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Employment - Legal Updates

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Aug
28
2014

"Religiously orientated" swear words in Christian`s presence was not harassment
#Employment

Using expletives with religious overtones can be common to hear on the street and when talking to friends or colleagues.  For example, language such as "Oh my God" and "Jesus Christ" can be used to express surprise and disgust.  In M v P Care Home Ltd the Employment Tribunal ("the ET") assessed whether these expletives with religious overtones amounted to religious harassment. M, a Christian car...

Aug
21
2014

Illegal inducements to union members
#Employment

There are some relatively unknown and underused legal provisions which make it unlawful for employers to make any kind of offer directly to a unionised employee, for example a new bonus scheme, which could be construed as an attempt to induce the employee to give up collective bargaining rights. However, the fact that at least three cases were heard on this point last year could be an indication...

Aug
21
2014

TUPE: where there is a change of client and "tasks of short term duration"
#Employment

It is a rule that in relation to a TUPE service provision change that the client for whom the services are provided must be the same before and after the transfer. This rule derives from the Court of Appeal case of Hunter v McCarrick [2013] IRLR 26. In a further recent case on the issue, Horizon Security Services Limited v (1) Ndeze (2) The PCS Group, the client had changed when a management comp...

Aug
14
2014

Shared parental leave
#Employment

In July 2014 the Government published the final Shared Parental leave Regulations. The new Regulations were introduced in order to offer greater flexibility for new parents in deciding who will take parental leave to look after the baby. (This topic was covered in a previous employment buddy blog at the end of November when the Government announced its commitment to introducing new regulations.)...

Aug
14
2014

Government may end £30,000 tax exemption on termination payments
#Employment

The Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) has recently published its final report which includes the taxation of termination payments as well as considering some other areas. Termination payments Currently, although payments and benefits received in connection with a termination of employment are taxable, the first £30,000 can be paid tax free, provided it is genuinely paid on account of redundanc...

Aug
14
2014

OTS to review rules on employment status
#Employment

The OTS has also announced that it will be reviewing the current rules determining the divide between employment and self-employment, an uncertain and complex area for businesses, particularly in light of the increasing diversity of working practices. The OTS will consider whether existing rules create uncertainty and who this impacts, as well as trends in employment law, HMRC guidance and how ot...

Aug
07
2014

Buddy Quiz July - How did you do?
#Employment

Thank you to everyone who completed the last Buddy Quiz, posted throughout July. We have posted the answers to the questions below so you can check how you did. 1. The Queen`s Speech identified various employment law proposals which included higher penalties for    employers who fail to pay the minimum wage. However, what is the current minimum wage for those aged    21 and over? £6.31 per...

Aug
07
2014

Government plans to stop temp agencies recruiting exclusively abroad
#Employment

BIS has recently published a consultation that aims to tackle recruitment agencies that discriminate against workers in Great Britain by advertising exclusively overseas, as part of wider plans on illegal working and penalising unscrupulous employers. Currently, under the legislation governing the recruitment sector, there are two legally defined types of business - employment agencies (often re...

Aug
07
2014

Is obesity a disability?
#Employment

Mr Kaltoft worked as a childminder for 15 years before he was dismissed. Throughout his employment, Mr Kaltoft had a BMI of over 40, making him ‘severely obese` according to World Health Organisation rankings. His employer alleged that Mr Kaltoft`s obesity prevented him from performing his role fully, for example, by making it impossible for him to bend down to tie the shoelaces of the children in his care (although it also denied that it dismissed him because of his obesity). Mr Kaltoft believed that he had been dismissed because of his obesity and brought a discrimination claim in a Danish District Court....

Aug
04
2014

Illegal immigrants can claim race discrimination against their employer
#Employment

In the rather harrowing case of Hounga v Allen, the Supreme Court has held that the fact that a domestic worker was working illegally in the UK was not a defence to her discrimination. Miss Hounga is a Nigerian national who came to the UK in 2007 aged 14 to work as an au pair for Mrs Allen under a visitor visa. This visa was obtained, with Miss Hounga`s permission, using a false passport and was...

