Latest News

Wearing a Hijab

On 31 May 2016 Advocate General Kokott gave an opinion in Achbita –v- G4S Secure that a Belgium company’s dress code, banning employers from wearing any visible religious, political or philosophical symbols in the workplace (thus preventing a...

Mind the gap

On 1 October this year, gender pay gap reporting is expected to come into force.  Employers with 250 staff or more from the 30 April 2017 will be required to annually publish their gender pay gap on their searchable UK websites, for both employees and...

Employment tribunal exclusion clauses

It has been reported in the press that Deliveroo, which engages cyclists on a “self-employed” basis to deliver food, has included a clause in its contract with couriers where the courier agrees not to make any claims in the Employment Tribunal or...

Unlawfully Dismissed Football Manager Wins Compensation

Constructive dismissal occurs when an employee resigns and can demonstrate that he or she is entitled to do so because the employer shows by their conduct that they no longer intend to be bound by the essential terms of the employee's employment contract....

Religion or Belief Discrimination - What Constitutes a Philosophical Belief?

When the Employment Equality (Religion or Belief) Regulations 2003 were first introduced, employees were protected from discrimination by reason of any 'religion, religious belief or similar philosophical belief'. The wording was changed in 2007, with the...

Immigration status and discrimination

It may be surprising to learn that mistreatment on the grounds of immigration status is not, as far as the courts are concerned, discrimination. The Supreme Court recently had to decide whether the harsh mistreatment of foreign nationals amounted to race...

Ban of Islamic headscarf was not discrimination

Ms A was employed by G4S in Belgium.  She started working as a receptionist in 2003.  G4S said that employees were not allowed to wear any religious, political or philosophical symbols whilst on duty.   Initially this was an unwritten rule...

LLPs and Whistleblowing - EAT Gives Guidance

Members of limited liability partnerships (LLPs) are not 'employees', but they are 'workers' and are thus entitled to all the legal protections afforded by the whistleblowing provisions of the Employment Rights Act 1996 . That point was made in the case of...

Employer's Refusal to Extend PHI Not Age Discrimination

In a case which emphasises the importance of clarity of language when providing information on employees' contractual entitlement to Permanent Health Insurance (PHI) benefits, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has upheld the decision of an Employment...

staff should not panic over EU vote outcome

With the dust settling following the EU referendum vote an employment law expert with Essex law firm Birkett Long says employees have no need to panic as the legislative system moves so slowly.   Martin Hopkins, who works in the firm’s Basildon...

Company Acts to Prevent Former Employees Taking Its Business

If you suspect a current or former employee of disloyalty, the law can move extremely quickly to help you. In one case ( M&E Global (Staffing) Solutions Limited and Another v Tudge and Others ), a company won a High Court injunction within days of...

Dismissal of Employee 'Pulling a Sickie' Was Fair, Rules EAT

A recent decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has emphasised that dishonesty over sickness absence can amount to gross misconduct and give grounds for dismissal ( Metroline West Limited v Ajaj ). Mr Ajaj was employed by Metroline West Limited...

No annual return, you must confirm!

From 30th June 2016 the Small Business Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 requires companies to ‘check and confirm’ the information held by Companies House and provide notification of any changes in a ‘confirmation statement’. Of...

Enterprise Act 2016

The 4th of May 2016 saw the Royal Assent of what is now the Enterprise Act 2016 (the “Act”). The Act covers a wide range of topics, which the government intends will help secure the economic growth of the UK. In so doing, the Act includes the...

The Importance of Conducting a Fair Disciplinary Process

A local authority employee who complained that his job description did not match his duties and that he was substantially underpaid for the work he in fact did has had his hopes of compensation for alleged unfair dismissal boosted by a tribunal ruling ( ...

UEFA European Championship 2016 - Are You Ready?

With the UEFA European Championship due to kick off shortly (the first match, France v Romania, is on Friday, 10 June at 20:00 UK time and the final is scheduled for Sunday, 10 July), employers who have not already done so should ensure they have policies in...

Low Pay Commission Seeks Views on Wage Rates

The Low Pay Commission (LPC) is seeking views on the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and National Living Wage (NLW) rates that should apply from April 2017. Whereas the NMW rates have traditionally been set on the basis of 'helping as many low-paid workers as...

Psychoactive Substances and Your Workplace Drug Policy

The Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 , which received Royal Assent on 28 January 2016, came into force on 26 May 2016. The Act makes it an offence to produce, supply, offer to supply, import or export any psychoactive substance if it is likely to be...

