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Employment - Legal Updates

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Jul
05
2013

EC law means more collective redundancies for employers - Woolworths case brings sudden end to "establishment" test
#Employment

As reported in our blog on 7 June 2013, the Employment Appeal Tribunal has allowed an appeal by the union, USDAW, which fundamentally changes the application of the collective redundancy laws in the UK - subject to any appeal. The change has come about as a result of the decision by the EAT to apply UK employment law in conformity with EC Directive and will impose a significant burden on employers, particularly larger employers. This will be frustrating for the government, having reduced in April of this year the 90 day consultation period for large redundancy exercises to 45 days, in an attempt to reduce the burden....

Jul
05
2013

Judicial Review of Tribunal Fees
#Employment

The Government`s intention to introduce Tribunal fees from 29th July 2013 is quite possibly the most controversial change to the Employment Tribunal procedure that they have made to date....

Jun
28
2013

Chinese workers release their boss as strikes become problem for China
#Employment

A week later and finally Chip Starnes, from the US, president of Specialty Medical Supplies, is able to leave his office, after being barricaded in by his own employees at a factory in China....

Jun
28
2013

Employer made "mistake": £1.3 million bonus settlement was subject to tax despite no tax deduction clause
#Employment

In a dispute over whether tax was payable on a very large settlement sum, the High Court  has determined (no doubt, to the huge relief of the employer) that the proper construction of a clause "to pay £1,350,000" was that the sum was to be paid net of tax (that is, after deduction of income tax). The clause did not say that tax was deductible. The parties agreed that: The settlement sum was su...

Jun
26
2013

What if your top performer ends up like Nadal?
#Employment

With Wimbledon being televised this week, many people have tuned into the endless grunts and back hands of the tennis stars, including former number 1, Spanish favourite, Rafael Nadal. However this year, he was knocked out in the first round to Steve Darcis, ranked 135th  in the world.Nadal was expected to perform at a high standard, so when he was surprisingly kicked out this early on in the com...

Jun
21
2013

UNISON brings legal challenge to employment tribunal fees
#Employment

UNISON has confirmed that is making an application to the High Court to challenge the introduction of fees in the employment tribunal system. This is a judicial review of the Ministry of Justice`s decision to introduce employment tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal fees from 29 July 2013. UNISON argues that these charges will make it ‘virtually impossible` for workers to exercise their employ...

Jun
21
2013

Zero-hours contracts under review by Government
#Employment

The Government is to review the use of controversial "zero-hours" contracts under which employees are put on standby and not guaranteed a minimum amount of work....

Jun
18
2013

"Never volunteer" in the Army - except when it comes to redundancies.
#Employment

The Government is set to reduce the number of regular soldiers by nearly 4,500, 84 per cent of whom have volunteered to be made redundant. Following a defence review in 2010, this 3rd round of cuts further emphasises the Governments plan to reduce the number of regular soldiers to 82,000 by 2017. At the same time, there is a planned 100 per cent increase in the number of reservists from 15,000 to...

Jun
13
2013

Employees who breached consent order sentenced to 6 months in jail
#Employment

X and Y were employed by F, a producer of food stuffs. Y setup a competitor company (Z). F made a without notice application alleging tha tX had covertly passed sensitive information to Y and Z about F`s business. The High Court issued an order restricting X and Y from dealing with F`s confidential information. At a later hearing, X and Y agreed to a consent order that X wasnot to work in any busine...

Jun
10
2013

Serial litigant Employees - 1 vs Employers - 0
#Employment

In Woodhouse v West North West Homes Leeds Ltd [2013] UKEAT0007, the EAT upheld the appeal of an employee who had brought ten internal grievanceclaims alleging race discrimination and seven separate employment tribunalclaims against his employer over a period of four years. The EAT held that theemployee`s claims were protected acts as they had not been made in bad faith.   The employee`s claim...

