Legal news, views, trends and tools for HR Professionals. Stay ahead. Go further

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DWF

Legal news, views, trends and tools for HR Professionals. Stay ahead. Go further

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Right to privacy: ECtHR reverses employee monitoring decision

We previously reported on the case of Barbulescu v Romania where the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) found that an employer’s potential breach of an employee’s privacy was justified when it monitored an employee’s Yahoo Messenger account. Unusually there has been an appeal within the ECtHR to the Grand Chamber and the decision has been reversed.

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Vento bands: Presidential guidance issued outlining new bands for injury to feelings

Following the Court of Appeal decision in de Souza v Vinci Construction (UK) Ltd the Presidents of the Employment Tribunals have published the revised bands of compensation for injury to feelings in discrimination cases.

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Are the floodgates open for historic tribunal claims?

One of the first cases to be affected by the ground-breaking Unison decision that employment tribunal fees are unlawful has been reported. In Miss Dhami v Tesco Stores Limited, Miss Dhami successfully argued that it would be just and equitable to extend the time limit for her claim, which had been previously rejected because she did not pay the tribunal fees.

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Suspension: When does suspension of an employee amount to a breach of the implied duty of trust and confidence?

In the case of Agoreyo v London Borough of Lambeth the High Court found that the suspension of a teacher amounted to a breach of the implied duty of trust and confidence. 

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"Whistle while we work…" When is a protected disclosure in the public interest?

To bring a successful whistleblowing claim the claimant must have made a “protected disclosure” in the reasonable belief that the disclosure was in the “public interest”. The public interest requirement was added to whistleblowing legislation in 2013 to reverse the decision in Parkins v Sodexho and ensure that whistleblower protection does not extend to disclosures of a personal nature tending to show breaches of the worker’s own contract.

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Holiday Pay: Should voluntary overtime be included in the calculation?

One of the unresolved issues from the Bear Scotland holiday pay case was whether voluntary overtime has to be included in the calculation of holiday pay for workers or employees with normal working hours.

The question has now been considered by the Employment Appeal Tribunal in Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council v Willets and others.

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Ground breaking decision of the Supreme Court: Employment Tribunal fees unlawful

The Supreme Court has today held that the Employment Tribunal fees regime is unlawful under both EU and UK law because it has the effect of preventing access to justice.

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Gender Pay Gap…more like a chasm

The BBC has today reported how much its top stars are paid.  The move was forced by the government in a bid to achieve transparency over the use of public money which funds the BBC via the licence fee.  However, in a year when gender pay is already a primary focus for many companies, the results reveal a clear and significant gender pay disparity within the BBC.  The list of 96 stars earning over £150,000 included only 34 women, with Claudia Winkleman being the only woman in the top ten. How this affects the BBC’s gender pay gap results remains to be seen.

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The Taylor Review on Modern Working Practices: ambitious but is it achievable?

The much anticipated Taylor Review into modern working practices has been published. The focus of the Review is the aim of creating “good work” for all which is “fair and decent and has scope for development and fulfilment”. As expected (and in line with the Review’s terms of reference) there are suggestions for improving the rights and entitlements of self-employed workers especially in the so-called gig economy.

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Taylor Review: Leaked report suggests radical reform for modern working practices

The Taylor Review was commissioned to consider how modern employment practices need to change in order to keep pace with modern business models. The Times has received a leaked draft of the Review and the headlines reveal raising taxes from self-employment and improved rights for those working in the gig economy.

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Discrimination compensation: Increase of 10% for non-financial loss

This landmark case is relevant to HR professionals, litigants in the Employment Tribunal and their advisers.

In the case of de Souza v Vinci Construction (UK) Ltd the Court of Appeal has confirmed that the 10% uplift to personal injury compensation established in the civil case of Simmons v Castle must also apply to the non-financial loss element of compensation for discrimination claims in the Employment Tribunal.  

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Social Media Pitfalls #watchwhatyoupost

With the rise in the use of social media, cases involving social media are becoming ever more common. In this recently handed down Judgment the Tribunal found that the dismissal was neither wrongful nor unfair.

Background

Mrs Plant had been employed by the Respondent for 17 years as a machinery operator. At the time of her dismissal she had a clean disciplinary record.

