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Archive for September, 2014

Thursday 25 September 2014

Employment Law Bulletin September 2014


We are back after a short summer break. With memories of sun loungers, ice cream and World Cup failure already fading, what better away to welcome autumn than with a fresh batch of employment law news?

As ever, there is a rich selection of cases to peruse…

Warnings and past offences

Sweeney (deceased) v Strathclyde Fire Board

Employers are often uncertain about what they can (and cannot) take into account during the disciplinary process. Here, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) looked at a situation in which an employer had factored into its dismissal decision a warning the employee had received after the misconduct that he was dismissed for had taken place.

Heavier sanctions at appeal stage?

McMillan v Airedale NHS Foundation Trust

Disciplinary appeals exist for the employee’s benefit. So it would seem odd if a sanction which has been imposed could be increased by the employer at the appeal stage. Might employees who choose to appeal be shooting themselves in the foot?

Adjusted scoring for disabled employees

Dominique v Toll Global Forwarding Ltd

Mr Dominique suffered a stroke. It resulted in him making mistakes at work and having difficulty with using computers.

A redundancy process ensued and Mr Dominique was selected based on productivity and accuracy criteria. Should his scores have been adjusted to take into account his disability? And did the employer fail in its duty to make reasonable adjustments even though making those adjustments would have made no difference to the outcome?

What the HR consultant says goes

Hershaw v Sheffield City Council

Every employer knows the importance of clear communication, especially during the disciplinary and grievance process. Ambiguity and misinformation have a habit of returning to bite. And that is what happened to Sheffield City Council when an external HR Consultant got things wrong.

Employer’s liability for disclosures to police

Melik Camurat v Thurrock Borough Council

Mr Camurat worked in a college and had faced a series of allegations relating to the inappropriate use of force in his dealings with pupils. Following negotiations, a settlement agreement was entered into which contained an agreed reference. The reference was mostly positive, except for a mention of his final written warning for an incident involving the confiscation of a pupil’s mobile phone.

Illegal immigrant claims discrimination

Hounga v Allen

The law takes illegal contracts seriously. Those who try to enforce their terms usually hit a brick wall. But that is not necessarily so where discrimination is concerned, as the courts have just re-stated in Hounga v Allen.


Body art discrimination – a step tattoo far?

The boundaries of discrimination law are being tested all the time. As more classes of people gain protection, others naturally seek it out.

Stories like those of Jo Perkins hit the headlines every now and again. Her contract was terminated because she had not covered up a four-inch butterfly tattoo on her foot. This contravened the “no visible inking” policy which many employers have in place.

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