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Aug
07
2014

Government plans to stop temp agencies recruiting exclusively abroad
#Employment

BIS has recently published a consultation that aims to tackle recruitment agencies that discriminate against workers in Great Britain by advertising exclusively overseas, as part of wider plans on illegal working and penalising unscrupulous employers. Currently, under the legislation governing the recruitment sector, there are two legally defined types of business - employment agencies (often re...

Aug
07
2014

Is obesity a disability?
#Employment

Mr Kaltoft worked as a childminder for 15 years before he was dismissed. Throughout his employment, Mr Kaltoft had a BMI of over 40, making him ‘severely obese` according to World Health Organisation rankings. His employer alleged that Mr Kaltoft`s obesity prevented him from performing his role fully, for example, by making it impossible for him to bend down to tie the shoelaces of the children in his care (although it also denied that it dismissed him because of his obesity). Mr Kaltoft believed that he had been dismissed because of his obesity and brought a discrimination claim in a Danish District Court....

Aug
04
2014

Illegal immigrants can claim race discrimination against their employer
#Employment

In the rather harrowing case of Hounga v Allen, the Supreme Court has held that the fact that a domestic worker was working illegally in the UK was not a defence to her discrimination. Miss Hounga is a Nigerian national who came to the UK in 2007 aged 14 to work as an au pair for Mrs Allen under a visitor visa. This visa was obtained, with Miss Hounga`s permission, using a false passport and was...

Jul
31
2014

Freightliner holiday pay case settles but three other cases continue
#Employment

Neil v Freightliner, a key case on holiday pay, has settled in the Employment Appeal Tribunal. In this case the tribunal decided that Mr Neal`s holiday pay should have been calculated by reference to his normal earnings, which included overtime and shift pay. The case has been appealed and was expected that it would decide whether overtime should be included in the calculation of holiday pay. How...

Jul
31
2014

Restrictive covenants: courts cannot give effect to commercial common sense
#Employment

The Court of Appeal has reaffirmed the well established principle that whilst a court can generally interpret an ambiguous clause it cannot rewrite a clause on the grounds that it does not make common sense and is contrary to the intention of the parties.  Restrictive covenants are often used in employment contracts in order to guard against unfair competition.  They allow an employer to protect...

Jul
24
2014

Obesity can be a disability, European court says, relying on UN Convention
#Employment

We know that obesity is one of the most critical health issues facing the developed world, not least in Western Europe. The European Court of Justice now looks set to confirm, based on a preliminary opinion of the Court this week in a Danish case, that obesity, at least severe or "morbid" obesity can be a disability. In fact, leaving aside questions of European law, the Employment Appeal Tribuna...

Jul
24
2014

HR consultant`s costly drafting mistake put employees on higher band
#Employment

The EAT in the case of Hershaw and others v Sheffield City Council has held that an employer was bound by the rates of pay included in a grievance appeal letter that was written by a HR consultant. The Council had sought to reduce its patrol officers` pay following a pay review. The employees lodged a grievance so the Council engaged a HR consultant to investigate. Whilst the consultant had no a...

Jul
17
2014

Comet`s redundancy consultation failures result in £25 million potential protective award
#Employment

Last month the Leeds Employment Tribunal found that Deloitte, the administrators of Comet, had failed to consult with redundant employees.  The employees were entitled to awards of up to 90 days pay and it is expected that the total bill will be nearly £25 million. Background The Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 ("TULRCA") provides that employers proposing to dismiss mo...

Jul
15
2014

Routes for graduates
#Employment

The number of international graduates in the UK is increasing; approximately 219,000 study related visas were issued in 2013. However, once migrants have completed their studies, many will want to stay in the UK.  This note sets out some of the visa routes that graduates can explore if they want to stay in the UK post study. Tier 2 (General)   What is it?   Under this route graduates from ou...

Jul
10
2014

Cameron promises tighter strike laws
#Employment

David Cameron promised yesterday that the next Conservative manifesto will include a proposal to require a minimum turnout threshold when union members vote in an industrial action ballot. That would mean that there would have to be a minimum percentage threshold of eligible union members voting in favour of industrial action for the action to be lawful. At present, a simple majority of union mem...

