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Heads roll after HR failure at Renault

15 April 2011 #Employment

The French carmaker has announced their Chief Operating Officer has stepped down as part of the fall out of falsely accusing, publicly, three members of staff of industrial espionage and sacking them. 

The whole debacle started last year when Renault received an anonymous tip off that three managers for the Company were receiving bribes to pass trade secrets to competitors in the Far East.  Renault publicly sacked the mangers for misconduct, complaining of industrial espionage. 

However, the subsequent criminal charges were dropped last month with no case to answer.  Renault then admitted that the evidence on which the charges were based, was false.  An internal audit revealed the company`s disciplinary procedures were "dysfunctional".  The audit report stated "the very succinct notes reflecting the results of the investigation were not subjected to a truly critical review by the persons mainly responsible for the suspensions and later for the terminations. Decisions were made informally by only a few individuals, without any organised two-party consultation with experts in risk management, law and HR".

The mistakes in the HR process have proved very costly for Renault who have agreed in principle to pay out damages totalling 9 million euros to the three men.  In addition to the damages, the company`s reputation has also been damaged as result of the numerous staff who have been suspended or have stepped down.  It cannot be stressed enough the importance of rigorous disciplinary procedures, especially where the alleged offence is so serious.  Buddy has several guidance notes and factsheets on disciplining and dismissal.

Clarkslegal, specialist Employment lawyers in London, Reading and throughout the Thames Valley.
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