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Mar
07
2014

Abolition of statutory discrimination questionnaires from 6 April 2014
#Employment

The Order that abolishes the Equality Act`s statutory discrimination questionnaires has now been published. This will mean that individuals won`t be able to obtain information from their employers using the prescribed questionnaire procedure where the discriminatory acts complained of take place on or after 6 April 2014. The procedure can still be used for acts occurring before this date though....

Feb
28
2014

Buddy update - flexible working
#Employment

We recently reported that the new changes surrounding an employee`s right to request flexible working arrangements had been delayed. The new rules were due to come into force on 6 April 2014, however, the government has since announced a new implementation date of 30 June 2014....

Feb
28
2014

Failure to make reasonable adjustments was a continuing act
#Employment

In the recent case of Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (Jobcentre Plus) v Jamil and others the EAT held that an employer`s failure to make reasonable adjustments was a continuing act and not a one-off omission meaning that the three month time limit to bring a claim did not start running from the date of the initial failure. Under the Equality Act 2010, if a disabled person is put at a s...

Feb
28
2014

A person`s name is personal data
#Employment

An individual (data subject) has the right to access personal data about them from anyone who may hold this (data controller) and can write to the data controller to request sight of this data.  This can be done as a data subject access request or, where the request is made of a public authority, a freedom of information request.  Personal data is defined as data which relates to a living indivi...

Feb
27
2014

New tribunal award limits set to increase from 6 April 2014
#Employment

The limits on employment tribunal awards and other amounts payable will increase on 6 April 2014. See our updated HR Facts & Figures. In cases involving dismissal, the new limits will apply where the effective date of termination falls on or after 6 April 2014....

Feb
21
2014

Update on union sweetheart deals and breach of European Law
#Employment

On 31st January 2013 we reported on a recent High Court case in which it was held that recognition agreements with ‘sweetheart unions` which effectively ‘block` statutory recognition from being sought are in breach of Article 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights. The High Court withheld its final order in this case and gave the union involved - the Pharmacists` Defence Association Union...

Feb
21
2014

Over 1 in 3 working fathers offered no flexibility by their employers
#Employment

According to a survey by My Family Care, reported by the BBC today: 22% of men questioned wish they had looked after their children rather than returning to work (approximately the same for women) Over 33% told researchers that they worked full-time and were offered no flexibility at all by their employers The survey was commissioned to help launch the Work and Family Show, which begins in...

Feb
21
2014

ACAS early conciliation: comes in from 6 April 2014 and is mandatory from 6 May 2014
#Employment

The ACAS early conciliation (EC) procedures for tribunal claims will come into force on 6 April 2014. Transitional provisions cover the period between 6 April and 5 May 2014 during which EC will be available to prospective claimants. EC will be mandatory for claims presented on or after 6 May 2014. Other points to notes are that following some changes to the draft rules, as an alternative to su...

Feb
21
2014

Dismissal fair despite employer`s failure to follow independent panel`s decision on appeal
#Employment

The EAT has found that an employer who had dismissed an employee for gross misconduct was not required to follow the decision of an independent panel, who had heard the employee`s appeal and which overturned the employer`s decision to dismiss. The fact that the employer did not implement the panel`s decision did not render the dismissal unfair. Importantly, the tribunal had found that the empl...

Feb
14
2014

Is an end user liable for act an of discrimination committed by a subcontractor?
#Employment

Unlawful acts (other than criminal offences) committed by employees in the course of their employment are treated as also having been done by their employer for discrimination law purposes. An employer may therefore be vicariously liable for an employee`s act of race discrimination, whether or not it was done with the employer`s knowledge or approval. But what about contract workers? The Court o...

Feb
14
2014

Tribunal fees: UNISON legal challenge fails but fees may be recovered from respondents.
#Employment

UNISON`s attempt to challenge to the introduction of fees in the employment tribunals and EAT by way of judicial review in the High Court has failed. The High Court found that the fundamental difficulty with the case was that it had been brought prematurely and that, as a result, the robust evidence needed to persuade it to overturn the fees regime had been absent. However, the Court made it clea...

