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Dec
06
2013

A minister can be an employee or a worker
#Employment

In May this year we blogged on the case of Methodist Conference v Preston in which the Supreme Court held that it should not be presumed that there is no intention to create legal relations when appointing a minister purely because the role being carried out was a spiritual one.  In the more recent case of Sharpe v Worcester Diocesan Board of Finance Ltd and another, the EAT had to consider whet...

Dec
06
2013

B&B double bed policy discriminated on basis of sexual orientation
#Employment

When manifestation of a protected characteristic by one individual interferes with another individual`s rights through a separate protected characteristic, this will be unlawful discrimination confirmed the Supreme Court recently in Bull v Hall. In this case, the particular rights in question involved the devout Christian beliefs of hotel owners and the rights of a gay couple in a civil partners...

Dec
06
2013

Ill health dismissals guidance
#Employment

In a dismissal for capability following sickness absence, the Court of Session has stated in BS v Dundee City Council that the fairness and reasonableness of the employer`s decision, depends upon consideration of three issues:  1.     Whether the employer could be expected to wait any longer for the employee to return from their absence - including considering the costs of continued employment (...

Dec
06
2013

Key changes to TUPE due in force in January 2014
#Employment

Changes to TUPE are due to come into force in January 2014, driven by complaints from parts of the business sector that the UK`s TUPE regulations went further than the requirements placed on member states by the Acquired Rights Directive for the safeguarding of employee rights in the event of a business transfer or service provision change....

Nov
29
2013

New right to shared parental leave confirmed from April 2015
#Employment

The government has confirmed this week its commitment to introducing a year of shared leave for new parents from April 2015. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said the rights would allow men to become more hands-on fathers and stop women feeling they have to choose between a career or a baby. There should not be a "one-size-fits-all" approach, he added. Since April 2011, fathers and mothers hav...

Nov
28
2013

Boiling over?: TUPE decision
#Employment

When a client contracted to build boilers at a power station changed sub-contractors, the employees of the previous sub-contractor (A) claimed that they had transferred to the new sub-contractor (B).   The Employment Tribunal which first considered this decided that there had been a TUPE service provision change.  This was on this basis that the work of B would not be of a short-term duration....

Nov
22
2013

The perils of Christmas parties
#Employment

A decision of the employment tribunal this week is a timely reminder about employee`s behaviour at Christmas parties.   Last Christmas, Virgin Media organised a festive party at which Tracy Cordiner, their employee, attended.  She had too much to drink (which she later admitted) and allegedly made inappropriate and racist comments about her colleagues as well as allegedly sexually harassing...

Nov
22
2013

Union "leverage tactics" sparks QC inquiry into industrial relations
#Employment

The government has launched an inquiry into trade union tactics following the dispute at the Grangemouth petrochemical plant, which almost led to its closure. The review, headed by Bruce Carr QC, will examine whether the law needs to be tightened up to prevent "intimidation" and "harassment".   However, the inquiry will make recommendations about the roles of ministers, employers and workers in...

Nov
15
2013

Ex-Channel 4 presenter loses age discrimination claim
#Employment

John McCririck was a horse racing broadcaster for Channel 4 for 28 years.  In 2012 he was let go aged 72. McCririck claimed this was because Channel 4, and the TV production company IMG Media Limited, were ageist and wanted to hire younger faces.   McCririck has always been known for his flamboyant dress sense.  But over more recent years he has also been known for his chauvinistic outbursts on...

Nov
15
2013

Prison officers disciplined for wearing "We have Madeleine McCann" t-shirts
#Employment

It has been reported that five prison officers from Wandsworth Prison in South London have been disciplined by their employer for wearing t-shirts with the words "We have Madeleine McCann" printed on them whilst on a boys` night out. The Prison Service was alerted to photographs of the officers on Facebook some two months after the photographs originally appeared on the site.   One of the offic...