In December 2015, the Respondent introduced a new social media policy that provided, amongst other things, a list (which was not exhaustive) of the sort of things that employees should not be doing such as making comments that could damage the reputation of the company. The policy reminded employees that conversations between friends on social media were not truly private and even these conversations have the potential to cause damage. The policy concluded that any breach would be taken seriously and may lead to disciplinary action.

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Time for a Move – 'Relocation, relocation, relocation'

An office move or an individual relocation of an employee can often be a legal headache for employers. We can help you avoid this by providing below a timely overview as to the legal position and cases dealing with this issue.

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Farmah and ors v Birmingham City Council: implications for multiple claims

Including multiple claims on one claim form can lead to a significant cost saving for a claimant and is often seen in the context of equal pay.  In the case of Farmah and ors v Birmingham City Council the EAT determined whether equal pay claims involving claimants doing different work could be included in the same form.

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Proposed EU citizens' rights post-Brexit – A certain uncertainty?

Theresa May addressed Parliament on 26 June 2017 to outline the post-Brexit proposal on the status of EU nationals living in the UK. Mrs May said she wanted to give “reassurance and certainty to EU citizens who have made their homes and lives in our country”.  Furthermore, it was made clear that “no EU citizen currently in the UK lawfully will be asked to leave at the point the UK leaves the EU”. 

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The Queen's speech June 2017: Key implications for employers

After only a slight delay, the much anticipated Queen’s speech went ahead on Wednesday 21 June 2017. The government has announced that there will not be a Queen’s speech in 2018 and so the details of the legislation set out cover the next two years.  The main employment law implications are as follows:

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The duty of fidelity: Can an employee lie to their employer about their plans to set up in lawful competition?

In the case of MPT Group Limited (MPT) v Peel and others (the Defendants) the High Court has found that two employees did not breach the duty of fidelity when they failed to answer truthfully questions about their intentions to set up in lawful competition.

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Paid annual leave: Workers allowed to carry over leave until an 'adequate facility' is provided

Is a worker required to take leave first before being able to establish whether s/he is entitled to be paid for it?  The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) Advocate General has recently considered this proposition in the case of King v The Sash Window Workshop Ltd (SWW Ltd) and anor and his Opinion finds that such a requirement is incompatible with EU law.

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Shared parental leave: Should employers match enhanced maternity pay?

In the case of Capita Customer Management v Ali, the Employment Tribunal ruled that a male employee was directly discriminated against when his employer refused to allow him to take shared parental leave at full pay under the terms of its family friendly policies.

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Another hung Parliament, another minority Conservative Government… what may change in the world of employment law?

The 8 June 2017 snap election predicted by all to be a Tory landslide has backfired on Theresa May in the most spectacular fashion and has resulted in another hung Parliament. Yet in spite of this, she has announced that the she will push ahead and form a minority government with the informal assistance and backing of the Democratic Unionist Party.  This will inevitably impact the Conservative’s ability to deliver on aspects of its manifesto however on areas such as employment law and workers’ rights there may be little change.  Given that the Conservatives’ proposals in this area are universally employee-friendly it is hard to imagine Labour voting against them.

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Discrimination arising from disability: When does disability-related absence cause a dismissal?

In the case of Charlesworth v Dransfields Engineering Services Limited (DES) the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has upheld a Tribunal’s decision that there was no discrimination because of something arising in consequence of disability when an employee was made redundant following a period of absence for cancer treatment.  Although the Claimant’s two month absence was part of the context, it was not the effective cause of the dismissal.

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Bear Scotland – the three month gap rule remains

In the case of Fulton and another v Bear Scotland the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has dismissed the appeal of the claimants on the issue of the ‘three month gap rule’.

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DWP report criticises "bogus self-employment" in gig economy

Employment status continues to hit the headlines with the Work and Pensions Committee releasing their report on the topic.  The report focuses on the imbalances between those with different employment status and highlights “bogus self-employment”.  The primary purpose of the report was to consider what impact the growth of the gig economy is having on the welfare state.  Self-employed individuals contribute far less in the way of National insurance Contributions (NICs) than employees and so inevitably the growth of self-employment challenges the welfare system.

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Finance Act 2017: What employers need to know

The Finance Act 2017 is now law, in substantially shorter form than announced at the Autumn Statement and Spring Budget, due to the election.

