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Archive for the: Employment category

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...

ACAS Early Conciliation and Limitation - How Is Early Conciliation Treated Before the Limitation Period Commences

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

ACAS Early Conciliation and Limitation - How Is Early Conciliation Treated Before the Limitation Period Commences

In order for a Claimant to “institute relevant proceedings” (i.e a claim to the employment tribunal), the prospective claimant must comply with the duty to commence Acas Early Conciliation. In such cases, the limitation date is extended to take into account the period of conciliation. The primary limitation time period in order to bring a claim in a tribunal is three months less one day from the date of dismissal.

Normally, the period is extended by the time between the day the prospective claimant contacts Acas, (or when their EC form is received by ACAS), and the day in which the...

When Does Notice of Termination Take Effect?

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

This case concerned the timing of contractual notice. An employment contract may contain an express clause which stipulates when notice under a contract is deemed to have been served and specifying when such notice is deemed effective. The case in question was Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust v Haywood [2017].

In this case, the notification of notice being served was important as it will have effected the pension payments Ms Haywood received after having been made redundant. Ms Haywood was out of the country on holiday when the employer sent notice of termination for redundancy via post.  The letter was...

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...

Review of Fees in the Employment Tribunal

Posted by on February 6th 2017 in Blog Posts, Employment

Following the introduction of fees for Employment Tribunal claims, there has been a greater fall in the amount of claims being issued than was ever predicted. In an ongoing consultation, which will end on the 14th March 2017, the Ministry of Justice are proposing to raise the income threshold to £1250 per month, with anyone earning less being entitled to fee remission and potentially being exempt from fees. The proposal is to introduce types of proceedings which will be exempt from fees such as complaints relating to payment from an insolvent employer’s National Insurance Fund. A rise in the amount...

Gender Pay Gap Reporting

Posted by on February 2nd 2017 in Blog Posts, Employment

Gender Pay Gap Reporting

Subject to Parliamentary approval, gender pay reporting legislation looks likely to come into force in April 2017. The legislation will require private and voluntary employers with 250 or more employees (as of 5 April 2017) to publish calculations outlining the pay gap between their male and female employees in an attempt to start to address the gender pay gap. It is expected that the obligation to report will include the public sector by April 2017. Current Office for National Statistics figures show that the current gender pay gap in the UK for full time workers is 9.4%.

It is important to...

Sexist Workplace Dress Codes under Criticism by MPs

Posted by on January 26th 2017 in Blog Posts, Employment

Sexist Workplace Dress Codes under Criticism by MPs

London Receptionist, Nicola Thorp, brought a parliamentary petition which gained over 150,000 signatures when she was sent home without pay from her job at Price Waterhouse Coopers for refusing to wear high heels.  She was employed through Portico (an employment agency), which set out some stringent work wear guidelines, including those relating to thickness of hosiery and the shade of nail polish.

Following widespread public outcry, an inquiry was launched by the parliamentary committees for Petitions and for Women and Equalities. The inquiry produced a report entitled High Heels and Workplace Dress Codes (the ‘Report’).

The Report considers the work wear guidelines...

Dismissal fair despite being decided by reference to a history of expired warnings and future expectations (EAT)

Posted by on January 20th 2017 in Blog Posts, Employment

Dismissal fair despite being decided by reference to a history of expired warnings and future expectations (EAT)

It has been a generally accepted principle that once a warning for misconduct has expired, the employee’s slate should be wiped clean, and it would be unfair for an employer to take expired warnings into account when deciding to dismiss the employee.

However, in the recent case of Stratford v Auto Trail VR Ltd the Employment Appeal Tribunal, upholding the earlier decision of the Employment Tribunal, deemed it fair that the employer took into account prior expired warnings in deciding whether to dismiss the employee for misconduct. In this case the employee had 18 prior cases of misconduct, and although the...

Employers to Prove Compliance with Employment Law

Posted by on January 13th 2017 in Blog Posts, Employment

Employers to Prove Compliance with Employment Law

New proposals made by The Law Society in their response to the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committees’ enquiry into the future work and the rights of workers, call for responsibility to be shifted from employees having to argue for their employment rights onto employers to prove compliance with employment law.

The current framework places the onus on the worker to challenge employers, rather than the employer having to document that they are complying with legislation as a matter of course. 

The proposal sets out that for larger employers, this could be implemented in the same manner as workplace heath and...

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...