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Feb
27
2014

New tribunal award limits set to increase from 6 April 2014
#Employment

The limits on employment tribunal awards and other amounts payable will increase on 6 April 2014. See our updated HR Facts & Figures. In cases involving dismissal, the new limits will apply where the effective date of termination falls on or after 6 April 2014....

Feb
21
2014

Update on union sweetheart deals and breach of European Law
#Employment

On 31st January 2013 we reported on a recent High Court case in which it was held that recognition agreements with ‘sweetheart unions` which effectively ‘block` statutory recognition from being sought are in breach of Article 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights. The High Court withheld its final order in this case and gave the union involved - the Pharmacists` Defence Association Union...

Feb
21
2014

Dismissal fair despite employer`s failure to follow independent panel`s decision on appeal
#Employment

The EAT has found that an employer who had dismissed an employee for gross misconduct was not required to follow the decision of an independent panel, who had heard the employee`s appeal and which overturned the employer`s decision to dismiss. The fact that the employer did not implement the panel`s decision did not render the dismissal unfair. Importantly, the tribunal had found that the empl...

Feb
21
2014

Over 1 in 3 working fathers offered no flexibility by their employers
#Employment

According to a survey by My Family Care, reported by the BBC today: 22% of men questioned wish they had looked after their children rather than returning to work (approximately the same for women) Over 33% told researchers that they worked full-time and were offered no flexibility at all by their employers The survey was commissioned to help launch the Work and Family Show, which begins in...

Feb
21
2014

ACAS early conciliation: comes in from 6 April 2014 and is mandatory from 6 May 2014
#Employment

The ACAS early conciliation (EC) procedures for tribunal claims will come into force on 6 April 2014. Transitional provisions cover the period between 6 April and 5 May 2014 during which EC will be available to prospective claimants. EC will be mandatory for claims presented on or after 6 May 2014. Other points to notes are that following some changes to the draft rules, as an alternative to su...

Feb
14
2014

Is an end user liable for act an of discrimination committed by a subcontractor?
#Employment

Unlawful acts (other than criminal offences) committed by employees in the course of their employment are treated as also having been done by their employer for discrimination law purposes. An employer may therefore be vicariously liable for an employee`s act of race discrimination, whether or not it was done with the employer`s knowledge or approval. But what about contract workers? The Court o...

Feb
14
2014

Tribunal fees: UNISON legal challenge fails but fees may be recovered from respondents.
#Employment

UNISON`s attempt to challenge to the introduction of fees in the employment tribunals and EAT by way of judicial review in the High Court has failed. The High Court found that the fundamental difficulty with the case was that it had been brought prematurely and that, as a result, the robust evidence needed to persuade it to overturn the fees regime had been absent. However, the Court made it clea...

Feb
07
2014

The holiday pay time bomb? Help the CBI to lobby the Government
#Employment

In view of some recent cases involving UK employers and interpretation of the EC Working Time Directive, particularly in the European Court of Justice (ECJ), employers may be significantly underpaying holiday pay. The Directive regulates not just working hours and holiday entitlement. It also regulates, according to the ECJ, the calculation of holiday pay, even though the Directive does not spell that out....

Feb
03
2014

Buddy Quiz January - how did you do?
#Employment

Thank you to everyone who completed the last Buddy Quiz, posted throughout January. We have posted the answers to the questions below so you can check how you did! Question One According to the important decision of the Advocate General in the recent case of ZJR Lock v British Gas, what should the calculation of holiday pay include? A1. All commission payments. A2. Payments which are intrinsi...

Jan
31
2014

Sweetheart union deals breach European law
#Employment

An independent trade union seeking to be recognised by an employer may apply for statutory recognition from the Central Arbitration Committee (CAC).   However, a trade union is prevented from seeking recognition  where there is already a recognition agreement in place which entitles another trade union to ‘collectively bargain` on behalf of any workers in the bargaining unit.  With this in mind...