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Mencap EAT decision: Sleep Ins and the National Minimum Wage

Background

Judgment has been delivered by the EAT in a group of cases heard as a collective appeal on the issue of care workers’ sleep-in shifts and the National Minimum Wage (NMW). The three cases concerned a very similar issue of whether a carer performing a sleep-in shift was working during the shift and therefore whether they were entitled to receive the NMW.

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'The office romance' - an overview of the recent cases

Whilst there are no explicit laws governing workplace relationships in the UK, the ‘office romance’ can be a potential headache for employers, giving rise to a host of employment law issues, including discrimination, harassment and unfair dismissal.

Although employers may be keen for employees to get to know one another socially as well as professionally, employers need to be aware of the steps they can take to address these potential issues. We have therefore provided an overview of the recent cases.

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When does a notice period start to run when the notice is sent by post?

In the case of Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust v Haywood, the Court of Appeal considered when notice of termination is deemed to be effective when the notice is sent by post. The Court held that where an employer posted a letter to an employee giving notice of termination, in the absence of a specific contractual term identifying when the notice was to take effect, it would take effect from the date the employee had personally taken delivery of the letter.

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Employment status - the barometer: A round-up of the latest position

Introduction

Employment status is certainly at the forefront of the Government’s agenda with the inquiry into the future world of work and the Taylor Review both in progress. There has also been a series of recent cases on employment status ranging from bike couriers to plumbers.  So why is someone’s employment status so important? 

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The Court of Justice of the European Union finds that dress codes requiring neutrality can be objectively justified

In a hotly anticipated judgment, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has found that a policy of neutrality which banned workers from wearing any political, religious or similar items was not directly discriminatory and although it could be indirectly discriminatory, such a policy could be justified (depending on the facts of the case).  The decision comes in the conjoined cases of Muslim employees who were dismissed after they refused to remove their headscarves at work, in contravention of their employer’s policies.

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Where do we stand now on subject access requests?

In the last two months there have been three important decisions that give guidance on the obligations of data controllers when faced with subject access requests.

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The price of talent – migrant worker costs set to rise yet again

Whilst uncertainty continues about UK based EU and EEA (European Economic Area) nationals in respect of their work/settlement options following a hard Brexit, the same is not true for skilled non-EU/EEA migrants wishing to come to the UK to work under Tier 2 of the Points Based System. In short it is going to become harder and more expensive to employ skilled migrants.

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Tax checking service for employment status - HMRC's guidance on IR35

The HMRC tax checking service for employment status has become available. Some questions have been clearly written with the public sector in mind (for example with reference to required security clearances of substitutes and helpers). However, in general as the underlying tests for IR35 have not changed, we expect that this test will be used as a default free checking service by many contractors in the private sector as well as public sector contractors.

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Contractors in the public sector – reform of the intermediaries legislation (aka IR35) - key points you need to know

The use of contractors is widespread in the public sector from programmers and IT consultants through to NHS locums and peripatetic musical instrument teachers. Contractors often contract through an intermediary – their own personal service companies (PSCs) – in order to benefit from the more favourable tax rules and rates which apply to companies. Under IR35 (the intermediaries tax legislation) it used to be the responsibility of PSCs to decide whether or not to deduct tax and NICs from income earned by the contractor.

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Lock v British Gas – leave to appeal refused by Supreme Court

The Supreme Court has refused British Gas leave to appeal in the long-standing holiday pay case. Last October the Court of Appeal confirmed earlier rulings that employers do have to pay commission as part of holiday pay and British Gas subsequently sought leave to appeal.

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A strike against the unions

The Government has confirmed that the Trade Union Act 2016 will come into force on 1 March 2017.

As before, a union will be required to attain a majority of votes in favour before it can begin strike action. However the Act, which was part of the Conservative party’s 2015 manifesto, introduces two major restrictions which limit unions’ ability to call a strike:

• unions must attain a minimum 50 per cent turnout in a strike ballot; and

• where an ‘important public service’ is concerned 40 per cent of those entitled to voted must have been in favour of the strike action.

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Negligence can justify summary dismissal

In the recent case of Adesokan v Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Ltd, the Court of Appeal considered whether an employee’s one off “negligent” act could justify summary dismissal for gross misconduct.

