Archive for the ‘Employment Law’ Category

Employment Law Roundup – January 2020

Friday, January 3rd, 2020

Welcome

In December 2019, the government set out its plans for new employment law legislation in the Queen’s Speech. Much of it will be familiar from the Good Work Plan and includes:

  • Creating a single labour market enforcement agency to protect the rights of vulnerable workers;
  • Requiring employers to pass on all tips and service charges to staff;
  • The right for workers to request a more predictable contract after 26 weeks;
  • Extending redundancy protection so that women who are pregnant or on maternity leave are protected from the point they tell their employer about their pregnancy until 6 months after they return to work;
  • Making flexible working the default position.

These changes could have a significant impact on employer practice and procedure.  We will keep you informed if and when these come into law.

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Employment Law Update – November 19

Wednesday, November 6th, 2019

What is ‘off the record’?

Off the record conversations can play a vital role in resolving workplace disputes. Section 111A of the Employment Rights Act 1996 says that confidential discussions about ending an employee’s employment can be ‘off the record’ in certain circumstances. These are known as ‘protected conversations’. If s111A applies, termination discussions cannot be used as evidence in an unfair dismissal claim unless there has been ‘improper behaviour’ by the employer.  Section 111A only applies to ordinary unfair dismissal claims. Consequently, the content of termination discussions can be used as evidence in other claims, such as automatic unfair dismissal (for example a pregnancy related dismissal) and discrimination claims.

In Harrison v Aryman, an employee resigned and claimed constructive dismissal after a series of discriminatory acts relating to pregnancy and sex. She said the last straw was a ‘confidential settlement proposal’ she received from her employer shortly after she announced her pregnancy. The employer said the letter was off the record due to s111A. The employee said the letter was part of the employer’s improper discriminatory behaviour and she should be allowed to use it in evidence.

The employment tribunal found that s111A applied, meaning the employee could not refer to the letter in her unfair dismissal claim. The employee appealed. The Employment Appeal Tribunal said the tribunal had got it wrong. When an employee’s claim is for automatic unfair dismissal, such as a pregnancy related dismissal, s111A does not apply and the content of a protected conversation can be used in evidence. This is different from the situation in a normal unfair dismissal claim where an employee wants to refer to a protected conversation because they allege improper conduct. In that case the tribunal will need to hear evidence about the improper conduct before deciding whether the evidence can be used. 

This case is a reminder to employers that ‘off the record’ conversations can come back to haunt you.  If there is any risk of discrimination or an automatic unfair dismissal claim, take advice before starting any kind of dialogue about termination.  (more…)

Flexible Working Requests

Wednesday, December 3rd, 2014

Dealing with flexible working requests

There has been a big change in the law which could rip up the rule book of nine-to-five, desk-based working.  It means that some employers are going to have to shake off traditional practice and accept more flexible ways of working.

From 30 June 2014 any employee with at least 26 weeks’ continuous service has the right to request flexible working – and the right to expect their employer to deal properly with that request.

Flexible working rights only used to apply to parents of children under the age of 17 (18 if a disabled child) and to some carers. But those rights have now been opened up across the workforce. Now that length of service is in most cases the only barrier to making a flexible working request, employees are sure to take advantage of the opportunity to bring a better balance to their home and working lives.

But how should employers respond? (more…)

Employment Law News Roundup – February 2014

Wednesday, February 5th, 2014

A bumper two months’ worth of news rolled into one edition of our newsletter this month and the big news is that new TUPE legislation came into effect on 31st January.

TUPE (or to give it its full title, the Transfer of Undertakings Protection of Employment Regulations 2006) is the law which requires employers who take over a business, or take over certain contracts from another employer, to take on the employees who worked for that previous employer.

At the end of January, some long-awaited TUPE amendments come into force. Now every new piece of legislation deserves a catchy title and an appropriate acronym. So here goes. Say a big hello to The Collective Redundancies and Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 or CRATUPEAR – we kid you not!

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Employment Law Roundup, November

Thursday, November 7th, 2013

Strictly banner

Yes, a very warm welcome to the first edition on our new strictlyemploymentlaw monthly newsletter, keeping you up to date with all the latest employment law developments.

After a busy few months of change, things are set to be a little quieter at least until the next round of changes set to be introduced in the Spring. So this month we look at a range of recent cases that deal with issues that you may well run into when dealing with HR situations in your workplace. (more…)