Challenging Decisions of Professional Discipline Bodies

The conduct of professional persons, such as doctors, dentists, nurses, midwives, counsellors, accountants and lawyers, is regulated by their professional association or society. When a complaint is made against a professional the association will carry...

Mental Health Nurse Wins Unfair Dismissal Claim

In a case which underlines the high standards expected of employers when investigating alleged misconduct, a mental health nurse who was accused of assaulting a patient and sacked from his post has succeeded in his claim of unfair dismissal ( Pennine Care...

The Taxation of Termination Payments - Injury to Feelings

The Upper Tribunal (UT) has ruled that a compensation payment for injury to feelings made on the termination of employment is subject to tax under Section 401 of the Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003 (ITEPA) ( Moorthy v The Commissioners for HM...

Government Consults on Tips

Following a call for evidence last autumn on the operation of tips, gratuities, cover and service charges, the Government has published a consultation paper reflecting the evidence it received from consumer, worker and employer groups, and setting out its...

Asked about a Colleague's Competence? Be Careful What You Say

Off-the-cuff and ill-considered remarks about work colleagues can have serious consequences for their careers. In one case which strikingly made the point that you should be careful what you say, a hospital consultant's brief telephone conversation became...

TUPE and the Temporary Cessation of Work

In a complex case ( Mustafa and Another v Trek Highways Services Limited and Others ), the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that the Employment Tribunal (ET) erred in law in finding that a temporary cessation of work activities by a subcontractor...

Employment Law Changes - April 2016

Changes to employment law and practice are normally implemented in either April or October each year in order to make life easier for employers, who must ensure that their policies and procedures are updated accordingly. The main employment law changes...

Employment Tribunals - The Use of Interpreters

Under Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR), everyone has the right to a fair trial and one of the elements of this concept, referred to as 'the principle of equality of arms', is that each party should have the right to present their...

Increased Protection for Workers on Zero Hours Contracts

In May 2015, the Government acted to ban exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts by way of the first commencement order made under the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 . Specifically, Section 153 of the Act inserted a new Section 27A...

Acas Early Conciliation - Amendments to ET Claims

In recent years, the settlement of disputes of various kinds by voluntary dispute resolution has grown considerably in the UK. That is certainly so in employment cases where, since May 2014, it has been a requirement under the Employment Tribunals Act 1996...

EAT Rules on Holiday Pay and Unearned Commission

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has handed down its judgment in Lock v British Gas Trading Limited and Others , upholding the decision of the Employment Tribunal (ET) that domestic legislation can be interpreted so as to conform with EU law in respect...

TUPE Service Provision Changes - Short-Term Arrangements

Under Regulation 3(3)(a)(ii) of the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE), TUPE does not apply where immediately before a service provision change the client intends that the activities will, following the service...

Calculation of Holiday Pay When Workers Change Their Hours

In Greenfield v The Care Bureau Limited , the Employment Tribunal (ET) requested a preliminary ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) on the following points: In circumstances where an employee increases the hours they work,...

Employment Tribunal Fell into Substitution Trap

In an unfair dismissal claim, the task of the Employment Tribunal (ET) is to find why and how the employer took the decision to dismiss and to review whether or not it was reasonable to take the decision for those reasons and in that way. The ET is not...

Instruction not to speak Polish not race discrimination

Direct race discrimination occurs where, because of race, a person treats another person less favourably than they would treat others. An employee claiming race discrimination therefore needs to demonstrate less favourable treatment when compared to a real...

The dangers of giving verbal references

When employers are asked for references most want to be open and honest, but a recent case shows the dangers of providing a negative reference for an ex employee. In this case Miss K had been employed by Coventry Council.  She had had two operations,...

Acas Guidance on Carrying Out Investigations in the Workplace

When a problem arises in the workplace that cannot be resolved informally or quickly, it is important that the matter is dealt with fairly and in accordance with the employer's disciplinary and grievance procedures where appropriate. Essential to this is...

Disabled Employee Pays Price for Refusal to Work

An employee who is mistreated by their employer has every right to complain. However, an employee who digs in their heels may pay a high price for their actions, as was illustrated by a case concerning a disabled man who simply downed tools and refused to...

On-Call Workers and the National Minimum Wage

Whether or not a worker who is on call at their employer's premises but who is allowed to sleep when his or her services are not required is entitled to be paid the National Minimum Wage (NMW) for the entirety of their shift is a particularly fact-sensitive...