Feb
07
2014

The holiday pay time bomb? Help the CBI to lobby the Government
#Employment

In view of some recent cases involving UK employers and interpretation of the EC Working Time Directive, particularly in the European Court of Justice (ECJ), employers may be significantly underpaying holiday pay. The Directive regulates not just working hours and holiday entitlement. It also regulates, according to the ECJ, the calculation of holiday pay, even though the Directive does not spell that out....

Feb
03
2014

Buddy Quiz January - how did you do?
#Employment

Thank you to everyone who completed the last Buddy Quiz, posted throughout January. We have posted the answers to the questions below so you can check how you did! Question One According to the important decision of the Advocate General in the recent case of ZJR Lock v British Gas, what should the calculation of holiday pay include? A1. All commission payments. A2. Payments which are intrinsi...

Jan
31
2014

Sweetheart union deals breach European law
#Employment

An independent trade union seeking to be recognised by an employer may apply for statutory recognition from the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC).   However, a trade union is prevented from seeking recognition  where there is already a recognition agreement in place which entitles another trade union to ‘collectively bargain` on behalf of any workers in the bargaining unit.  With this in mind...

Jan
31
2014

Settlement agreement was still without prejudice even though discussions were "amicable"
#Employment

Employers, particularly HR practitioners, need to be very careful before getting into discussions with employees over possible termination of employment. The risk is that the employee will rely on those discussions in a tribunal claim later on if agreement is not reached.  In an interesting case concerning settlement agreements, the EAT (overturning an Employment Tribunal`s decision) has held tha...

Jan
24
2014

New right for all employees to request flexible working delayed
#Employment

We recently reported that as of 6 April 2014 new rules governing the right to request flexible working under the Children and Families Bill would be introduced.   Currently only employees with at least 26 weeks` continuous employment who have children under the age of 17 (18 if the child is disabled) or who are carers have the right to request flexible working.  Furthermore, specific statutory p...

Jan
23
2014

Woolworth`s case referred to the European Court of Justice
#Employment

At the hearing this week, the Court of Appeal has referred the Woolworth`s and Ethel Austin cases to the European Court of Justice. Confirmation is now awaited as to exactly what questions to be considered by the ECJ. John Hannett - Usdaw General Secretary said: ‘We are pleased that this case is going to be heard at the highest level and that we will get a definitive decision. Exactly how defin...

Jan
17
2014

Tougher penalties for failure to pay the national minimum wage from February 2014
#Employment

The government has published the draft National Minimum Wage (Variation of Financial Penalty) Regulations 2014 under which employers who fail to pay workers the national minimum wage (NMW) will face tougher penalties from next month. The maximum fine for anyone failing to pay the statutory level will increase from £5,000 to £20,000. The NMW for the period 1 October 2013 to 30 September 2014 for...

Jan
17
2014

Some key employment law cases to look out for in 2014
#Employment

Holiday pay Neal v Freightliner Ltd (EAT) An employment tribunal has held that a worker`s overtime should be included in the calculation of holiday pay. This decision has been appealed to the EAT but at present the case at the sift stage, awaiting to hear if the judge will allow the appeal to proceed to a full hearing. Lock v British Gas Trading Ltd (ECJ) Closely related to the Neal case, an...

Jan
16
2014

Buddy Quiz - how did you do?
#Employment

Thank you to everyone who completed the last Buddy Quiz, posted throughout December. We have posted the answers to the questions below so you can check how you did! QUESTION 1 As reported in the Buddy Weekly Bulletin on 8 November 2013, how many non-EU seasonal workers does the EU Commission estimate come to the EU every year? a)      Over 25,000b)      Over 50,000c)       Over 75,000d)      O...

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