Friday, 19 May 2017

Psychometric Test Ruled Discriminatory

 Recruitment agencies will need to be careful about adjustments to the format of recruitment assessments for disabled job applicants,after a ruling by an EAT.The tribunal had ruled that an applicant with Asperger's syndrome was unfairly disadvantaged by an online multi-choice psychometric test.

The claim was brought by an aspiring lawyer, Ms Brookes, who suffers from Asperger's syndrome.She applied for a job as a trainee solicitor with the Government  Legal Service (GLS).

The application began with a "fiendishly competitive" online "situational judgment test (SJT).Ms Brookes asked if she could submit her answers in a short narrative form because of her condition. However,she was told that an alternative test format was not available.

Ms.Brookes completed the SJT test in its multiple-choice format and scored 12 out of 22.The pass mark to proceed to the next stage of the recruitment process was 14.

Her employment tribunal case included a claim for indirect  disability discrimination.The tribunal   accepted that the multi-choice format put her at a particular disadvantage because of her condition.

The GLS appealed against the decision,but the subsequent EAT accepted that her condition had affected her ability to complete the multiple choice assessment and that the GLS should have adapted the test for her.

The Government Legal Service v Brookes (2017)UKEAT 0302

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Claim struck out due to witness speaking to others during break

Reporter's Case Struck Out

A tribunal has struck out a BBC reporter's claim after finding that she discussed her case with  a newspaper journalist  during an adjournment when giving her evidence.The tribunal held that a BBC journalist,Sally Chidzoy's discussion with the journalist during a break in her evidence while still under oath was "unreasonable conduct" that justified her claim being struck out.

The tribunal concluded that a fair trial was no longer possible because it had lost all trust in the claimant.It also ruled out restarting the case with a different panel because the claimant had almost completed her evidence. Beginning again could lead to disputes over any changes in evidence given to the first and second tribunal.

Ms S Chidzoy v British Broadcasting Corporation. UKET 3400341/2016

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Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Type 2 Diabetes May be A Disability

The EAT has overturned an employment tribunal's decision that a man suffering from Type 2 diabetes was not disabled.The judge had not properly considered whether his Type 2 diabetes was a progressive condition.He should have considered whether the condition was likely to result in a substantial adverse effect on normal day to day activities and the medical evidence had been inadequate in this regard as it had not considered the future prognosis.

In Taylor v Ladbrokes Betting and Gaming,Mr Taylor suffered from Type 2 diabetes.He was dismissed and claimed disability discrimination. Based on written medical evidence,the employment judge ruled that he was not disabled.His condition was controlled by medication.The medical evidence also indicated that he could easily control his condition by means of lifestyle,diet and exercise.

Mr Taylor appealed to the EAT,who upheld his appeal and sent the case back to the employment tribunal to consider again.

Case reference:

Saturday, 18 March 2017

New Compensation Limits in Tribunals

The compensation limits for certain awards made in Employment Tribunals will increase from April 6th,2017. The increases apply to dismissals occurring on or after that date.

*The maximum compensation award for unfair dismissal increases from £78,926 to £80,541.

*The cap for a week's pay (used to calculate basic awards and statutory redundancy payments) increases from £479 to £489.

*The minimum award for certain unfair dismissal claims increases from £5,853 to £5,970.

If you are considering or are making redundancies (or maybe parting company with an employee by agreement) on or after April 6th,2017 you will need to make sure that you are using the correct cap for the weekly pay figure in your calculations.

New ACAS Guidance on Gig Economy

New guidance to help employers understand gig economy working has come from the Conciliation Service Acas.Its updated guidance outlines different types of employment status following recent high-profile  court judgements involving companies such as CitySprint and Uber.
Acas says its aim is to "provide some clarity on the various different types of ways that people can work and the employment rights that they are entitled to". Head of guidance at Acas,Stewart Gee,says:" Many businesses and their staff may not realise that a working person's employment rights  very much depends on their status.
"A person who is self-employed or defined as a worker is likely to have different legal rights to someone else who is considered an employee".
The guidance covers the three main types of employment status:employee,worker and self-employed.In the latter case,the guidance has been expanded to look at how the relationship works if someone operates through an umbrella company or agency.

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Courier Wins Holiday Pay in Gig-economy Ruling

A cycle courier working for the delivery firm CitySprint has won the right to paid holidays and minimum pay after being wrongly classed as self-employed. A tribunal ruled that CitySprint had unlawfully failed to award holiday pay to Mags Dewhurst and had wrongly classed her as a self - employed freelancer.

Dewhurst,who has made deliveries for CitySprint for more than two years,does not receive a guaranteed wage ,sick pay or holiday pay,because the company considers her an independent contractor.The tribunal found that her formal employment classification should be as a worker , and,as such entitled to paid holiday,the national minimum wage and potentially sick pay.

Heavier Fines For Sexist Dress Codes?

Employers that enforce sexist dress codes could be in line for stricter punishment and fines,if the Government follows recommendations set out in a new report.

The report ,prepared jointly by the Women and Equalities Commission and the Petitions Commission, entitled High Heels and Workplace Dress Codes,recommends that the Government "takes urgent action to improve the effectiveness of the Equality Act" and that employment tribunals should be able to ask for more effective remedies,such as financial penalties,for those employers who breach the law.

It says:"It is clear that there are not currently enough disincentives to prevent employers breaching the law. Penalties should be set at such a level as to ensure  that employees are not deterred from bringing claims,and to deter employers from breaching the regulations".

An enquiry was triggered last year by a receptionist,Nicola Thorp,who set up a parliamentary petition to make it illegal for companies to force employees to wear high heels to work.She had been sent home from work after being told it was her agency's "grooming policy" for women to wear two-to-four inch heels.Her petition received more that 150,000 signatures.