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Employment - Legal Updates

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May
30
2014

World Cup tips for employers
#Employment

Companies with football fans among their workforce could see some disruption within their business during June and July.   What can employers do to minimise this potential disruption whilst keeping employees engaged?   1.  Offer flexibility Allowing employees to watch matches during working hours will be very important to some employees and so could be a huge morale boost.  This flexibility cou...

May
29
2014

Constructive dismissal - delay in resigning
#Employment

It`s a well known principle that in order to claim constructive dismissal an employee should not delay when resigning in response to a fundamental breach of his/ her contract. Therefore, it was no surprise that the EAT held in the case of Cockram v Air Products plc that an employee who resigned but then proceeded to work a seven month notice period (his contractual notice period was three month...

May
29
2014

Engaging, communicating and energising employees
#Employment

The business case for engaging employees is well established. There is a huge body of evidence confirming that engagement drives many important areas such as income growth, productivity, innovation, employee retention and wellbeing.This paper is taken from a workshop first presented on 15th May 2014 by Michael Sippitt of Clarkslegal LLP, Samantha Gee of Innecto and James Poole and Scott Addison o...

May
23
2014

Holiday pay time bomb update
#Employment

Last December we reported on the Advocate General to the European Court of Justice`s opinion in the referred case of ZJR Lock v British Gas that, in order to comply with the Working Time Directive, holiday pay should include commission payments that would otherwise have been earned had the individual not been on holiday.  As anticipated, the ECJ, in issuing its full judgment, has confirmed this a...

May
22
2014

Unemployment reaches 5 year low
#Employment

The number of people unemployed in the UK has fallen to a five year low according to recent statistics released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). The number in both full and part time work increased and there was also a large rise in the numbers of self employed. The statistics show increasing signs of confidence and recovery in the economy, however as 868,000 young people (aged betwe...

May
22
2014

UNISON renews challenge to Tribunal fees
#Employment

UNISON has been granted permission to appeal the High Court`s rejection of its application for judicial review challenging the introduction of employment tribunal fees. The challenge had originally been brought on various grounds including excessively limiting the exercise of rights conferred by EU law and the level of the fees being discriminatory. As we noted in February, the High Court dismi...

May
22
2014

Premier League email sexism row
#Employment

The Premier League chief executive, Richard Scudamore is not to face action from the Premier League or the FA, for sexist comments contained in private emails, leaked to the media by a temporary PA. He has since apologised and described the email content as an "error of judgement". The premier league clubs said the emails contained inappropriate remarks but declined to take disciplinary action...

May
09
2014

4,000 people have contacted ACAS about Early Conciliation
#Employment

ACAS say that around 1000 people have contacted ACAS about Early Conciliation every week since its launch on 6 April and that 100 employers have also got in contacts to try ACAS Early Conciliation. ACAS Chairperson, Sir Brendan Barber, said, "Early Conciliation has got off to a very good start and has given us the chance to help more people resolve their disputes early as well as save taxpayers...

May
09
2014

Small businesses at risk of false references
#Employment

A survey 1,800 small firms  conducted by the Federation of Small Businesses and BBC1`s Fake Britain reveals that 17%  had discovered  job candidates with fraudulent references. The survey found that fraudulent  references are most common for entry level positions and mid-level positions, although 12 per cent were for management positions and two per cent were for director level positions. It is o...

May
02
2014

Would you agree to ACAS early conciliation? Your questions answered.
#Employment

You have probably heard already that from 6 May 2014, conciliation via ACAS becomes mandatory for claimants wishing to bring employment tribunal claims. If so, you may have heard of the new rules being referred to as "mandatory conciliation" or "early mandatory conciliation". As an employer, you may be wondering how a conciliation process can be mandatory. Mandatory for whom you may ask and also, what happens if you do not like what is being proposed in the conciliation process?...

