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.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Brexit Implications For Employment Law

Despite reassuring  statements from David Davis,Britain's newly- appointed Secretary of State for Exiting the EU, that existing employment law would not be radically changed once the UK leaves the EU,it would be wise for UK organisations to take protective measures against likely amendments to some workplace  laws once the Brexit process is complete.

Many of the employment law protections which came from EU law are firmly embedded in the UK's legal and ideological framework - such as protection against unlawful discrimination , but there are areas of potential change which businesses would be sensible to address now.

Here are some possible sectors to consider:

Immigration : Free Movement

Following the vote , the EU said the UK must continue to allow the free movement of EU workers if it wanted to trade with member states after its withdrawal.UK politicians have suggested that a points - based system could be used to govern EU migrants coming to the UK in the future

The Government however has recently stated that it expects the legal status of EU nationals here,and UK nationals in member states,to be "properly protected" as a result of negotiations to leave the EU and that, until the UK's exit,there will be no change to the existing operation of the EU's free movement rules.

These rules do not require EU nationals to register for any documentation , and the statement confirms that EU nationals automatically have permanent residence rights after five years in the UK and have the option of applying for British citizenship after six years.

Transfer of Undertakings  (TUPE)

The UK's transfer  regulations exceed the requirements of the EU directive by including  "service provision changes".The block on harmonising  terms and conditions following the Tupe transfer (which originates in EU case law) may come under scrutiny.For instance, organisations   entering into contracts for services need to be aware that it is possible,albeit quite unlikely,that  the TUPE regulations will no longer apply when the contract eventually terminates.

Data Protection

The EU General Data Protection Regulations 2016 have to be implemented in the UK by May 2018. Even if withdrawal is complete by that time,the UK will still need to comply with cross-border data protection laws if it wants to keep its EU trading partners.

Equality: compensation cap

We may see a cap on discrimination  compensation but many equality laws ( for example those  on sex,race and disability,and on equal pay) predate the UK joining the EU and are unlikely to be repealed.

Holidays / working time

The UK's  statutory paid holidays (5.6 weeks) go beyond the EU minimum (20 days) and are unlikely to be repealed,but the Government may wish to amend the rules on calculating  holiday pay and on opting out of the 48 - hour week.We could see a rash of holiday pay claims,supported by the UK trade unions,in an attempt to have those claims heard before any change in the Working Time Regulations by the UK Government.

Unfair targeting of employees

It is important that employers make it clear to their  European  workforces that targeting UK or EU nationals because of Brexit cannot be tolerated. Employers should consider sending out very clear communications to employees on this matter and,if necessary,should ask employee and union representatives  to assist in drawing these up.

Impact of cost of living changes.

There is likely to be a request from  organisations for their senior staff to be insulated against any decrease in the value of the pound,or any increase in the UK cost of living. European companies may also need  to react to any slowdown in the UK economy,and possibly across Europe,and to familiarise themselves with the changes that could occur in UK employment law after the Brexit  break.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Former Employee Prosecuted For Unlawfully Obtaining Client Data

An employee who illegally transferred information about company clients to his email account before starting to work for a competitor,has been prosecuted by The Information Commissioner's Office ( "ICO").The employee sent the sensitive information including personal data and purchase history of hundreds of customers of the waste management company he was working for to his personal email address.

The unlawful obtaining or disclosing of personal data or the information contained in personal data is a criminal offence under section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998.This follows the  ICO taking action earlier on this year under the same section after an ex-employee of the insurance company ,attempted to get an existing employee to sell customer data to him.

Written by John Price