Nov
14
2013

Sleeping on the job - and National Minimum Wage
#Employment

The Employment Appeal Tribunal  in Whittlestone -v- BJP Home Support Ltd has recently considered whether time spent sleeping on a job and travelling for work should be paid at the National MinimumWage. Mrs Whittlestone was a care worker.  For part of her role, she worked a shift from 11pm to 7am which was termed a ‘sleepover` to provide potential physical care for three young adults suffering fr...

Nov
08
2013

Draft TUPE regulations published
#Employment

The government has published the draft Collective Redundancies and Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (Amendment) Regulations 2013. The draft regulations reflect the government`s response to the consultation on proposed changes to TUPE, which was published in September 2013. The draft regulations will be laid before Parliament in December and are expected to come into force in Ja...

Nov
08
2013

City banker discriminated against by "bunga-bunga bank"
#Employment

The Times reports today on the case of a female equity salesperson who has won her employment tribunal case where she claimed that she had her £95,000 salary cut to the £6.08 per hour minimum wage  "because she was a woman". There was a sexist culture where male bankers referred to their firm as "Bunga-Bunga Securities". After succeeding in her sex discrimination claim, she is seeking substantial...

Nov
01
2013

New apprenticeships regime to be introduced from 2017
#Employment

In March 2013, the government launched a consultation seeking views on proposals for reforming apprenticeships in England. It described the present system as "prescriptive". The response to that consultation, in the form of an "implementation plan", has now been published. Existing apprenticeship frameworks, governed by the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009 (ASCLA 2009),...

Nov
01
2013

Zero-hours contracts: use them wisely
#Employment

The Office for National Statistics has launched an investigation into how it measures the number of British workers employed on zero hours contracts. It seems that nobody really knows how many there are. Last week, the business secretary, Vince Cable, last week wrote to the ONS to raise his concerns about "the lack of reliable statistics that are available on zero-hours contracts". The topic hit...

Oct
25
2013

Court of Appeal upholds post termination restriction that was for "only six months"
#Employment

In a refreshingly clear judgment in an area that is notoriously complex and hard for employers to get right, the Court of Appeal has confirmed that the length of a non solicitation clause is a "powerful factor" in assessing the overall reasonableness of the clause and that when the restriction was for "only six months", that was a "fundamental consideration of reasonableness". The Court suggested...

Oct
25
2013

Department of Work and Pension redundancy scheme discriminated against employees in their 20s - but was justified.
#Employment

In Lockwood v Department of Work and Pensions (1) Cabinet Office (2) (2013), the Court of Appeal has found that although the Department of Work and Pensions discriminated against a young employee on grounds of her age when applying their voluntary redundancy policy, the discrimination was objectively justified and hence lawful ( The case is helpful in clarifying what is meant by direct discrimin...

Oct
18
2013

Redeployment: misleading job description makes interview and redundancy unfair
#Employment

The EAT case of Somerset County Council v Chaloner (2013) highlights the importance of ensuring that when redundant employees are being considered for redeployment, they must be given a fair opportunity of understanding exactly the nature of the role being applied for. So, be careful when devising a new role in a restructure and ensure that the job description is properly finalised before conduct...

Oct
18
2013

Employer required to pay for depressed employee`s private counselling
#Employment

InCroft Vets Ltd and others v Butcher, the EAT has upheld a tribunal`s decision that an employer, in not paying for an employee with work-related stress and depression to have private psychiatric counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy, breached its duty to make reasonable adjustments under the Equality Act 2010. The adjustments, which were recommended by a consultant psychiatrist, were suf...

Oct
11
2013

Clarity provided on effective cause in Constructive Dismissal cases
#Employment

The Employment Appeal Tribunal in the case of Wright v North Ayrshire Council has provided some clarity on the correct test for determining constructive dismissal claims, and the extent to which an employer`s contractual breach should contribute to a resignation.    The Claimant was employed as a Care Assistant at the Council from December 2003 until she resigned in November 2010.  She subsequen...

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