Jan
31
2014

Settlement agreement was still without prejudice even though discussions were "amicable"
#Employment

Employers, particularly HR practitioners, need to be very careful before getting into discussions with employees over possible termination of employment. The risk is that the employee will rely on those discussions in a tribunal claim later on if agreement is not reached.  In an interesting case concerning settlement agreements, the EAT (overturning an Employment Tribunal`s decision) has held tha...

Jan
24
2014

New right for all employees to request flexible working delayed
#Employment

We recently reported that as of 6 April 2014 new rules governing the right to request flexible working under the Children and Families Bill would be introduced.   Currently only employees with at least 26 weeks` continuous employment who have children under the age of 17 (18 if the child is disabled) or who are carers have the right to request flexible working.  Furthermore, specific statutory p...

Jan
23
2014

Woolworth`s case referred to the European Court of Justice
#Employment

At the hearing this week, the Court of Appeal has referred the Woolworth`s and Ethel Austin cases to the European Court of Justice. Confirmation is now awaited as to exactly what questions to be considered by the ECJ. John Hannett - Usdaw General Secretary said: ‘We are pleased that this case is going to be heard at the highest level and that we will get a definitive decision. Exactly how defin...

Jan
17
2014

Tougher penalties for failure to pay the national minimum wage from February 2014
#Employment

The government has published the draft National Minimum Wage (Variation of Financial Penalty) Regulations 2014 under which employers who fail to pay workers the national minimum wage (NMW) will face tougher penalties from next month. The maximum fine for anyone failing to pay the statutory level will increase from £5,000 to £20,000. The NMW for the period 1 October 2013 to 30 September 2014 for...

Jan
17
2014

Some key employment law cases to look out for in 2014
#Employment

Holiday pay Neal v Freightliner Ltd (EAT) An employment tribunal has held that a worker`s overtime should be included in the calculation of holiday pay. This decision has been appealed to the EAT but at present the case at the sift stage, awaiting to hear if the judge will allow the appeal to proceed to a full hearing. Lock v British Gas Trading Ltd (ECJ) Closely related to the Neal case, an...

Jan
16
2014

Buddy Quiz - how did you do?
#Employment

Thank you to everyone who completed the last Buddy Quiz, posted throughout December. We have posted the answers to the questions below so you can check how you did! QUESTION 1 As reported in the Buddy Weekly Bulletin on 8 November 2013, how many non-EU seasonal workers does the EU Commission estimate come to the EU every year? a)      Over 25,000b)      Over 50,000c)       Over 75,000d)      O...

Jan
10
2014

When is an agency worker not a `temp` under the Agency Workers Regulations 2010?
#Employment

Agency workers are often referred to colloquially as being temporary workers or ‘temps`, as a distinction from directly recruited, usually permanent staff. The recent case of Moran v Ideal Cleaning Services and Celanese Acetate Ltd in the EAT, however, has highlighted just how important that phrase is to the scope of the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 (AWR) and indeed the European Directive upon...

Jan
10
2014

Auto enrolment - don`t get a fine of up to £10,000 a day!
#Employment

As has been well publicised, since 1 October 2012 every employer in the UK has been supplied with a staging date to automatically enroll eligible workers in a pension scheme and pay mandatory contributions. This is the biggest change to workplace pension provision in a generation. There is a need to relieve the pressure on the Government`s finances caused by a workforce who are living longer but...

Jan
10
2014

Holding and Manifesting a Religious Belief, what`s the difference?
#Employment

An employee`s beliefs may or may not be known to an employer but issues can arise if these beliefs are manifested in the workplace. Does the law clearly distinguish between the protection it gives for holding a belief and the level of protection for how this belief is manifested? No, according to the Employment Appeal Tribunal in the recent case of Grace v Places for Children. In Grace the Clai...

Jan
09
2014

Is it reasonable to dismiss taking into account a previous final written warning for which the appeal hearing has not yet held?
#Employment

In the case of Susan Rooney -v- Dundee City Council, the Employment Tribunal held that it was within the reasonable band of responses for the employer to do this.  The Employment Appeal Tribunal (UKEATS/0020/13), in considering the Tribunal`s decision, has upheld this decision.   Background Ms Rooney was a cashier supervisor for the Council.  She received a final written warning in September 2...

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