Latest News

Pursuing an insurer of an insolvent employer

A claimant may have difficulties in pursuing an employment claim where his employer or former employer has become insolvent and the company has gone into administration. The Insolvency Act states that where a company is in administration, no legal process...

Employers may be liable for employee's 'private' social media posts

Social media is prominent in today’s technological world. Whether it’s used personally, for business or both, social media and messaging services such as WhatsApp are rarely far from our fingertips. The rise of social media means it’s...

Effects of Brexit when recruiting and retaining EU workers

The current Brexit deadline is 31 October 2019. It is difficult to second guess what will happen between now and then but, stating the obvious, the UK will either come to an agreement, leave the EU without a deal or the deadline will be extended. How Brexit...

Employment tribunal claims are on the rise

The Ministry of Justice publishes quarterly statistics for claims in the employment tribunal, which is a mix of good and bad news. The latest statistics show single claims, for the period 1 January to 31 March 2019 in comparison to the same period in 2018,...

Round up of employment law changes

There are a number of important employment law changes taking place this year of which businesses should be aware. I’ve set out some changes that are happening imminently below. All public sector organisations with over 250 or more employees as at 31...

Not well enough!

It is not uncommon, just before a disciplinary hearing or a tribunal hearing for an employee to say they are not well enough to attend the hearing and ask for the matter to be adjourned. Sometimes it is often suspected that the employee is not genuinely ill,...

Naming and shaming

A scheme exists where employers who have underpaid the National Minimum Wage (NMW) are named. This “naming and shaming” is done with a view to deterring employers from paying less than the NMW. Since April 2016, financial penalties can be...

Looking after your staff so you can get on with business

Managing your people, and making sure they operate as efficiently as possible, is time consuming and sometimes costly, but there is help out there to give you back control of running your business, profitably. Getting back to business When I was training...

Two years' service and unfair dismissal

Employers will be aware that unless an employee has acquired 2 years’ service, the employee cannot make a claim for unfair dismissal. When the employee has worked for a month they are entitled to a week’s statutory notice to terminate their...

Enforceability of an unsigned contract

A recent case, Tenon FM Ltd –v- Cawley, has highlighted the dangers to employers of failing to ensure that senior employees sign their contracts of employment. In this case the employee left her employment and then sought to persuade one of her...

Employees should be given the right to appeal

Where an employee is dismissed, the ACAS Code indicates that the employee should be given the right to appeal. Where the employee is not given the right to appeal it will be difficult for an employer to persuade the Tribunal that the dismissal was not...

Losing your job

If you have lost your job or are in the process of losing it, you should take steps to understand your rights.  You may be protected against unfair dismissal, wrongful dismissal or unlawful discrimination, or be entitled to a redundancy payment or other...

Changes to holiday pay - November 2014

On 4 November 2014 the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decided that workers are entitled to be paid holiday pay to reflect normal non-guaranteed overtime.  However, that ruling only applies to the basic 4 weeks leave granted under the Working Time...

Deposit orders

If an employment judge considers that allegations in a claim or response have little reasonable prospects of success, he or she has the power to make an order requiring the parties to pay a deposit to the tribunal as a condition of being permitted to...

Holiday Pay - are you calculating it correctly?

An important holiday pay case today has confirmed that workers are entitled to include overtime pay when calculating their normal wages for holiday pay entitlement purposes. The overtime payments do not need to be guaranteed, but this entitlement is only in...

Performance related pay

Few would argue that education today is all about quality of teaching and raising of standards.  But how to achieve them is more contentious, particularly when the thorny issue of performance related pay (“PRP”), introduced by the Government...

Flexible working from 30 June 2014

From 30 June 2014 all employees with 26 weeks' continuous employment will be able to make a request for flexible working (not just parents of children under 17, or 18 if disabled, and certain carers - as was previously the case). Eligible employees can...

Can settlement agreements be set aside for reasons of "economic pressure"?

The settlement of an employment tribunal claim must take one of three forms: The terms of settlement are set out in the body of a tribunal judgment or in a schedule/annex to that judgment An ACAS conciliated settlement, known as a COT3, or A settlement...

Early conciliation - words of warning

On 6 May 2014 Early Conciliation (EC) became mandatory. This means that a claimant must engage in EC with ACAS with a view to settling their claim before the Claim Form (for most types of claim) is issued. If settlement is reached that is the end of the...

Legal Expenses Insurance - choose your provider carefully

One of the best ways to fund litigation is through legal expenses insurance.  Such insurance is often included as part of a household, travel, pet or a motor insurance policy. Most policies cover legal fees and disbursements up to £50,000 or...