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A test of faith: time off for religious festival

The recent case of Gareddu v London Underground Limited confirmed that an employer is entitled to deny a request for annual leave to attend a religious festival where that request is not wholly genuine or made in good faith.

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Pimlico Plumbers decision – that puts a spanner in the works!

Amidst media hype, and recent cases on employment status in the gig economy, another case has been reported which puts a spanner in the works for companies arguing that they engage “self-employed contractors” and not workers. The Court of Appeal upheld the EAT decision that Mr Smith, who was a plumber for Pimlico Plumbers Limited (PP), was a worker, rather than a genuinely self-employed contractor. 

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Technological revolution: employment reconfiguration or decimation?

It may sound dramatic but it seems the World Economic Forum had a point when branding the practical impact of digital innovation as an industrial revolution of our time. In a recent survey carried out globally of 500 C level executives, over 90% stated that their organisations’ workforces will need to change substantially as smart technologies become more widely used. It was also expected that 20% of jobs would be ‘repurposed’ by 2020 and 54% of respondents went so far as to say they would be prepared to work for a robo boss.

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Blame robots not immigrants for "stealing" our jobs

As the world reels in response to the effects of populist politics in the US (and last year’s Brexit vote in the UK), business leaders at least know where to lay the blame for rising unemployment levels over the past decade – man made machines not overseas workers.

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What does the Government's plan for Brexit mean for employment law in the UK?

On 17 January 2017 the Prime Minister set out the 12 principles forming the government’s agenda for Brexit negotiations.  It is now clear that the government proposes a “hard” Brexit in which the UK leaves the single market for goods and services and takes control of both our laws and inward immigration from the EU.  In addition, Mrs May repeated her commitment to protect workers’ rights which she first made in her speech last October at the Conservative Party Conference when she said “existing workers’ legal rights will continue to be guaranteed in law – and they will be guaranteed as long as I am Prime Minister.”  Mrs May’s speech was light on detail about how she intends to guarantee employment rights derived from EU law, what rights will be guaranteed and what Parliamentary process would be required to repeal or amend them in the future. 

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Not working your lunch break - breach of the Working Time Regulations?

In the case of Grange vs Abellio London, the Employment Appeals Tribunals (“EAT”) held that employers who deny their employees the opportunity to take an adequate rest break could fall foul of the Working Time Regulations 1998.

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Inappropriate warnings should be ignored in disciplinary proceedings

In the case of Bandara vs British Broadcasting Corporation, the Employment Appeals Tribunal (“EAT”) held that manifestly inappropriate warnings cannot be relied on in disciplinary proceedings.

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When are employers liable for their employees’ Christmas party antics?

In the case of Bellman v Northampton Recruitment Ltd, the High Court held that a Company was not vicariously liable for an assault by one of its directors against an employee, following a Company Christmas party.

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Gender pay gap regulations: Final version published

The Government has at last published the final version of the Gender Pay Gap Regulations (“the regulations”), along with explanatory notes. These regulations are subject to Parliamentary approval and are due to come into force on 6th April 2017.

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Detriment as a result of trade union activities: The burden of proof

Where a claimant claims that they suffered detrimental treatment related to trade union activities, it is for the employer to show the sole or main purpose for which it acted or failed to act, i.e. the “burden of proof” is on the employer.

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Statutory maternity pay and settlement agreements

An employee was still entitled to statutory maternity pay despite signing a “full and final” settlement agreement.

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Accommodating religion in dress codes at work

The way we choose to look and dress is seen as a way of expressing our personalities and beliefs. In the UK we have a lot of freedom around what we can wear in public but the issue around workplace dress codes, specifically in reference to religious beliefs, remains a controversial and difficult area to navigate.

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To what extent are your off the record discussions with employees protected?

Off the record discussions or protected conversations have played a significant role in employer-employee exit negotiations since they became inadmissible in unfair dismissal proceedings on the 29th July 2013, but not every conversation is automatically protected. To what extent can employers genuinely have an off the record discussion?

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Changes to the Immigration Rules: Increased costs and increased competence!

On 3 November 2016 the Home Office laid before Parliament its latest proposed “Statement of Changes in the Immigration Rules”, by which it introduces changes to the domestic law in respect of entry into and residency, working and settlement in the UK.