Jul
10
2014

Met Police deleted investigation records in discrimination claim
#Employment

An employment tribunal has found that the Met Police told staff to delete records on sex and race discrimination against one of its employees. Firearms officer Carol Howard, 35, was "singled out and targeted" for nearly a year, a panel ruled. An officer looking at her complaints was asked to delete references in a report into discrimination related to race or sex, it said. The Met said it was "...

Jul
03
2014

Standard references: are they legal?
#Employment

There are at least three legal duties for an employer to consider when providing a reference. 1. Reasonable care and skill must be taken to ensure that the reference provided is true, accurate, fair and not misleading. If an inaccurate reference is provided, which could include a standard reference, the referee may be sued for negligent misstatement (www.practicallaw.com/6-107-6878)....

Jul
03
2014

Flexible working changes - Buddy`s new policy
#Employment

Due to the changes on flexible working that came in to force this week from 30 June 2014, a reminder that Employmentbuddy has updated our template Flexible Working Policy. Also this week, ACAS have also published a new flexible working code of practice and new homeworking guidance notes which should help employers understand the changes and how to handle requests appropriately. If you have any...

Jun
26
2014

Compulsory equal pay audits due in force from 1 October 2014.
#Employment

The government has issued a response to its consultation "Equal Pay Audits: A Further Consultation" launched in May 2013. The government will issue draft regulations setting out  minimum requirements for equal pay audits which a tribunal would be able to impose on employers found to be in breach of discrimination laws in relation to equal pay. These regulations are due to come into force on 1 Oct...

Jun
26
2014

Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill
#Employment

The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill was published yesterday. The following is outline of its proposals:. 1. a definition of a zero-hour contract, which seeks to make any clause which tries to stop the worker working for somebody else void. 2. a new system for enforcing tribunal awards: an `enforcement officer` will give a 28-day warning notice if a tribunal award remains unpaid....

Jun
26
2014

Zero hours: exclusivity clauses to be banned
#Employment

It was announced by the government this week that, as part of the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill, it will ban the use of exclusivity clauses and increase the availability of information on zero-hours contracts for employees. The government received more than 36,000 responses to its consultation, with 83% in favour of banning exclusivity clauses. The Business Secretary, Vince Cabl...

Jun
19
2014

UK law on disclosure of spent convictions is a violation of human rights, Supreme Court confirms
#Employment

The Supreme Court has confirmed that UK laws concerning compulsory disclosure of criminal offences for individuals seeking to work with children are a violation of the right to respect for private life under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Certain professional bodies and employers are permitted to request Enhanced Criminal Record Certificates ("ECRCs"). ECRCs disclose ever...

Jun
19
2014

Holiday pay: European Court rules that accrued leave must be guaranteed, including on employee`s death
#Employment

The issue of holiday pay and interpretation of the Working Time Directive remains a hot topic across the EU, not just in the UK.  At the end of July, the EAT is due to hear Neal v Freightliner Ltd and Fulton and another v Bear Scotland Ltd to determine whether overtime pay must be included in calculation of holiday pay. However, the outcome of these cases will be determined largely by how the Eur...

Jun
13
2014

Failure to put new evidence to employees before dismissing could make the process unfair
#Employment

If a manager conducts further investigations and interviews after a disciplinary meeting, but doesn`t then revert to the employee before deciding to dismiss, that may make the dismissal unfair (Yeung v Capstone Care Ltd [2013] UKEAT/0161/13). In Yeung v Capstone Care, the claimant had worked as a carer at a home for vulnerable adults. Her colleagues alleged that she had verbally and physically a...

Jun
13
2014

Absence Management - pull the other one!
#Employment

Do these sound familiar…  "A can of baked beans landed on my toe" "My dog had a big fright and I don`t want to leave him" "My trousers split on the way into work" "My fish is sick" "I slipped on a coin" "I`ve had a hair dye disaster" These are just some of the 25 silly excuses recently published by Activ Absence Control as having been used by staff to miss to work.  Whilst these do provid...

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