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Author Archive: Lexi Climie

Achbita v G4S Secure Solutions: ECJ Rules that Banning Headscarves in the Workplace can be Legal

Posted by on April 4th 2017 in Blog Posts, Employment

According to the European Court of Justice (ECJ), employers can ban the wearing of any “political, philosophical or religious sign” including headscarves, without it being direct discrimination.

The ECJ has highlighted that so long as the ban is based on internal company policies outlining that all employees must dress neutrally, it will be acceptable for employers to ask that staff refrain from wearing clothing of a religious nature.  

Such ban must not however, be based on “subjective considerations” alone, for example, the wishes of a customer or supplier.

The ruling comes following a claim made by Samira Achbita - a receptionist who...

Five Week Religious Festival Holiday Request Rejection = Held not Discriminatory.

Posted by on February 22nd 2017 in Employment

Five Week Religious Festival Holiday Request Rejection = Held not Discriminatory.

As an employer,  when faced with the task of approving or refusing leave for an employee to attend religious events or festivals,  it can often be difficult to establish what is, and what is not discriminatory.

The recent case of Gareddu v London Underground may carry some level of guidance for employers faced with such decisions.

Gareddu v London Underground

The claimant, G, a practicing Roman Catholic from Sardinia requested extended annual leave of 5 weeks each year in August to attend several consecutive religious festivals with his family in Sardinia.

G’s request for extended annual leave had been approved every year since...

Preparing for Black Friday â?? the issues faced by Employers

Posted by on November 23rd 2016 in Blog Posts, Employment

Preparing for Black Friday â?? the issues faced by Employers

Having started as a tradition in the USA, the presence of Black Friday in the UK has gradually increased over recent years.

In 2016, Black Friday is scheduled for 25 November 2016. This is followed closely behind by Cyber Monday, which falls just several days later on 28 November 2016.

With more and more stores offering significant discounts on branded products on these “sale days” (which importantly, fall within what is considered the traditional working week), how do employers deal with employees doing their online shopping during working hours?

As many stores have extended their Black Friday offers from 1 day to 1...

Disability Discrimination - Update

Posted by on April 20th 2016 in Blog Posts, Employment

Disability Discrimination - Update

The topic of disability discrimination has once again found itself in the media following the recent reporting of a claim by former Newcastle United player Jonas Gutierrez.

The 32 year old has sued the club for approximately £2 million, on the basis that he had been subjected to detrimental treatment following his diagnosis with testicular cancer in October 2013.

Cancer is deemed to be a disability for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010 and the Act protects not only those who have a disability, but those who have had a disability in the past.

Gutierrez claimed that the club saw him...

Private Messages in the Workplace

Posted by on January 21st 2016 in Blog Posts, Employment

Private Messages in the Workplace

European employers are now permitted to read private messages sent at work

Private messages sent via chat software and e-mail accounts during working hours can now be read by European employers, the European Court of Human Rights (“ECHR”) has ruled.

In the judgment of Barbulescu v Romania (handed down on Tuesday 12 January 2016), the ECHR explained that an employer who read a worker’s Yahoo Messenger chats which were sent during his contracted working hours, acted within the scope of its rights as an employer, without violating Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights i.e. the right to respect...

ACAS Guidance - Conducting Workplace Investigations

Posted by on January 18th 2016 in Blog Posts, Employment

ACAS Guidance - Conducting Workplace Investigations

ACAS have provided further guidance for employers on how to conduct workplace investigations.

The guidance (which provides a useful “at a glance” flowchart) is designed to offer additional support to employers leading an investigation process for disciplinary, grievance and general conduct matters.

The paper outlines 6 key steps that should be looked at when dealing with an investigation. These are as follows:-

1.   Organisational Preparation

According to ACAS, it is fundamental that sufficient and significant preparation is completed prior to the commencement of an investigation.

The type of preparation which may be appropriate is extensive but in summary includes:-

  • Considering whether an informal discussion...

ACAS Guidance - Legal Highs

Posted by on January 14th 2016 in Blog Posts, Employment

ACAS has released new guidance for employers on the increasing use of “legal highs” and the possible effect that they may have on employees and the workplace.

Background

Legal highs are substances which emulate the effect of illegal drugs when they are taken, but are not in fact categorised as illegal themselves. The drugs have a wide range of effects on users, and have now found themselves a very firm spot in the drug market. In fact in 2014 alone, in England, Scotland and Wales, a total of 129 individuals died in situations involving psychoactive substances.

Worryingly, the number of legal highs...

Equal Pay Day 2015 - Where Are We Now?

Posted by on November 9th 2015 in Blog Posts, Employment

Equal Pay Day 2015 - Where Are We Now?

Monday 9 November 2015 marks this year’s “Equal Pay Day” – a day wholly designed to highlight the difference in pay between men and women across the country.

Falling in or around the start of November each year, statistics released in accordance with 2014’s Equal Pay Day stated that on average, women were being paid £2.53 per hour less than men, and that in general, the UK had fallen out of the top 20 countries in the world for gender equality.

The key question therefore arises - one year on (and now 45 years on from the introduction of the Equal Pay...

Travel to First and Last Clients of the Day is Deemed Working Time

Posted by on September 15th 2015 in Blog Posts, Employment

Travel to First and Last Clients of the Day is Deemed Working Time

In Federacion de Servicios Privados del sindicato Comisiones Obreras v Tyco Integrated Security SL and another, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) considered whether time spent travelling by workers without a fixed office should be regarded as working time.

Background

Tyco (comprised of Tyco Integrated Security SL and Tyco Integrated Fire & Security Corporation Services SA), a company which installs and maintains security systems at customers’ premises in Spain, shut down its regional offices in 2011, assigning all of its employees to one central office in Madrid.

Due to the nature of the company’s work, employees are required to travel to various locations...

Business Tax Returns - What's the Real Story?

Posted by on August 19th 2015 in Blog Posts, Insolvency

Business Tax Returns - What's the Real Story?

Whilst many of us gladly welcome the summer season, for many small and medium enterprises (“SMEs”) across England, this time of year does not necessarily bring the same sense of appeal.

31 July 2015 – doomsday or just another date for the diary?

Friday 31 July 2015 marked the deadline for SMEs paying self-assessment tax to have filed their returns for the year. Accordingly an up-front payment for 50% of their annual tax liability was required in a one-off, lump sum.

Payment of this tax is notoriously problematic for many enterprises across the country. In fact, it is not unheard of for an...

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