Jun
07
2013

Landmark collective consultation case that disregards the establishment
#Employment

It has been reported that the EAT has decided that the establishment test for collective redundancies is to be "disregarded" and that all employers making over 20 redundancies within a 90 day period must collectively consult, regardless of whether those employees work in one place or whether they are based at different ‘establishments`.  This has huge implications for employers, particularly lar...

Jun
06
2013

The creation of a new employment status - `Employee Shareholder Status`
#Employment

The Government proposed the creation of new employee shareholder contracts via the Growth and Infrastructure Bill. After two initial rejections and then gaining concessions from the Government, the Bill has become law after the House of Lords accepted the further concessions and the Bill received Royal Assent on 25 April 2013. Implementation of these changes, however, is likely to be on 1 September 2013....

Jun
06
2013

Date for diary - Financial penalties for employers who lose at tribunal
#Employment

The provisions relating to financial penalties on employers come into force in respect of any tribunal claim presented on or after 25th October 2013.  Where an employer loses a claim (i.e. it is found to have breached any worker`s rights) and the breach has  "one or more aggravating features" then a tribunal may order the employer to pay a penalty to the Secretary of State of between £100 and £...

May
31
2013

Compulsory retirement at 65 was justified: Seldon case
#Employment

Mr Seldon was a partner in a firm of solicitors.  He brought a claim of age discrimination against them when he was forced to retire at age 65 under the partnership`s mandatory rules. Last year, the Supreme Court sent his claim back to the employment tribunal. They considered a number of issues relating to justification (the main one being whether 65 was an appropriate age for mandatory retireme...

May
30
2013

Tribunals will charge fees for bringing employment claims from 29 July 2013
#Employment

HM Courts & Tribunal Service has announced that the date for the implementation of fees into the employment tribunals and Employment Appeal Tribunal will be Monday 29 July 2013.Subject to the necessary Parliamentary approvals, from this date all claims and appeals will be subject either to a fee or an application for fee remission. However, claims already lodged will not be subject to any fees....

May
21
2013

ACAS Code can apply to SOSR dismissals
#Employment

The ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures (the Code) sets out guidance to be followed in ‘disciplinary situations` and expressly states that this includes dismissals for misconduct and poor performance.  A failure to follow the Code can result in a Tribunal making either an uplift or reduction in any award (depending on who is at fault) of up to 25%.     Whilst clearly s...

May
21
2013

Methodist minister was not an employee
#Employment

The Supreme Court has overturned the decisions of the EAT and Court of Appeal and held that a Methodist minister was not an employee and so could not bring an unfair dismissal claim. In the case of Methodist Conference v Preston the claimant was a superintendent minister to a group of congregations in Cornwall. She was entitled to accommodation, holiday and sick pay, a pension and a stipend (a...

May
17
2013

Survey suggests whistle-blowers are ignored
#Employment

The BBC has reported that a survey carried out by the charity Public Concern at Work has found that 60% of whistle-blowers who voice fears about their workplace receive no response at all from their managers. The survey also found that of 1,000 whistle-blowers questioned, 19% were disciplined or demoted after voicing their concerns and 15% were dismissed. The results of the survey come ahead of...

May
15
2013

Right to work checks - don`t get caught out
#Employment

With UK immigration policy being a constant political hot potato and changes being made to the immigration rules seemingly continuously, employers may have a hard time keeping up to date. As a minimum, though, all employers should be carrying out right to work checks on their staff to avoid breaching the immigration rules. Why do the checks? Under the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 200...

May
10
2013

Queen`s Speech: tougher rules announced for immigrants
#Employment

In her speech on the 8 May 2013 at the state opening of Parliament, the Queen announced the Home Office are to introduce more new tougher laws to tackle immigration. The announcement follows the recent major overhaul of the Immigration Rules. The Queen said an Immigration Bill will aim to "ensure that this country attracts people who will contribute and deter those who will not". There are a...

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