Requirement to attend competitive job interview was discriminatory

The Equality Act 2010 says that a person discriminates against a disabled person if they treat them unfavourably because of something arising in consequence of his or her disability, and they are unable to show that that treatment is a proportionate means...

Mother Dismissed for Absenteeism Wins Tribunal Claims

A call-centre worker who was dismissed for gross misconduct after she was absent from work when her baby daughter was in hospital has won her claims of sex discrimination and unfair dismissal ( Van Heeswyk v One Call Insurance Services Limited ). Annie Van...

The National Living Wage

As we look towards the introduction of the National Living Wage in April 2016, many employers are concerned that the additional costs it will incur will have a detrimental effect on their business.  Some employers are even asking if it would be possible...

Your Christmas Party

Christmas parties are a great opportunity for staff to relax and socialise together ahead of the festive season, as well as a chance to show you appreciate their hard work over the year. As it is a work event, however, employers do need to be mindful of the...

Music Teacher Strikes Blow for Fixed-Term Contract Workers

A music teacher who ended up on a zero hours contract after his employment was transferred from a local authority to the private sector has scored a legal victory of importance to all fixed-term contract workers ( Services for Education [S4E Limited] v...

Help with employment tribunal's fees

Since July 2013 claimants have been required to pay fees in the employment tribunal.  Fees must be paid before issuing a claim form and before the hearing take places.  Where the claimant has limited means an application can be made for help with...

Breach of contract time limits in the tribunal

In the civil courts a claim for breach of contract must be brought within 6 years of when the breach occurred.  Employees can also bring to the employment tribunal breach of contract claims arising from their contract of employment, within 3 months...

Corporate entities are protected from discrimination

When thinking about discrimination most people will think of individuals being affected.  A recent case, however, indicates that discrimination does not have to be personal! Discrimination occurs when A treats B less favourably than others because of...

'Immensely Favourable' Pension Scheme Under Tribunal Spotlight

The age of financial realism has seen many pension schemes that were perceived as providing overly generous benefits closed to new entrants. A recent case concerned the legal consequences of a scheme that enabled a university technician to retire on...

Workers' travel time - updates under the working and NMW regulations

Many employers in the health and social care sector employ workers and carers who do not have a fixed or regular place of work, but who travel each day from home to a place of assignment, such as at a client’s own home. A recent Spanish case...

Sacked School Caretaker's Compensation Wrongly Capped

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that a school caretaker, who was unfairly dismissed due to concerns about his allegedly inappropriate conduct towards pupils, wrongly had a cap placed on his compensation on the basis that he would have lost his...

Zero hours contracts - recent developments

A Zero Hours Contract (ZHC) is a contract between an employer and a worker where the employer is not obliged to provide any minimum working hours and the worker is not obliged to accept any work offered.  In this way, ZHCs offer flexibility to...

Employee's Dismissal for Facebook Abuse Was Fair

A canal worker who was sacked for gross misconduct after he was found to have used a string of offensive expletives to describe his managers on Facebook has lost his claim of unfair dismissal ( British Waterways Board [Trading as Scottish Canals] v Smith ...

Collective Redundancy Consultation - Update

In United States of America v Nolan , the Supreme Court has ruled that the US Government did have collective redundancy consultation obligations with regard to civilian workers during the closure of a US army base at Hythe in Hampshire. Difficulties over...

Government Issues Guidance on Zero Hours Contracts

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has issued guidance explaining what zero hours contracts are and how they should be used . This provides information on: how they affect employment rights; appropriate use; inappropriate...

Fit for Work

Employers are reminded that, as of 22 July 2015, GPs across England and Wales can make referrals to the Fit for Work service, so you may be contacted by the service regarding a member of staff who is absent on sick leave. The intention is that employers will...

"Loose" causation test in disability discrimination

Under the Equality Act, discrimination “arising from a disability” occurs when an employer treats an employee unfavourably because of something arising in consequence of the employee’s disability, and it cannot establish that the treatment...

Travel to first and last customers of the day is "Working Time"

The European Court of Justice recently decided that workers who do not have a fixed place of work, but who travel each day between their homes to the premises of the first and last customers, should be allowed to claim their travel time as “working...

How Do Holiday and Sick Leave Interact? Tribunal Gives Guidance

The interaction between sick leave and annual holiday leave poses a tricky problem for employers. In Plumb v Duncan Print Group Limited , the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has clarified the position for employees who have to take prolonged periods off...

