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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

Looking into workplace investigations, Part 1 – what are you talking about? (UK)

Today we start a new series of posts tackling the vexed area of workplace investigations.  We will look at the background law, of which there is very little, and at best practice guidance, of which there is more than can possibly all be useful.  We will offer some examples of investigations done badly and consider … Continue Reading

New Acas fire and re-hire guidance – how to do the wrong thing in the right way (UK)

Back in June Acas produced a report on the “fire and re-hire” practices used by some employers to make detrimental changes to employees’ terms and conditions of employment. In essence, the employee is given notice of dismissal from his old contract but offered immediate reinstatement on a new one which incorporates the changes the employer wanted … Continue Reading

Not signed, not enforceable? How UK employers can enforce restrictive covenants in unsigned contracts.

Restrictive covenants are a common feature of many employment contracts.  They are favoured by employers which want to ensure that departing employees will not solicit business, compete, poach clients or colleagues, and so on.  When they are needed they are really needed and so this is an important question. It is always good practice to … Continue Reading

Disciplinary Procedures webinar – your questions answered (UK)

Our webinar on disciplinary proceedings last week began unpromisingly – there is no new law and little new practice to learn, I had to say, not necessarily what you want to hear from your legal training session.  Nonetheless, we had several hundred sign-ups, perhaps tribute to the enduring mystique and indeed terror implicit in conducting … Continue Reading

EAT hits employer with warning shot on disciplinary procedures (UK)

London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham – v – Keable is an EAT case with everything in it – Nazis, Holocaust deniers, Momentum activists and Members of Parliament, though not necessarily all at the same time.  Oddly, despite this outstandingly diverse cast, the most important part of the decision for employers is actually the EAT’s … Continue Reading

Grievances and punishment – Is it enough to succeed, or must others fail? (UK)

If you look for the statutory source of the ordinary right to bring a workplace grievance, you may be gone some time.  It arose initially as a by-product of the implied duty of trust and confidence, and formally bubbled to the surface in WA Gould (Pearmak) Limited – v – McConnell in 1995.  There the … Continue Reading
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