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Dismissal for religious beliefs plays well in theatre drama – but as reason or context? (UK)

What with God, theatre and lesbians, the recent EAT decision in Omooba – v – Michael Garrett Associates and Another might truly be said to be the case that has it all.  Sadly the legal points underneath the facts are rather more prosaic, but this ruling is nonetheless worth noting for their possible practical application … Continue Reading

Belgium – the double or triple whammy of employment protection indemnities

In Belgian law, there are certain periods of employment during which there are greater than usual restrictions on an employer’s ability to dismiss an employee. These include periods of maternity, parental and other types of care leave. Parting company with employees during any period when they are protected against dismissal can become a costly affair, … Continue Reading

Clarity covers a multitude of sins – Court of Session restores order to settlement agreement waivers (UK)

Back in October 2022 we reported here on the EAT’s decision in Bathgate -v- Technip UK Limited. This was a particularly unnerving ruling to the effect that settlement agreements could not cover claims yet to arise because of the requirement under section 147 Employment Rights Act that such agreements must relate to “particular claims”. The … Continue Reading

When making reasonable adjustments is a real trial (UK)

Everyone knows that if there is something about a job which causes a disabled employee particular difficulties with it, the employer is under an obligation to make reasonable adjustments to the role to reduce or remove that disadvantage.  But suppose that there are no adjustments to the role which can be made.  Does that duty … Continue Reading

Workplace Harassment in Germany: “We take all allegations regarding harassment seriously” – but what are the consequences?

In the third of our short series “Workplace Harassment in Germany”, Laura Sparschuh takes a look at some recent court rulings regarding harassment. Awareness of workplace harassment as an issue in Germany has significantly increased over the past couple of years. In many cases of sexual harassment in particular, employers keen to be seen to … Continue Reading

Revisions to statutory dismissal and re-engagement Code provide welcome simplification (UK)

This week saw the issue of what will probably be the final version of the Government’s statutory Code of Practice on dismissal and re-engagement.  This follows the consultation on an earlier version which we covered here.  The new Code comes accompanied by some Guidance which is an unusually, in fact disconcertingly, helpful summary of the … Continue Reading

Food for thought – can UK gig economy workers go on strike?

If there was ever any doubt that Trade Unions target their dates for industrial action to cause maximum inconvenience (think train drivers striking on the day of major sporting events, or binmen striking at Christmas), then Deliveroo and other food delivery company drivers striking on Valentines Day surely put that to bed. Scant consolation for … Continue Reading

U.S. Supreme Court Holds SOX Whistleblowers Not Required to Show Retaliatory Intent (US)

On February 8, 2024, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously decided in Murray v. UBS Securities, LLC, et al. that employees bringing whistleblower claims against their employer under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) need not prove that, in taking adverse action against them, their employer intended to retaliate against them due to their protected whistleblowing activity. The … Continue Reading

Pre-nups in employment contracts – not a marriage made in heaven (UK)

In its judgement in Zabelin -v- SPI Spirits and Shefler this month, the Employment Appeal Tribunal has offered a refresher course on some important questions around protected disclosures, contracting out of statutory rights and when the Acas Code applies. The background facts are relatively simple. Zabelin worked for SPI which is owned by Mr Shefler. … Continue Reading

Employees on long-term sickness absence – out of sight, out of mind no longer (Belgium)

The Belgian Parliament is currently discussing a draft Bill proposed by Federal Health Minister Frank Vandenbroucke which aims to reverse the growing trend of long-term sickness. About half a million employees have been off sick for more than a year, according to figures from the National Institute for Sickness and Disability Insurance. That’s two-thirds more … Continue Reading

A Deep-Dive Analysis of Lion Elastomers – the NLRB’s Recent Pronouncement on Offensive Workplace Conduct (US)

Here’s the situation: You own a small business that employs 15 employees. You do your best to provide good pay and benefits, but, like many companies, your business has been adversely impacted by lingering effects of the pandemic and the overall sluggishness of the economy. You call an all-hands meeting and reluctantly inform your employees … Continue Reading

Our Top tips for successful redundancy exercises (UK)

At our virtual panel discussion a couple of weeks ago, we discussed how the current difficult economic climate means that some businesses are contemplating redundancies and/or restructuring exercises to put themselves in the best possible position to meet these challenges. The good news is that, other than some of the well-publicised downsizing exercises in the … Continue Reading

Increased liabilities under new draft Code on dismissal and re-engagement – evidence is all (UK)

Back in November 20201 we reported here on some new Acas guidance on changing terms of employment through dismissal and re-engagement, and in November last year on the Government’s intention to issue a new statutory Code on that practice here. A first draft of that Code has now landed and we can exclusively report that … Continue Reading

New redundancy criteria decision not all that it seems (UK)

So, quick, answer me this – when making redundancies outside the collective consultation rules, do you need to consult with the affected employees about the selection criteria relied upon or only as to the proposed impact of those criteria on that person? Traditional wisdom would point to the latter. The selection criteria are a matter … Continue Reading

Crikey, it’s the rozzers – police involvement in your workplace investigation (UK)

Oops.  Just found an unanswered question left over from our investigations webinar and blog series earlier in the year.  Apologies if it was yours.  The question revolves around employer and investigator interactions with the Police where the subject matter of your workplace investigation is potentially criminal conduct, and is maybe best answered as a series … Continue Reading

Belgium’s new measures on employee illness – headaches for employers?

If I were to rank the employment law questions I receive by popularity, questions around long-term absence, absenteeism and generally how to deal with work incapacity would be right up there, a definite podium finish. The tension between the legitimate frustrations of employers and the no-fault nature of the employees’ absence seems eternal. To give … Continue Reading

EAT reinforces protection of employee beliefs in Biblical pronouns row (UK)

As a break from workplace investigations and before Covid’s threatened resurgence as an issue for employers, how about this new slice of “gay cake” case law around what should and should not happen when your religious beliefs clash with the requirements of your job? In Mackereth –v- DWP & Another this week, the claimant was … Continue Reading

Implementation of the EU Whistleblowing Directive in Germany: latest position

As per our previous blog post, very few members of the European Union managed to implement the provisions of the Whistleblowing Directive into their national legislation before the 17 December 2021 deadline for compliance. Germany is one of the countries that failed to meet the deadline, but as in a number of other EU countries, … Continue Reading

Constructive criticism – last straw dismissal decision overturned by EAT (UK)

Every so often there comes along a case which is not madly interesting on its own facts (stay with me here) but which still serves as a useful future touchstone on a particular issue. If your particular interest is constructive dismissal, and in particular, constructive dismissal through the route of the proverbial last straw, then … Continue Reading

When voluntary redundancy goes bad – precautions for employers (UK)

Employee volunteers for redundancy, is then made redundant on the terms offered and yet still claims unfair dismissal.  A non-starter, surely? That was the view taken by the Employment Tribunal in White –v- HC-One Oval Limited at the back end of 2020.  Ms White had volunteered for redundancy so could reasonably dispute neither the existence … Continue Reading

The four day working week: revolutionising working life, one day at a time (UK)

The idea of a universal four-day working week – with the reduction in working time intended to bolster productivity and wellbeing – is not new. In 1956 Richard Nixon argued (perhaps a little prematurely) that “the four-day work week is inevitable”; from 2007-2011 Republican politicians in Utah redefined the week for State employees as from … Continue Reading
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