Vicarious liability: the plot thickens

A recent case confirms that there remain some scenarios where employers will not be held liable for the actions of wayward employees. For an employer to be liable for the negligence of an employee the following three elements must be present: 1.There...

High costs for employment tribunals are no showstopper to workers

Workers who can’t afford up to £1,200 to have a case heard at an employment tribunal are being forced to seek a settlement with their employers instead. The advice comes from Martin Hopkins, a lawyer and expert on employment law at Essex legal...

Educational businesses - get to grips with immigration law

Through our professional adviser network we have access to UK immigration law specialists, and via our network of foreign lawyers we are able to provide immigration advice to our clients worldwide.  This article has been written by Sally Azarmi of...

The difficulties of a 'duty of care'

2013 has now ended but not, I notice, before one particular claimant win in the Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal. Schools are not easy businesses to run, involving as they do the precious commodity of our children, to whom those running a...

Refusal to disclose medical information

The Equality Act says that employers cannot be expected to make adjustments to the workplace if they did not know – or could not reasonably have been expected to know – that their employee had a disability. In a recent case, an employee claimed...

Mandatory ACAS early conciliation

ACAS has the power to help parties conciliate tribunal claims using conciliation officers who act as go-betweens in an attempt to settle proceedings before the hearing. In April 2009 ACAS pre-claim conciliation became available, whereby ACAS could try to...

Holiday pay and zero-hours contracts

There has been much in the news lately regarding zero hours contracts. Employees have complained that employers are taking advantage and sometimes penalising them if they do not accept the hours offered.  A recent tribunal case illustrates...

10 grievances, 9 tribunal claims forms

The decision by the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) in Woodhouse v West Northwest Homes Leeds will be a disappointment to employers. Over a five year period Mr Woodhouse raised ten grievances including a claim of racist comments from his colleagues,...

Employee shareholders - will it work?

On 1 September 2013 a new type of employee ownership arrangement will come into force under which employees can give up some of their employment rights in exchange for shares in their employer’s company (not other types of business). Where an...

Confidential Termination Negotiations - what has changed?

The law says that, in general, any statement made during a genuine, without prejudice meeting or discussion cannot be used in a court or tribunal in evidence.  However, the ‘without prejudice’ rule only applies where there is a dispute...

Video evidence on trial

Can employers use video evidence when they reach decisions regarding the conduct of their employees? Mr A had worked for Caterpillar Logistics Services for over 11 years.  In 2009 he sustained a back injury and was off work until January 2010. He saw...

Dismissals after 29 July

In unfair dismissal claims the current maximum amount of compensation (the compensatory award) an employee can be awarded by a Tribunal is capped at £74,200. This is known as the statutory cap.   However, this rule will change on 29 July 2013 ....

Time Limits

If an employee wishes to bring a claim for unfair dismissal to the employment tribunal they must do so within three months of their dismissal.  This date is known as the effective date of termination (EDT); for example if the employee was dismissed on...

Fees in the employment tribunal

From this summer, claimants who make a claim in the employment tribunal and the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) for the first time will have to pay an issue fee on submitting their claim or appeal as well as a hearing fee before the full hearing.   ...

Does an employee have to inform a new employer of litigation with an old employer?

The question has often been asked whether an employee has to inform their new employer about any claims they are against their previous employer. Both the employment tribunal and the employment appeal tribunal (EAT) had an opportunity to consider this point...

Have you made an overpayment of wages to an employee?

If an employer overpays an employee can he always recover that overpayment? The Employment Rights Act 1996 says that an employer is not authorised to make a deduction from an employee’s wages unless the deduction is authorised by statute (i.e. tax and...

Do the disability provisions of the Equality Act cover obesity?

The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 defined a person as being disabled if they have a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term effect on their ability to carry out normal day to day activities.  Although this Act has been...

Legal advice from a non-qualified legal adviser is not confidential

Employers should be aware of the recent decision of the Court of Appeal which made it clear that “legal advice privilege” does not apply beyond the traditional legal professions of solicitor, barrister and chartered legal executive. Any advice...

Sickness pay and a second job

Employers may be disgruntled to find an employee who is on sick leave and is claiming sick pay continues to work in a second job.  But an employer must be cautious before dismissing an employee who it thinks might be malingering, as the following case...

Redundancy during maternity leave

Employers must be careful if they decide to make an employee redundant when that employee has taken maternity leave.  The Maternity and Parental Leave Regulations state that an employer must offer an employee who is on maternity leave, and whose job...

Reason for Dismissal

When an Employment Tribunal assesses whether an employee was dismissed fairly or not, it must determine the reason for the dismissal; this means that the Tribunal will need to establish what was in the dismissing officer’s mind at the time the...