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Cake baking: It’s a balancing act

The Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations (NI) 2006 make it unlawful to discriminate against anyone on the grounds of sexual orientation in the provision of goods, facilities or services. In the latest case of Lee v Ashers Baking Company Limited, the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal upheld a County Court decision that a Christian bakery directly discriminated against a customer, when it refused to supply a cake with a slogan which supported same sex marriage.

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Looking ahead: October 2016

Get up to speed with our monthly employment law update. We have used a traffic light system to sort developments in order of importance: Important updates, Developments to watch and For your information.

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Theresa May’s agenda for change: Let’s recap

In her keynote speech at the Conservative party conference Theresa May announced that she would use “… the power of government for the good of the people.” We take a look at some of the key announcements and headlines during and since conference week.

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Breastfeeding in the workplace – a timely reminder

EasyJet recently found itself flying out of the Employment Tribunal (“ET”) with its head beneath its wings and a need to urgently review its treatment of breastfeeding employees.

The ET held that it was indirectly discriminatory to apply a blanket roster across an entire workforce, without making alternative arrangements for female employees who are breastfeeding and may be at risk of mastitis.

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Shared parental pay and discrimination

New laws on shared parental leave and pay were introduced in early 2015 meaning big changes for families and for businesses. In simple terms, the legislation gives mothers the right to transfer leave they’re due after the birth of their child, to their partner.

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Lock v British Gas - result as expected but where do we go from here?

The Court of Appeal has confirmed today (7 October) in the long running case of Lock v British Gas Trading Ltd that employers will have to pay commission as part of holiday pay.

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Employment law changes - October 2016

Unusually there are few employment law changes taking place this October other than an increase to the National Minimum Wage; however, there are a number of key developments that have now reached or are approaching their implementation dates, together with new or proposed consultations that employers need to be aware of. There are also a number of key cases where we are awaiting a decision from the courts.

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Holiday pay and voluntary overtime

During their four weeks annual leave under the Working Time Directive an employee is entitled to receive “normal remuneration”. “Normal remuneration” should include anything intrinsically linked to the work performed by the employee under their contract of employment.

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What constitutes a service provision change?

The latest Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decision on The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) is a useful reminder that even if there is a change in the provision of services, that does not mean it is a service provision change for the purposes of TUPE and you have to go back to the details of the definition.

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Pay protection and reasonable adjustments

The duty to make reasonable adjustments is an obligation that is unique to disability discrimination. It places a duty on an employer to help job applicants and employees where a provision, criterion or practice applied by the employer, places a disabled person at a substantial disadvantage compared with people who are not disabled.

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Dress to impress: Is your dress code setting the right tone?

Applying a dress code is notoriously difficult and has thrown up many issues over the years ranging from gender to religion and belief discrimination. However, applying a fair and consistent approach should allow employers to balance a strong corporate image with protecting employees’ individuality and protected characteristics.

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From back-room to boardroom: Corporate governance reform

At the start of her campaign to become Tory leader Theresa May stated she wanted to put people back in control

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Brexit: What does the future hold for European migration?

The impact of the referendum on 23 June 2016 on the UK’s future domestic life remains to be determined, but one central area of concern and uncertainty is the issue of intra European migration.

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Do your employees TUPE transfer following a service provision change?

Deciding whether the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) apply to a service provision change can be a complex question for employers.

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'Off the record' discussions: What's the scope of protection for employers?

Since 29 July 2013 employers have been able to engage in confidential, frank discussions with employees concerning exit negotiations and parting ways on mutually agreeable terms. These ‘protected conversations’ attract a degree of privilege and subject to certain exceptions, are inadmissible in unfair dismissal proceedings before an Employment Tribunal.

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Brexit: The employment law implications

Whilst the 23rd June was a historic day for the UK with a vote to leave the European Union, for employers it will still be business as usual for a while.

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Immigration Act 2016: Illegal working offences in force from 12 July

After months of rumbling through the political process the much debated Immigration Bill finally received royal assent on 13 May 2016, becoming the Immigration Act 2016.

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Non-compete clauses – is this the beginning of the end?

Business Secretary Sajid Javid has recently announced that the Government is to investigate employment rules that could be stifling entrepreneurship and preventing employees from starting up their own business.