Jul
31
2014

Restrictive covenants: courts cannot give effect to commercial common sense
#Employment

The Court of Appeal has reaffirmed the well established principle that whilst a court can generally interpret an ambiguous clause it cannot rewrite a clause on the grounds that it does not make common sense and is contrary to the intention of the parties.  Restrictive covenants are often used in employment contracts in order to guard against unfair competition.  They allow an employer to protect...

Jul
31
2014

Freightliner holiday pay case settles but three other cases continue
#Employment

Neil v Freightliner, a key case on holiday pay, has settled in the Employment Appeal Tribunal. In this case the tribunal decided that Mr Neal`s holiday pay should have been calculated by reference to his normal earnings, which included overtime and shift pay. The case has been appealed and was expected that it would decide whether overtime should be included in the calculation of holiday pay. How...

Jul
24
2014

Obesity can be a disability, European court says, relying on UN Convention
#Employment

We know that obesity is one of the most critical health issues facing the developed world, not least in Western Europe. The European Court of Justice now looks set to confirm, based on a preliminary opinion of the Court this week in a Danish case, that obesity, at least severe or "morbid" obesity can be a disability. In fact, leaving aside questions of European law, the Employment Appeal Tribuna...

Jul
24
2014

HR consultant`s costly drafting mistake put employees on higher band
#Employment

The EAT in the case of Hershaw and others v Sheffield City Council has held that an employer was bound by the rates of pay included in a grievance appeal letter that was written by a HR consultant. The Council had sought to reduce its patrol officers` pay following a pay review. The employees lodged a grievance so the Council engaged a HR consultant to investigate. Whilst the consultant had no a...

Jul
17
2014

Comet`s redundancy consultation failures result in £25 million potential protective award
#Employment

Last month the Leeds Employment Tribunal found that Deloitte, the administrators of Comet, had failed to consult with redundant employees.  The employees were entitled to awards of up to 90 days pay and it is expected that the total bill will be nearly £25 million. Background The Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 ("TULRCA") provides that employers proposing to dismiss mo...

Jul
15
2014

Routes for graduates
#Employment

The number of international graduates in the UK is increasing; approximately 219,000 study related visas were issued in 2013. However, once migrants have completed their studies, many will want to stay in the UK.  This note sets out some of the visa routes that graduates can explore if they want to stay in the UK post study. Tier 2 (General)   What is it?   Under this route graduates from ou...

Jul
10
2014

Cameron promises tighter strike laws
#Employment

David Cameron promised yesterday that the next Conservative manifesto will include a proposal to require a minimum turnout threshold when union members vote in an industrial action ballot. That would mean that there would have to be a minimum percentage threshold of eligible union members voting in favour of industrial action for the action to be lawful. At present, a simple majority of union mem...

Jul
10
2014

Met Police deleted investigation records in discrimination claim
#Employment

An employment tribunal has found that the Met Police told staff to delete records on sex and race discrimination against one of its employees. Firearms officer Carol Howard, 35, was "singled out and targeted" for nearly a year, a panel ruled. An officer looking at her complaints was asked to delete references in a report into discrimination related to race or sex, it said. The Met said it was "...

Jul
03
2014

Standard references: are they legal?
#Employment

There are at least three legal duties for an employer to consider when providing a reference. 1. Reasonable care and skill must be taken to ensure that the reference provided is true, accurate, fair and not misleading. If an inaccurate reference is provided, which could include a standard reference, the referee may be sued for negligent misstatement (www.practicallaw.com/6-107-6878)....

Jul
03
2014

Flexible working changes - Buddy`s new policy
#Employment

Due to the changes on flexible working that came in to force this week from 30 June 2014, a reminder that Employmentbuddy has updated our template Flexible Working Policy. Also this week, ACAS have also published a new flexible working code of practice and new homeworking guidance notes which should help employers understand the changes and how to handle requests appropriately. If you have any...

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