Costs in the Employment Tribunal

Among the powers of the Employment Tribunal are those to award costs against a party that has acted “vexatiously, abusively, deceptively or otherwise unreasonably” or that has brought proceedings deemed to be misconceived. Since 6 April 2012 the...

Snow days

If staff cannot make it to work because they need to look after their children when schools are closed because of snow days, it can have a knock on effect on the running of your own school, college or university. There is no obligation to pay those members...

Staffing Regulations

A new Regulation 8A in the School Staffing (England) Regulations 2009 is now in force. From 10 July 2012 the governing body of a maintained school is to: - confirm whether teaching staff at that school have been the subject of capability procedures within...

Employee or Not

Even with extensive employment legislation in place there are employers who try to avoid granting their workers the rights they would acquire if they were employees.  They do this through engaging people as workers or self-employed.  So long as the...

ACAS Conciliation

The Government is proposing to reform a number of aspects of employment law. Under the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill 2012 it intends to change the powers ACAS has regarding conciliation. At the moment ACAS has the power to assist parties to...

No right to claim unfair dismissal - the contract of employment was illegal

An Indonesian lady, living in Jakarta, was offered work in the UK.  She agreed to assume a false identity and obtained a passport and a tourist visa which enabled her to enter the UK.  She lived and worked for a family for two years, but when a...

Will Axing the Agricultural Wages Board Mean Workers Will Suffer?

At the end of last year, despite campaigns to the contrary, MPs voted to abolish the  Agricultural Wages Board  as part of its planned ending of quangos .  Agricultural workers are covered by agricultural wages legislation which...

Birkett Long to provide free legal advice for those celebrating Essex Pride

A team of solicitors from law firm Birkett Long will be on hand at Essex Pride in Chelmsford Central Park on Sunday 4 September to provide free legal advice. Those seeking a fun family day out at Essex Pride will be able to drop in on the team for...

Do you snow what to do?

What to do in this inclement weather? If employees cannot get to work because of snow/transport problems they are not entitled to be paid. However, in order to keep the employee/employer relationships on a good footing you might consider allowing...

The Equality Act 2010

The Equality Act will deliver a framework of discrimination law that protects individuals’ rights and simplifies the existing raft of discrimination legislation. The new Act was to come into force in October 2010 but post election doubt was cast on...

Could Fit Notes Prove the End of the Sick Note Culture?

It is no secret that employee sickness costs employers vast sums every year. The question faced by all those involved was what could be done to curb the problem? Reforms were proposed to the sick note system in a bid to curb the culture of sick leave and...

Maternity leave: EU's aim to increase

A committee of the European Parliament has recently passed draft legislation that aims to increase maternity pay across Europe to 20 weeks' on full pay. By March the European Parliament itself will have been asked to vote on the proposal. This is a far cry...

Caution: Discrimination in job ads

Employers should be reminded that the need to avoid discrimination in the workplace extends to the recruitment process. The law is clear, stating that discrimination will not be tolerated. The onus is on employers to ensure that advertisements they use to...

EU strives to bridge the Gender Pay Gap

Taken across the EU as a whole, the gap in pay between men and women currently stands at roughly 18%. The European Commission has, therefore, pledged to tackle this over the coming five years, and plan to employ numerous methods in their aim to equalise...

Extension of Paternity Leave

From April 2010 new legislation will come into force that will enable fathers to claim up to an additional 6 months of paternity leave. This right will, however, only come into play if the mother of the child has returned to work before the end of her...

New "Fit Notes"

Author: Reggie Lloyd If an employee takes more than seven days of absence from work because of illness they are usually required to provide the employer with a “sick note” which states the employee is unfit to attend work. This system...

Could 'fit notes' end the 'sick note' culture?

Author: Martin Hopkins New GP "fit notes" to be issued to workers from April will help the long-term sick return to work quicker, and could save British businesses millions of pounds, according to an Essex solicitor. Long-term sickness costs the economy...

Employees' right to request time off to train

In April 2010 the right for employees to request time off for training will be introduced. This right, which has been modelled on the right to request flexible working, will mean that employers will be obliged to seriously consider such requests from their...

Workers should 'snow' their pay rights - warns Essex solicitor

Author: Martin Hopkins An Essex firm of solicitors is urging workers to check their employer’s ‘snow day’ policy – or face being left out of pocket come pay day. The country experienced some of the heaviest snowfall for decades in...

Employees in the Dark Over Their Rights

More than one fifth of the country’s workforce is unaware of basic employment rights, such as minimum wage and discrimination, new research by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) has revealed. The Fair Treatment at Work Report,...