is why gadgets belonging to this particular category are a great option. It lets you buy your favorite gadgets at incredible prices without you, having to compromise on its quality or performance.Things to Keep in Mind When BuyingHere are a few things you need to keep in mind when you buy gadgets that have undergone refurbishment:

Do your research. Sift the internet for your chosen product. Know how much its brand new counterpart costs and go for the refurnished version only if it looks like a steal deal.

A number of online retailers sell such products. Make sure to go through customer testimonials to know about their experience with the seller.

Once you receive the product, check if it is in working condition and is accompanied by all accessories or not.
Where Should You Buy FromNow, this is important. If you are looking for quality certified refurnished products, it is advised that you make your purchase from an authorized retailer. Avoid shady markets for they don’t guarantee after-sales services. If you are looking at brand warranty and after sales support, staking your money at a trusted retailer is the smart thing to do. Meanwhile, you must verify the seller before buying any gadgets from anywhere on the internet.

The 10 Most ANNOYING Marketing Buzzwords

Calling all marketers! Get ready to disrupt (yup, that’s one of them) your digestive tract with marketing clichés that will make you puke. These marketing buzz terms are polluting creative minds everywhere – and there might even be scientific evidence linking these cringe-worthy catchphrases to Millennials’ intense feelings of “I don’t want a desk job”. It’s certainly possible. However, for everyone else, can we make a pact?As fellow marketers and creative professionals, let’s kindly retire (or extinguish) these irritating phrases so we can all evolve past this “noise” cluttering our industry. Are you with me?!1. DisruptionFirst, let’s be clear. “Disruption” is really more of a business term. It describes a market condition that takes place when an existing market collapses and a new one emerges. It’s actually very similar to “Disruptive Innovation” which happens when a new market comes to fruition entirely. Uber might be a great example of both – depending on how you look at it.However, when this “Wall Street” phrase ended up leaking all over Madison Avenue, “disruption” and “disruptive” became overly used, watered down terms that essentially started to mean nothing.Certainly “Creative Disruption”, might have a place, as it refers to exposing business model flaws and promoting big changes in consumer behaviour (in the creative sense). However, I can’t help but wonder whether some Agency Account Director just throws out “disruptive” terms just to win some big account. I mean, come on. Disrupt what? Isn’t it our job as marketers to change consumer habits and get noticed?2. Growth hackingOkay, I realize that “hacking” is supposed to mean “coding” in this sense (not cutting down), but this phrase sure does sound like an oxymoron to me!Popularized by Sean Ellis and other techies in the early 2000s, the term was meant to describe non-traditional ways to achieve growth through experimental marketing strategies and emerging technologies. READ: this is also a glorified way of describing underpaid “bootstrappers” (oh, but with equity of course!) trying to unlock the key to “crowd culture” (yawn).Perhaps growth-hacking was a relevant, meaningful term 15 years ago, but not today. Most marketers are expected to (magically) achieve growth with technological brilliance and creativity because it’s our job. Sound like a lot of pressure? Well, welcome to marketing.3. SoLoMoOh no-no. If your ears have not been scarred yet by this irritating term (in what seems like “slow-mo”), it means “Social-Local-Mobile” as if this is some genius concept or secret to being relevant. So, please, don’t use this catch-phrase. Ever.4. Actionable InsightsActionable? As opposed to “Well, we learned something today, and we’re not going to do anything about it”.I mean, am I missing something? Where does one look for “actionable insights”? Is this something people need in addition to regular insights? For example, if I’m comparing landing page performance in The Marketing Manager, and I see one campaign outperforming the other, I think I know what action to take. Do you?5. Seamless IntegrationIf you work in the tech sector, I bet you are emphatically nodding your head “yes”. This godawful term is about as common and meaningless as your vendor saying “we have an API” when asked “does your product do (xyz)?”