UK Gender Pay Gap reporting obligations for 2020/21 – the latest position

Gender Pay Gap ReportJust a quick update for any employer currently preparing its gender pay gap report for 2020/21.

As you may have seen, the Equality and Human Rights Commission has confirmed that “due to the continued effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, enforcement action against employers failing to report their gender pay gap will start on 5 October 2021.”

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Using religious belief as a defence to misconduct (UK)

Employee MisconductMr Page was a magistrate of strong Christian conviction.  After many years’ blameless services in that role he began to hear family cases and in 2014 he presided over an adoption application by a same-sex couple.  All the other factors pointed in favour, but Page refused to sign off on it on the grounds of his religious beliefs.  He was sworn to act in the best interests of the child, he said, and in his view that was to provide it with a mother and a father because that was “natural”.  It was not that he was flatly against same-sex adoptions as such, he told colleagues, but he just wasn’t sure that they were as successful and so they would get the green light from him only when there was no other option available.

This landed Page in front of a Conduct Panel which issued him with a reprimand.  His duty as magistrate was to decide cases on the evidence in front of him, all of which pointed to that adoption proceeding, not on the basis of his own personal views of what constituted the ideal adoptive parents.  He was also required to undergo remedial training before being allowed to resume his sitting duties.

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Legal Developments Webinar 23 February – your follow-up questions answered, Part 2 (UK)

Question and AnswersHere are two more answers to questions raised at our “Employment Law in 2021 and Beyond” webinar last week.  Answers to the immigration-related questions are on their way.

  • If you make representations to the non-compete consultation, will your name be published?  When might we see an outcome from that consultation?
  • Do we know when the new Return To Work guidance will be released by the Home Office?

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New Jersey Extends Employment Protections To Recreational Marijuana Using Employees (US)

DrugsOn February 22, 2021, New Jersey’s governor signed the New Jersey Cannabis Regulatory, Enforcement Assistance, and Marketplace Modernization Act (“CREAMMA” or the “Act”), legalizing the recreational use of cannabis items, i.e., marijuana, for individuals age 21 and older. Importantly, the Act also provides job protections to recreational marijuana users and imposes new drug testing requirements for employers conducting drug testing for employee or applicant use of cannabis items. Continue Reading

Legal Developments Webinar 23 February – your follow-up questions answered, Part 1 (UK)

Question and AnswersThank you to all those who signed up for our “Employment Law in 2021 and Beyond” webinar on 23rd February.  Over 400 people dialled in for the session, so our profuse apologies but maybe little wonder that we did not get to answer all the questions raised.  As promised, here are a couple of the answers, with more to follow soon.

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President Biden Removes Immigrant Visa Ban, Leaves Other Immigration Bans in Place (US)

On Wednesday, February 24, 2021, President Biden issued a Proclamation removing one of the few remaining major Trump COVID-era Visa Bans. The move repeals Presidential Proclamation 10014, which was set to expire after March 31, 2021, and temporarily paused the issuance of immigrant visas.  President Biden justified the action by explaining that the ban “harms the United States, including by preventing certain family members of United States citizens and lawful permanent residents from joining their families here. It also harms industries in the United States that utilize talent from around the world.” Continue Reading

Little scope for UK employers to get lost on recovery roadmap

Road to recovery signSo there it is, Boris’s long-heralded 4 Step plan for the country to move forward into our new future.  Lots of statistics, cautions and caveats, but what does the 60-page “COVID-19 Response – Spring 2021” document presented to Parliament yesterday contain for employers?  Is there anything new or is it, like the paper the original was printed on, 75% recycled?

Among many pages of retrospective self-justification on the part of the Government (though no obvious references to the spending of £squillions on non-compliant PPE or unlawful procurement practices), we can find these points for employers to think about:

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Biden’s DOL Withdraws Trump-Era Opinion Letters Regarding “Gig Economy” Workers and Sleeping Truck Drivers (US)

Department of Labor - USAOn February 19, 2021, the US Department of Labor’s (“DOL”) Wage and Hour Division (“WHD”) withdrew two Trump-era opinion letters.  The first, FLSA2019-6, discussed whether a service provider for a virtual marketplace company (“VMC”) is an independent contractor or an employee subject to the Fair Labor Standards Act (“FLSA”). The second, FLSA2019-10, involved the compensability of time truck drivers spend in a truck’s sleeper berth while they are otherwise relieved from duty. Continue Reading

Arizona Responds to Spike in Fraudulent Unemployment Claims With Advice for Employers (US)

Arizona State Capitol BuildingLike many states, Arizona has been a recent target in the wave of nationwide fraudulent unemployment claims. When the CARES Act passed in the spring of 2020, states were authorized to award expanded unemployment relief to persons whose jobs were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, including some persons who otherwise were ineligible for or had exhausted their unemployment benefits.

Cue the scammers ready to seize an opportunity! In the months that followed passage of the CARES Act, many states saw a surge in unemployment insurance (UI) filings, which in most jurisdictions takes only completing a form online with some basic personal information (in many cases, information that can be found unlawfully on the dark web). Employers were often surprised by notifications of UI claims filed by persons they had never employed, or by employees still on their payroll. Continue Reading

EAT refuses to swallow stale discrimination training – keeping up the statutory defence (UK)

Corporate training exerciseAs a rule, an employer will be liable for the discriminatory acts of its employees towards each other unless it has taken all reasonable steps to prevent them doing that sort of thing (section 109(4) Equality Act, often known as the “statutory defence”).

Allay (UK) Limited –v- Gehlen is one of really not very many cases at all to lift the bonnet on that statutory defence and peer at how the mechanics of it actually work.  It is a very clear warning to employers that it is not enough to have done some anti-harassment training at some point in the past and hope for the best thereafter.

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