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Changing terms and conditions of employment - incorporated or not?

Although the ideal situation when changing terms and conditions of employment is for an employee to agree to the change, employers often seek to change terms unilaterally without the employee’s consent. The first question an employer should ask when approaching this issue, is whether the terms they are seeking to change form part of the contract of employment.

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Calculating holiday pay: Voluntary overtime forms part of 'normal pay'

We recently covered the decision from the Northern Ireland Court of Appeal in the case of Patterson v Castlereagh Borough Council which held that voluntary overtime can, in principle, be included for the purposes of calculating holiday pay. Whilst that decision is not binding and only persuasive in England, Wales and Scotland, it appears that the Midlands West Employment Tribunal was persuaded in reaching its decision in the case of White & Others v Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council.

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How to save £20,000 per employee - our top 10 tips regarding “Right to Work Checks”

It is unlawful to employ someone who does not have the right to carry out the work in question, and employers can be subject to a civil penalty of up to £20,000 per worker for any breach of this.

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Gutierrez scores victory – footballer wins disability discrimination claim

Following our recent blog on Jonas Gutierrez’s disability discrimination claim against Newcastle United Football Club, a decision has now been handed down by the Birmingham Employment Tribunal and it was a good result for the Argentinian.

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Data protection – new, more onerous rules and greater penalties from 2018

On 14 April 2016 the European Parliament (EP) finally approved the new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) which will harmonise data protection rules across all the EU member states from 2018. 

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Enforcing restrictive covenants – latest case reinforces key principles

It’s a well-established principle that in order for a contractual term restricting an employee’s activities post-termination of employment to be enforceable, the employer must show that it has a legitimate business interest to protect and that the protection sought is reasonable.

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Contacting absent employees - what's your motive?

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has recently held in the case of Private Medicine Intermediaries Limited and Others v Hodkinson that an employee was constructively dismissed when the employer raised written concerns with her about her performance whilst she was on sick leave.

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Shared parental leave – one year on

Shared parental leave (SPL) was introduced in April 2015 and was designed to encourage parents to share family leave and improve gender equality in the workplace.

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Discrimination by the magpies: It’s not black and white

Jonas Gutierrez, who signed for Newcastle United Football Club (for the uninitiated, also known as the “magpies”) in July 2008, has brought an employment claim against his former club in the region of £2 million on the grounds of disability discrimination.

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Apprenticeships, sugar and grandparents: The 2016 Budget

Following the publication of this year’s budget on 16 March 2016, we now know that we will all be paying that little bit extra for a fizzy drink. Whilst that may have an impact on staff morale, what other, non-sugar related, parts of the 2016 budget will have the greatest impact on employers? Here are some of the key issues:

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EAT confirms "pulling a sickie" is dishonest

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has recently held that “pulling a sickie” when not actually ill can amount to dishonesty and misrepresentation, warranting dismissal on the grounds of gross misconduct. Whilst this may seem to be a statement of the obvious, we take a closer look at the case.

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Second jobs: Key considerations for employers

It is not unusual for employees to take on a second job and according to recent figures one in five police officers now has a second job outside of the police force. For many employees, it is simply a way to make ends meet. For others, it may afford greater flexibility and/or an opportunity to diversify their skillset. However, are there any potential pitfalls for an employer and what can an employer do to avoid them?

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Employment law changes in April

As always a number of employment law changes are due to take place in April. Whilst the introduction of the National Living Wage is the most significant, below is a brief summary of all the key changes which employers should be aware of, together with a note of other developments to look out for during the year.

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Suspension of childcare vouchers during maternity leave not discriminatory

In an unexpected decision, the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT), has found that it is not discriminatory for an employer to state that membership of a salary sacrifice childcare voucher scheme would be suspended during a period of maternity leave.

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Apprenticeships: What employers need to know

This week is National Apprenticeship Week. To try to deal with the ‘skills emergency’ that many UK businesses are facing, the Government has pledged to create three million more apprenticeships by 2020 partly funded by a new apprenticeship levy to be introduced in 2017.

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Brexin or Brexit?

Following the long-awaited announcement from David Cameron as to when Britain’s European Union referendum will be, the debate is already hotting up. The Electoral Commission’s proposed wording for the referendum question has been accepted by MPs (“Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?”) and various politicians are lining up on either side of the Brexin or Brexit divide to discuss the issues.