.In fact, let’s just throw in some puzzle pieces to truly visually convey (because we’re idiots) that our software seamlessly integrates (puke) with boredom and clichés. After all, we need to “scream” that each piece of our ho-hum app actually functions when interfacing with some other random technology.And while this style of tech marketing seems awfully common (more like ubiquitous), to me, it feels rather ironic. After all, I’m pretty sure that puzzle pieces have jagged, noticeable edges. Don’t they?Besides, there is no such thing as “seamless” integration. It takes work and maintenance for two tools to “talk” to one another – and you (the consumer) get to pay for it. There you have it.6. Turn-key (and everything “key” in general)Let’s face it. If someone offers you a “turn-key”, “off the shelf” solution, does it make you open your wallet? Personally, it makes me turn into a glazed-over zombie. Why? Because even if something is difficult, a brand will either never admit it or up-sell you the “turn-key” solution (rigor mortis setting in).Now of course, I understand that this term was once synonymous with “effortless”. Nevertheless, it has since evolved into a useless adjective that lazy marketers use to describe some blah-blah-blah with blah-blah-blah. That being said, I propose we lock up this useless adjective (pun intended).In fact, as long as we are stuck on cliché doorway analogies, can we please also stop saying [anything]gate to describe a conspiracy theory? Maybe I’m being unreasonable, but I would love it if people could coin something new. After all, the key (cringe) to creative marketing is to explain concepts meaningfully. That’s why “turn-key” is no longer descriptive; tell me WHY something is so effortless – in an engaging, concise way. Does this sound difficult? Well it is. That’s why creative people have jobs.7. Content Is KingYawn. “Content is king” and “(whatever) is queen” sounds like a big, gay party – but everyone’s really bored with it.It’s no mystery. Live sports and fan favorites like “The Walking Dead” keep Cable television in business. After all, those Cable bills are expensive! Perhaps that’s why this cringe-worthy, irritating phrase simply won’t die; decision-makers in the media universe are ignoring the fact that modern consumers are stingy with their time. How else can we explain this endless sea of boring content?Maybe I’m wrong, but here is my understanding of modern consumers (who all have built-in A.D.D)AWESOME content = I will only tolerate ads if they cannot be blocked. And if I really hate ads, I will PAY to have them blocked – so please stop forcing these painful pre-rolls and what feels like 10-minute commercial blocks on me.BORING content = I hate you for wasting my time – also known as “get out of my in-box” syndrome while emphatically clicking “spam”.Assuming that the media gods disagree with me, I believe this painful phrase will continue to exist.8. AdvertainmentSpeaking of “content is crap”, marketers make up stupid terms like “advertainment” to seem like they’re solving some really big cultural problem – but they’re not.”Advertainment” is essentially just an annoying way to explain “branded content”, product placement or flat-up fantastic marketing in disguise. I understand the concept, but here’s the problem: if you call your own work “advertainment”, you sound like a pompous fop.Don’t get me wrong – some marketers have managed to make advertising very entertaining, including Red Bull with their adrenaline junkie videos, and AMC with their Walking Dead and Mad Men apps (also known as “gamification” – which theoretically could make this list).Nevertheless, does “advertainment” really solve a problem? I guess so, but can we please not call it that?In all seriousness though, if you are a marketer that somehow figured out how to move product without annoying people, congrats. This is an achievement. I’m serious.9. Ecosystem (to describe everything)Are we a bunch of ants stuck in a science class diorama demonstrating seamless integration (see term #5 above)? Silicon Valley seems to think so.We hear this word a lot, especially when some “thought leader” (yawn, could also make this list) is ill-prepared to answer a tough question in a meeting.”Well you see [insert CEO name here], our next step towards changing consumer behavior patterns is to move the social conversation to the Internet-of-Things ecosystem,” said the slightly hungover marketing executive recovering from last night’s vendor bender.Look. We’ve all been there, but the use of the word “ecosystem” is starting to feel out of control. Somehow, everything can arguably be an ecosystem, including that Chia Pet they sell in Walmart. Do you see what I mean? Germination. Photosynthesis. Whatever. And it all brings me back to where I started: my seventh-grade science class.10. Snackable ContentDoesn’t this phrase make you want to vomit? Personally, I find it nauseating, but here’s some “food-for-thought”: the term “content consumption” is actually the mothership concept that spawned this ugly-duckling buzz term. All it means is that time-starved consumers prefer concise headlines, bullet points, easy-to-read lists (unlike mine), and pretty much the opposite of heavy, homogenous-looking text. Makes sense.Nonetheless, isn’t it amazing how unappetizing this trite phrase sounds? I actually almost puked (in a good way) when Grant Higginson of Welby Consulting tweeted it to us during our “Tweet the most annoying marketing buzzword to win a drone” contest. Needless to say, he won.

