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Archive for January, 2013

Friday 25 January 2013

Employment Law Bulletin January 2013

Welcome

What a year 2012 was for employment law. We saw the unfair dismissal qualifying period double, the start of automatic pension scheme enrolment, heftier costs penalties, judges sitting alone and a lot more besides.

 We already knew that this year would have more than its fair share of employment legislation, and the government has started as it clearly means to go on, with a number of announcements in the past week or so. These include the proposal to limit the compensatory award for unfair dismissal to one year’s pay (the current cap of £72,300 will remain in place, with successful claimants being awarded the lower of the two amounts) and a batch of consultation on changes to TUPE. Although only at the consultation stage, the prospect of the repeal of the “service provision change of TUPE” provisions, along with a number of smaller changes will be of great interest to those who have to grapple with TUPE regularly. For those of you who like reading through lengthy papers from the Department of Business Innovation & Skills, the full details can be found here:

Ending the Employment Relationship – Consultation Response

TUPE Regulations 2006 – Consultation on Proposed Changes to the Regulations

 Other exciting developments that we have to look forward to in 2013 include: the shortening of the collective redundancy consultation period, the introduction of fees in the Employment Tribunals, mandatory ACAS conciliation and, unless sense prevails in the meantime, the highly controversial introduction of employee shareholder status. As ever, the MH Employment Team will be here to help with any queries you may have on this wealth of new law.

In the meantime, the courts have been busy…


Religious Discrimination and Humans Rights

Eweida and ors v the United Kingdom

In a decision which received a lot of publicity in the mainstream press, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has upheld a claim by Mrs Eweida that the United Kingdom failed to ensure that her rights under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights (freedom of religion) were protected. Mrs Eweida worked for British Airways (BA) on their check-in section. She brought an indirect religious discrimination claim when BA refused, in accordance with its uniform policy, to allow her to wear a visible cross. BA’s refusal to allow Mrs Eweida visibly to wear a cross, which she viewed as a manifestation of her religious beliefs, amounted, the ECHR found, to an interference with her right to manifest her religion. 


Employer Bound by Mistaken Job Offer

The Partners of Haxby Practice v Collen

Ms Collen applied for a job as a practice nurse. The salary wasn’t revealed in the advert or during interview. She was offered the job by telephone and told that her pay would be £22,427. A letter confirming the terms would follow.

The offer letter set out a salary of £30,762. Ms Collen didn’t query it, later explaining that in her excitement the original figure hadn’t registered with her. When she started the job she was told that there had been a mistake and the salary was in fact £22,427. There were unsuccessful attempts at reaching a compromise and her employment terminated one month into the job. She brought a claim based on the higher salary…


Duty of Fidelity Turns Good Leaver Bad

Imam-Sadeque v BlueBay

Mr Imam-Sadeque (‘Mr I-S’) was a senior investment manager at BlueBay. He decided to leave and join a start-up asset management company (‘Goodridge’), so resigned and began working his six months’ notice. The resignation was significant; as Mr I-S had chosen to leave he would normally be classed as a ‘Bad Leaver’ and would not be entitled to the value of his shares – a healthy £1.7m…


Reasonable Adjustments and the PCP

Rider v Leeds City Council

This case highlights again the need to be thorough in considering reasonable adjustments where an employee is disabled and is prevented from working. Ms Rider was a nursery officer at a children’s centre. She suffered from severe asthma and a painful and debilitating spinal condition which affected her mobility…


Legal Representation at Internal Appeal

Ministry of Justice v Parry

Ms Parry was an office-holder, employed as a District Probate Registrar. She was dismissed for gross misconduct. Before her appeal hearing, she asked to be represented by her solicitor. This request was declined and her solicitor sent detailed submissions in support of Ms Parry’s case which were considered by the employer. The appeal officer upheld the dismissal decision and an unfair dismissal case was launched…


Facebook Dismissals and Gay Marriage

Smith v Trafford Housing Trust

Mr Smith was a housing manager employed by the Trust. He posted comments on his Facebook page setting out his objections to gay marriage in church. The Trust suspended him, eventually finding him guilty of gross misconduct. The sanction would have been dismissal but because of his service record he was demoted to a non-managerial role at a much reduced salary. He brought a tribunal claim, arguing that the demotion and pay cut breached his contract….

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