New Minimum Wage Rates

The following changes to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates came into effect on 1 October 2015: the adult NMW rate increased from £6.50 to £6.70 per hour; the NMW rate for workers aged 18 to 20 increased from £5.13 to...

Taxing issues on termination

In July 2014, the Office of Tax Simplification (OTS) recommended changes regarding termination payments, including the replacement of the existing £30,000 tax exemption with a new income tax relief.  As part of its 2015 budget the Government...

The Modern Slavery Act 2015

It is well recognised that slavery still exists and that some of the most vulnerable people in society continue to be ruthlessly exploited for criminal gain.  The Government has introduced legislation with a view to stamping out modern slavery. ...

Veteran Manager Unfairly Selected for Redundancy

A marketing manager who was made redundant after working for almost 30 years for the same employer has won the right to compensation after a tribunal pinpointed deficiencies in the redundancy procedure followed and found that her dismissal was unfair ( East...

Mobile Workers - Daily Travel to and from Work is 'Working Time'

In Federacion de Servicios Privados del sindicato Comisones obreras v Tyco Integrated Security SL and Another , the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has handed down its opinion, following a referral from the Spanish National High Court, that...

Are You Prepared for the Rugby World Cup?

The Rugby World Cup 2015 begins this week, with the first match (England v Fiji) kicking off at 8:00pm on Friday. The final will take place at Twickenham on Saturday, 31 October. Employers are advised to consider the issues that can arise due to major...

TUPE - Organised Grouping of Employees

A service provision change under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE) takes place when, immediately before the change, there is an 'organised grouping' of employees that has as its principal purpose the carrying...

Court of Appeal Rejects Unison's Employment Tribunal Fees Challenge

When Employment Tribunal (ET) fees were introduced in July 2013, the public service trade union Unison was quick to challenge the lawfulness of the new regime on the basis that it would make it 'virtually impossible, or excessively difficult' for many people...

NFU Mutual SafetyHub for Small Farms

According to figures collated by NFU Mutual, smaller farming businesses, whose workers invariably carry out a wide variety of tasks, often in poor weather conditions, are still prone to significant personal injury claims as a result of accidents involving...

Death benefit where suicide is suspected

Some contracts of employment contain a clause stipulating that should the employee die “in service” a payment will be made to his or her family. This is commonly known as a death in service benefit and sometimes the amounts can be significant...

Maximum award ordered by tribunal via employer unaware of its legal obligations

When an employer proposes to make 20 or more employees redundant within a period of 90 days, it must fulfil its consultation obligations under S.188 of The Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (TULRCA). The aim of consultation is to...

54,000 new mothers lose their jobs

Recently The Department of Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) and The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) interviewed 3,000 employers and 3,250 mothers to establish how women in the workplace were treated when pregnant or had given birth. The...

Government to Review Employment Tribunal Fees System

The Government has announced that it is to carry out a wide-ranging review of the Employment Tribunal (ET) fees system to determine whether its original objectives have been met. It will then make recommendations for any changes to the structure and level...

Final Warnings Must Be Given in Good Faith to Have Any Effect

In Way v Spectrum Property Care Limited , the Court of Appeal has ruled that final warnings given in bad faith cannot be relied upon when assessing whether or not there was sufficient reason for dismissing an employee. Mr Way worked for property service...

Road Safety Resources and Training

Every employer has a duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees. To this end, employers have a duty to do whatever is reasonably practicable to ensure that the workplace is safe, and this includes when employees are driving on company...

Acas Publishes Early Conciliation Report

The Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) has published the results of its survey on the first year of its Early Conciliation (EC) scheme. These show that: Acas handled more than 83,000 EC cases between April 2014 and March 2015; ...

Consultation on Gender Pay Reporting

Whilst the Equality Act 2010 requires public sector organisations to consider gender equality within their workplace as part of the Equality Duty and to publish relevant gender equality data, there is currently no requirement for employers in the private...

HSE Publishes Latest Fatal Injury Statistics

Fatal injuries at work are, thankfully, rare, which means that the annual figures are subject to chance variation. However, over the last 20 years there has been a downward trend in the rate of fatal injury, although since 2008/2009 the trend is less clear. ...

Failure to Provide a Written Statement of Employment Particulars

A contract of employment may be verbal but all employees, whether part-time or full-time, are entitled by law to be given a written statement setting out the main particulars of their employment, provided their employment lasts for one month or more (Section...