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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...

Jan
10
2014

When is an agency worker not a `temp` under the Agency Workers Regulations 2010?
#Employment

Agency workers are often referred to colloquially as being temporary workers or ‘temps`, as a distinction from directly recruited, usually permanent staff. The recent case of Moran v Ideal Cleaning Services and Celanese Acetate Ltd in the EAT, however, has highlighted just how important that phrase is to the scope of the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 (AWR) and indeed the European Directive upon...

Jan
10
2014

Holding and Manifesting a Religious Belief, what`s the difference?
#Employment

An employee`s beliefs may or may not be known to an employer but issues can arise if these beliefs are manifested in the workplace. Does the law clearly distinguish between the protection it gives for holding a belief and the level of protection for how this belief is manifested? No, according to the Employment Appeal Tribunal in the recent case of Grace v Places for Children. In Grace the Clai...

Jan
10
2014

Auto enrolment - don`t get a fine of up to £10,000 a day!
#Employment

As has been well publicised, since 1 October 2012 every employer in the UK has been supplied with a staging date to automatically enroll eligible workers in a pension scheme and pay mandatory contributions. This is the biggest change to workplace pension provision in a generation. There is a need to relieve the pressure on the Government`s finances caused by a workforce who are living longer but...

Jan
09
2014

Is it reasonable to dismiss taking into account a previous final written warning for which the appeal hearing has not yet held?
#Employment

In the case of Susan Rooney -v- Dundee City Council, the Employment Tribunal held that it was within the reasonable band of responses for the employer to do this.  The Employment Appeal Tribunal (UKEATS/0020/13), in considering the Tribunal`s decision, has upheld this decision.   Background Ms Rooney was a cashier supervisor for the Council.  She received a final written warning in September 2...

Jan
09
2014

Charity calls for statutory bereavement leave
#Employment

A report by the charity, National Council for Palliative Care, has called for the government to introduce statutory bereavement leave for when a close relative dies.   The report found that a third of workers bereaved in the last five years did not feel their employer treated them with compassion.  It suggests that as well as statutory bereavement leave, a few kind words of condolence by a m...

Jan
02
2014

2014 employment law changes
#Employment

2013 has seen significant changes for the Employment Tribunal system and there have been important changes in employment law which we have blogged about and written articles about throughout 2013 on buddy. But what does 2014 hold? Below are some of the major changes which will happen in 2014, the dates for some of the changes have been confirmed and others are awaited....

Dec
27
2013

Robertson jam`s golly deemed racist
#Employment

The question of whether the term ‘golliwog` is racist has been in the news over the last couple of weeks.  There has been the Court of Appeal ruling that the term ‘golliwog` can be  racist, whilst also in the news is the disciplinary action taken against a Sussex councillor for her comments about gollys.   Court of Appeal case One of the issues before the Court of Appeal in the case of London...

Dec
20
2013

Employees` right to be accompanied by companion of his choice: EAT decision
#Employment

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has confirmed (Roberts -v- GB Oils Ltd UKEAT/-177/13/DM) that an employee invited to a disciplinary hearing should be allowed to be accompanied by a work colleague or trade union official of his choice. The employer should not reject the requested companion on the basis that they consider the companion to be unsuitable. Background The appellant, Mr Roberts, had be...

Dec
18
2013

Unfair dismissal when school caretaker sacked for alleged historical sex abuse
#Employment

The Employment Appeal Tribunal last week upheld the Tribunal`s finding that a school caretaker had been unfairly dismissed following an allegation of sexual abuse (Z v A UKEAT/0203/13/SM).   Facts The caretaker worked for a primary school.  In March 2010 an allegation was made to the police that he had, some time before his employment began, sexually abused a child.  The police subsequently...

Dec
13
2013

Duty on employer to consider if employee is disabled - even when occupational health says no disability
#Employment

This was the finding of the Court of Appeal in the case of Mr Gallop -v- Newport City Council [2013] EWCA Civ 1583.   Background Mr Gallop had worked for the Council from 1997.  He informed the Council in 2004 that he was suffering from stress and identified various symptoms. From this time he suffered from various other episodes, of which the Council were made aware including from his s...

Dec
10
2013

Holiday pay should include commission
#Employment

In advance of an ECJ decision, the Advocate General's opinion in the referred case of ZJR Lock v British Gas, is that calculation of holiday pay should include taking account of commission payments, which would otherwise have been earned. ECJ caselaw has previously held that workers should receive "normal remuneration" for time taken as holiday, in order to avoid deterring individuals from takin...

Dec
10
2013

Christians can be required to work Sundays if it is "proportionate" says Court of Appeal
#Employment

The Court of Appeal has recently given its judgment on whether requiring a Christian to work Sundays amounted to indirect religious discrimination (Celestina Mba -v- Merton London Borough Council [2013] EWCA Civ 1562).  In this case, it was held that there was no discrimination.   The facts Ms Mba was a practising Christian and she held a deep and sincere belief that Sunday is a day for worksh...

Dec
10
2013

Are you making provision for commision when calculating holiday pay? Full ECJ decision awaited
#Employment

In advance of an ECJ decision, the Advocate General`s opinion in the referred case of ZJR Lock v British Gas, is that calculation of holiday pay should include taking account of commission payments, which would otherwise have been earned. ECJ caselaw has previously held that workers should receive "normal remuneration" for time taken as holiday, in order to avoid deterring individuals from takin...

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