Some key employment law cases to look out for in 2014
17 January 2014
Collective redundancy consultation
- Usdaw v Ethel Austin Ltd (in administration); Usdaw and another v WW Realisation 1 Ltd and others (Court of Appeal) The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) held that the words “at one establishment” are to be disregarded in relation to section 188 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992. Hence, an employer that is proposing 20 or more redundancies across the whole organisation within a period of 90 days or less will have collective consultation obligations. The case is floating for hearing on 21 or 22 January 2014 in the Court of Appeal.
- Lyttle and others v Bluebird UK Bidco 2 Ltd (ECJ) Very closely related to the USDAW case above, a Northern Ireland tribunal has asked the European Court of Justice (ECJ) clarification of what is meant by “establishment” for the purposes of European law. The application was lodged on 12 April 2013.
- United States of America v Nolan (Court of Appeal) The ECJ held that it has no jurisdiction in the matter and hence the case returns to the Court of Appeal. Guidance is awaited as to when the obligation to consult collectively on redundancies is triggered. Judgment was reserved on 18 November 2013 and the outcome is awaited.
- Pharmacists’ Defence Association Union v Boots Management Services Ltd (High Court) The Central Arbitration Committee has ruled that a trade union could proceed with its application for statutory recognition even though Boots had already entered into an agreement with a different union covering the same employees. It was considered that the relevant legislation which deals with the admissibility of applications for union recognition, is not compliant with art.11 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which covers the right to freedom of assembly and association. Judgment was reserved in the High Court on 30 October 2013.
- Walker v Innospec Ltd and others (EAT) The employment tribunal held that the Equality Act 2010 fails to provide the required protection under EU law for a couple in a civil partnership who were denied accrual of benefits to which married couples were entitled under a pension scheme. The EAT is to consider the appeal on 22 to 24 January 2014 .
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