Entrepreneurs Beware: Brands Are Dying!

It seems strange that a brand consultant such as myself would tell everyone that brands are dying, but I genuinely believe that we are in the middle of a significant cultural change. The brands that miss these changes and don’t adapt accordingly may not be around in a few years. It’s that serious. Get a coffee and a biscuit and read this carefully. It could just be the catalyst that encourages you to relate to your customers in a totally different way.Brands Make Us ScaredThe essence of successful branding is based upon fear. All the advertising, inspirational slogans and celebrity campaigns are all designed to make us feel like something is lacking in our life. We are not quite the person that we’d really like to be because we don’t have that particular product and it’s that fear of inadequacy that drives many of our buying decisions. Of course you can go to TopShop and buy a handbag that look’s like a Birkin, but you’ll never be like Kate Moss if you don’t go to Hermès and buy the genuine £6000 version.I remember chatting to a designer from Ralph Lauren when I was doing some work on Savile Row and during a particularly dull show in London Fashion Week I asked why they went to such great lengths to showcase £20,000 dresses. In my ignorance I couldn’t understand why they would go to all that trouble when you never see anyone wearing such flamboyant creations in real life. In retrospect, the answer was obvious. They didn’t expect to sell more than half a dozen dresses, but what they did expect to happen was that the ‘halo effect’ would come into play.In order words, most people can’t afford Ralph Lauren wardrobes, but they can afford a piece of the brand in the form of a perfume. That’s where the money is. The halo effect is basically the process of organically promoting part of your brand, by showcasing something else that is so aspirational that it is out of reach to most of us. Ford used to promote £200,000 Aston Martins. B&W sell £20,000 speakers. Remy Martin promote bottles of £20,000 Black Pearl Louis XIII brandy in order to sell more of the £50 Remy VSOP. Brands know that we want to be admired and respected by our peers, so they give us countless opportunities to satisfy our fear of inadequacy, by offering us cheaper products with the same logo on them.The Best Brands Guarantee Dis-SatisfactionGreat brands are built on dissatisfaction. After all, if you were satisfied with your Revlon makeup or your Nike sneakers or your iPad, why would you buy another one? Satisfied means done, finished, I don’t need any more. In fact, most great commercial (and non-profit, and political) brands create a cycle of purchase based on ever-greater dissatisfaction with what we’ve got.I have an unhealthy amount of vintage trainers. I have an iPhone 3GS which I love, but it already feels old because all my friends are flaunting iPhones 4′s. There’s nothing wrong with my 3GS. I just feel that I’m being left behind. Am I ever going to use ‘face time’ on an iPhone 4 to video chat with my friends? Probably not. But do I still want one? You betcha. I think it’s probably fair to say that your most unhappy customers are often your greatest source of learning. “Stop trying to make me unhappy!!!”In the midst of last year’s heavy recession, Steve Jobs said,”A lot of companies have chosen to downsize, and maybe that was the right thing for them. We chose a different path. Our belief was that if we kept putting great products In front of our customers, they would continue to open their wallets”.Brands Are Worn OutMichael Eisner of Disney has called the word brand “overused, sterile and unimaginative” and he’s right. When the brand manual grows bigger, heavier each year, you know you’re in trouble. When I was initially asked to do some work for Reebok with my illustrator friend James Walker, we were really excited about being involved with such an iconic brand and letting rip with our creative juices.Sadly, our excitement soon wore off when we saw the length of the brand guidelines. We knew it wasn’t gong to be anywhere near as much fun as we thought, as the job became like a very boring jigsaw, just piecing all the various design components together. Looking back it doesn’t surprise me that Reebok, who once competed head on with Nike and Adidas, are now an also-ran as a sports brand.Brands Are No Longer MysteriousThere is now much more of an anti-brand sentimentality as a result of various consumer movements and books like Naomi Klein’s infamous “No Logo”. When I was growing up in the late 80′s it was all about the label on your shirt. If you wore Sergio Taccini, Fila, Ellesse, Kappa or Cerutti you were the man, but when my (cool) friend Alan Steeple flaunted his logo-less