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Judgment in Lock v British Gas: Holiday pay must include commission

The judgment of the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has been handed down today (22 February) in the case of  Lock v British Gas and has been determined in favour of Mr Lock and his colleagues. The long awaited decision has been watched closely by employers and workers alike and is likely to have implications for many other employers and workers who are paid commission.

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Devolving powers to extend Sunday trading

The Government has announced that it will go ahead with its plan to devolve the power to extend Sunday trading hours in England and Wales to local authorities.

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Gender pay reporting: Government consults on draft regulations

The Government has launched a consultation into the proposed gender pay gap regulations. This is a follow up to the earlier consultation on how to increase pay transparency, and focuses specifically on draft regulations which will apply to private and voluntary sector employers with at least 250 employees.

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Disability discrimination: What is a normal ‘day to day activity?’

Under the Equality Act 2010 it is unlawful for employers to discriminate against disabled employees. The first hurdle for any employee alleging disability discrimination is to establish that they are ‘disabled’ under the Act.

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Cracking down on legal highs

In the wake of increased public pressure, the Government is cracking down on legal highs and ACAS has issued useful guidance on the issue for employers.

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Right to rent checks go live

Back in October 2015, we brought you the announcement that the Government would be expecting landlords to join in the battle against illegal immigration. This new regime, where private landlords will be required to do “right to rent” checks on prospective tenants, goes live today.

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Tackling unconscious bias in recruitment

With unemployment at its lowest since 2006 according to the Office for National Statistics, and the recruitment industry booming, it is important that employers searching for their next recruit know how to get the best candidate and avoid falling into any discrimination trap. 

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Is an employer obliged to look after an employee's economic well-being?

Are employers under any legal obligation to look after their employees’ ‘economic well-being’? Should employers give employees financial advice to ensure that they take informed financial decisions, for example, about their insurance benefits and pension? Should employers warn employees if they look likely to take a decision which could have serious negative financial consequences for them?

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Right to spy on an employee's private messages?

The recent case of Barbulescu v Romania has been trumpeted by some in the press as giving the green light to employers wishing to monitor employees’ private emails etc. The Daily Mail has called this a “right to spy” on employees’ private messages.

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Collective redundancy consultation and the meaning of establishment

Last year we reported on the Woolworths/Ethel Austin case which you will no doubt recall involved the meaning of ‘establishment’ for triggering collective redundancy consultations.

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Duty to make reasonable adjustments and sickness absence

Employers should consider the duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled employees when issuing disciplinary warnings and managing sickness absence. This was made clear by the Court of Appeal in its judgment in the recent case of Griffiths v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which considered the relationship between reasonable adjustments and the application of absence management policies.

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Post transfer events may be relevant when dealing with the ‘short term’ task exemption under TUPE

In the recent case of ICTS UK Limited v Mahdi & Ors, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) held that post transfer events may be relevant in cases dealing with the ‘short term’ task exemption under the TUPE Regulations.

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What employment law changes can we expect in 2016?

2015 was a busy year in employment law. Shared parental leave was introduced in the spring, enabling eligible parents or adopters to share up to 50 week’s leave and 37 weeks’ statutory pay. The saga of calculating holiday pay rumbled on through the judicial system and we were there at the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) this month at the Lock v British Gas hearing, tweeting live with all the developments.

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Update on the appeal in Lock v British Gas

Lock v British Gas was back in the EAT this week and we were tweeting live from the hearing. The EAT heard submissions on behalf of British Gas, Mr Lock and the Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills (“BIS”).

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Calculation of holiday entitlement when working hours change

In the recent case of Greenfield v The Care Bureau Ltd the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) considered how an employer should calculate holiday entitlement where a worker has increased their working hours during the holiday leave year.

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Holiday pay and commission - issues to be discussed in the forthcoming appeal in Lock v British Gas

The case of Lock v British Gas Trading Limited will be heard by the Employment Appeal Tribunal (“EAT”) on the 8th and 9th of December, hopefully bringing employers a step closer to certainty over the position regarding commission and holiday pay.  In light of this, it is worth considering the developments so far and what answers we can expect from the EAT.

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