The actions of the Byron Hamburger chain have been hot news over the last couple of days, culminating in a protest outside their Holborn branch in London which forced it to close its doors last night.
The problem they face, which is now affecting many employers across the country, is that they had unknowingly employed illegal immigrant labour and, in their case, then been forced to take action by the Home Office or face investigation themselves.
The employees concerned had really gone the extra mile in terms of trying to mislead their employer, providing counterfeit documents which fraudulently established their right to work in the UK. Byron had checked these documents, but not closely enough and the fraud had eventually come to the attention of the UK immigration authorities.
Faced with a Home Office investigation, Bryon did what most businesses who have been defrauded would do and they decided to co-operate with the authorities rather than tip-off their employees so that they could escape justice. This public spirited action has so enraged some people that they decided to impose mob rule on Byron and force them to close their business down for this act of obeying the law.
At its simplest, the issue comes down to one of paperwork. It is no small feat, especially for a franchise like Byron that is employing hundreds or thousands of temporary workers, to keep on top of the mountains of paper documents that are presented to them as proof of entitlement to work. If their systems had been capable of scanning and centrally storing these documents, then Byron would have had a much better chance of subjecting them to the rigorous and expert scrutiny that might have revealed what was actually going on.
Fortunately, there is a solution out there which could have helped Byron with its documentation problem, as it has helped a number of other international franchise operations like McDonalds and Nandos. This document management system, called Intelefile, offers the employer the ability to scan, electronically store and maintain employee records, for whatever reason. It also has processes which can be set up to ensure that the necessary checks, including right to work checks, are done and the proper process is followed for each employee.
Intelefile provides secure, low cost, online access to business documents suitable for all sizes of enterprise. The process is very simple and requires no capital expenditure or specialist technical skill. Any type of paper document can be scanned and transmitted to a secure hosted data centre and then made available via the secure Intelefile website.
There is a heated debate raging around whether what Byron did was right or wrong, but either way it has already cost them a significant amount in terms of disruption to their normal business operations. They would have been in a much better position to head off the problem before it arose with a modern document management system in place.
Chairman – Transputec