rugby shirt, I began to notice the cultural shift, that it was becoming cool to not wear a logo.”Companies are about their logos like guys are about their… you know. They love talking about them. They love to look at them. They want you to look at them. They think the bigger they are, the more effective they are. And they try to sneak looks at other guy’s logos when they can. But as any woman will tell you, nobody cares!” Luke SulivanThere is more consumer awareness now and more people understand how brands work. More importantly, people understand how brands are supposed to work on them!Brands Can’t Understand The New Breed Of ConsumerConsumer buying habits underwent a huge transformation in the 1960′s with the arrival of TV and the big advertising agencies promoting brands such as Proctor & Gamble, Ford and Kellogg’s, but until a few years ago not much had really changed. But then along came the internet and everything changed – from the way we connect with each other to the way we are entertained. Unfortunately, most brands haven’t changed in line with technology, thinking that a shiny website or multiple social media accounts will do the trick. It won’t.The new customer is better informed, more critical, less loyal and harder to read. The white suburban housewife who for decades seemed to buy all the soap powder no longer exists. She has been joined by a new population of multi-generational, multi-ethnic, multi-national consumers.Brands Hate Good Old-Fashioned CompetitionThe more designer brands and private labels we invent, the less we notice them as individuals. Most people are aware that we see over 4000 advertising messages a day, but on the average 45 minute supermarket shopping trip, you see over 45,000 brand names. How on earth are you ever going to get recognised as a new brand in that kind of market place? When I worked with Unilever, we estimated that in such a tough marketplace, you had on average 1.4 seconds to capture someone’s attention and make them pick your product off the shelf (instead of their usual choice of brand). If you are not number one or two, forget it.More Brands Doesn’t Make It Any EasierThe greater the number of brands, the thinner the resources promoting them. Microsoft has 64 different sub-brands and they struggle to evenly allocate their $10billion marketing budget to each of them effectively. Compare that to Apple who spend the same amount but focus all their marketing efforts at just their core brand, and you can soon see exactly why Apple have overtaken Microsoft in the visibility stakes.Brands Think Science Has The AnswerMost of the books on branding that I’ve read and the may brand workshops I’ve been to, all talk about the science of branding. The definitions, the charts, the diagrams and the SWOT analysis. All that stuff is important, but formulas have no imagination or empathy. The best brands tell stories and use emotion to communicate their messages, but there isn’t a formula that can deal with human emotion.I recently worked with a very big FMCG food brand who’s advertising ideas were based upon analysis, demographics and Neilson ratings. They actually promoted accountants into brand management. No wonder they couldn’t understand why their campaigns weren’t working. Brands need to tell stories that make us feel something. Instead they were drowning in a sea of numbers, while some new start-up was working out of a bedroom somewhere, well on its way to stealing some of their market share.Brands Have Become DullThe story of brands has gone from daring and inspirational to one of caution and risk-aversion. Once the darling of the bold and the brave, brands are relying on the accumulation of past experiences rather than the potential of future ones. Headstones are replacing stepping-stones! If the antics of a middle-aged jumper wearing Richard Branson cause a riot (and they do), how bland and boring does that mean everyone else has become.The Moral Of The Story…?So what is the moral of my story (if any?)… Don’t be another me-too brand. Don’t do things the same way that you’ve always done them. If your advertising isn’t working, or you are unsure what is showing results, stop it immediately. Get out there and start connecting with your customers. And that doesn’t just mean joining Twitter and having a Facebok fan page. The answer isn’t “social media”. If you think about it, allmedia is social. It’s just about connecting with your customers. Saying “hello” to people. Calling them. Everyday. Visiting them (in person). I’m convinced that many of your customers are just dying for you to start a conversation with them. They want to tell you exactly what they want and why they want it.Make a list of five customers you can call now… Right now!