May
02
2014

Labour to restrict zero hours contracts
#Employment

Zero hours contracts have always been a hot topic and not necessarily for the right reasons.   Whilst they offer a flexible approach for employers as there is no obligation to provide work; individuals who are engaged under these contracts have little protection and fewer employment rights than employees.  Those who oppose these contracts believe that they provide little stability and security to...

May
01
2014

Buddy Quiz April - how did you do?
#Employment

Thank you to everyone who completed the last Buddy Quiz, posted throughout April. We have posted the answers to the questions below so you can check how you did. 1. It is becoming increasingly easier for employees to secretly record disciplinary, appeal and grievance meetings, but, when are these recordings allowed as evidence before an employment tribunal? Secret recordings are never allowed...

May
01
2014

Men win equal pay case
#Employment

The University of Wales Trinity Saint David (UWTSD) recently announced that it had conceded claims for sex discrimination and equal pay for a group of its male caretakers and maintenance staff. UWTSD merged with Swansea Metropolitan University in August 2013 to become the men`s employer and in so doing also became liable for the consequences of contractual changes implemented by Swansea in 2007...

Apr
24
2014

War Horse: interfering with the Royal National Theatre`s "artistic freedom"
#Employment

In the case of Ashworth & Ors v The Royal National Theatre, the High Court dismissed an application which would force the Theatre to re-engage musicians who were replaced with pre-recorded music for the production War Horse.  The court concluded that to do so would interfere with the Theatre`s "artistic freedom".   Originally the Theatre used live music during its productions of War Horse. Howe...

Apr
23
2014

The persistent whistleblower - can an employer dismiss?
#Employment

If an employee "blows the whistle", any subsequent disciplinary action taken can result in a detriment claim or an automatically unfair dismissal claim (if the employee is dismissed).  There is no upper limit on the amount of compensation that can be awarded in these cases.  This can present difficulties for employers when managing an employee who raises multiple grievances and/or raises a grieva...

Apr
23
2014

Liability for claims for failure to inform and consult.
#Employment

The EAT in Allen v Morrisons Facilities Services Ltd has confirmed that the obligations to inform and consult employee representatives under Reg 13(2) of Tupe are vertical obligations between an employer (whether Transferee or Transferor) and its own employees. As such, any claims for failure to provide the required information must also be brought vertically by employees against their respective...

Apr
17
2014

When ignoring company principles can put you in breach of contract
#Employment

The case of IBM UK Holdings Ltd v Dalgleish shows that when it comes to making fundamental changes to employees` benefits and terms and conditions, the employer`s ethical standards and principles in dealing with its workforce can be relevant  when considering whether the changes were lawfully made.   IBM altered its pension arrangements to address a large deficit in the scheme.  The changes...

Apr
17
2014

Zero hours contracts are "abusive and exploitative and should be abolished"
#Employment

Zero hours contracts allow employers to hire staff with no guarantee of work.  Under such contracts, workers only work as and when they are needed by employers, often at short notice, and are only paid for the hours that they work. On 19 December 2013, BIS launched its consultation on zero hours contracts, which sought evidence on the use of such contracts and views on possible options.  The co...

Apr
11
2014

Long term sick HR drafting error not discrimination but made dismissal unfair
#Employment

In the recent case of Crime Reduction Initiatives (CRI) v Lawrence, the EAT held that a procedural error did not undermine an employer`s justification defence to a disability discrimination claim. However, it did make the dismissal unfair. Mrs Lawrence worked for CRI and, whilst on long-term sick leave, was assessed by Occupational Health as suffering from post-natal depression.  This was consid...

Apr
11
2014

Just when you thought you had heard them all! Top 10 excuses given for not paying the minimum wage…
#Employment

The national minimum wage (NMW) is a set minimum hourly rate of pay to which most workers are entitled.  All employers are obliged to pay NMW, irrespective of their size.   Despite being in place since 1999, it is hard to believe that some employers still do not pay NMW.  Interestingly, HMRC has revealed the 10 worst excuses given by employers, which include: "I don`t think my workers know an...

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