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The joy of six – but cold comfort for UK employers in latest pandemic measures

So what price now,  your long-planned initiative for returning your workforce to the office?  How much of your RTO plan is still standing among the smoking wreckage of the Government’s message only two months ago that employees should “start to go back to work now” if they can?  What does Michael Gove mean by the … Continue Reading

New “week’s pay” regulations get an A for aspiration, E for execution (UK)

Meet E.  He is the poor soul at the heart of this week’s new statutory instrument concerning the rights of employees who are dismissed on or after furlough. E is anxious that if he is dismissed while on furlough or soon after he comes off it, then his reduced earnings over that period will prejudice … Continue Reading

Post-lockdown working, Part 5 – doing your homework (UK)

The logical extension from the discovery that all or most or your staff can work from home without anything catastrophic happening is to ask yourself whether you actually need an office in the first place.  Obviously it has potential advantages in terms of staff cohesion and corporate identity, but decisions are being made across the … Continue Reading

UK Chancellor issues further Treasury Direction on CJRS – mire deepens

On Friday last week the Chancellor issued the third and probably final Treasury Direction in relation to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS). This is “the law” that will govern the flexible furlough arrangements from 1 July. As with the two previous Treasury Directions, this one is horribly complicated to navigate – to the point … Continue Reading

And now for something completely different – EU abuse principles sink self-serving contract variation

Quite a fun little case on TUPE this week, if you like that sort of thing (and on the upside, even if you don’t, at least it has nothing to do with COVID-19). Regulation 4(4) of TUPE states that TUPE-related changes to terms of employment are void in most circumstances.  This has long been read … Continue Reading

Dealing with health and safety fears of returning to the workplace (UK)

So now that the slow movement back to workplaces has started, the next hot question will be this: “If I don’t want to go back in because I fear infection if I do, can my employer make me?” The short and absolutely definitively answer to this is no.  And yes. It cannot compel you to … Continue Reading

New Acas guidance on holding disciplinary and grievance meetings without meetings (UK)

Neatly timed to coincide with the beginning of the end of lockdown, ACAS has this week has issued some new thoughts on the conduct of disciplinary and grievance proceedings during the pandemic.  Can or should you really run these things without the physical meetings referred to in generations of prior ACAS guidance? In these respects, … Continue Reading

Smoke lifts temporarily over Belgium’s occult period (and other questions about termination)

In a previous blog, in a world before the coronavirus hit Europe, we noted the social elections that Belgian employers have to organise in 2020 [here] for the appointment of employee representatives to the Works Council and Health & Safety Committee. Being a representative of that sort (and also being a candidate for that role) … Continue Reading

Snooping Employee Dooms Her Title VII Claims By Unauthorized Disclosure of Personnel Files (US)

On November 15, 2018, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit unanimously held in Netter v. Barnes that an employee did not engage in “opposition or participation” activity protected by Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 when she reviewed and duplicated confidential personnel files without authorization.  … Continue Reading

EAT approves use of indiscriminatingly inappropriate banter? Not really (UK)

If I told you that calling a colleague with links to the Traveller community a “fat ginger pikey” might not be harassment, you would be forgiven for picking up the phone to the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority. That is, however, one of the points we can take away from the EAT’s decision in Evans v Xactly … Continue Reading

Redundant for the day – how it feels to be let go

Redundancy. The word is enough to take the bounce out of anyone’s stride. For a business, it means undergoing a complicated process of selection, consultation, getting over all the practical hurdles that may pop up along the way and all the while somewhere at the back of your mind sits the uncomfortable prospect of a … Continue Reading

Global Edge launches new Nigeria resource

The Squires international employment law portal continues its growth with the release last week of its Nigeria section. No more desperate internet searches, no more conflicting information or worrying about whether you are getting the whole picture – Global Edge offers you the opportunity to research specific questions or to compare and contrast Nigerian labour … Continue Reading

The Japanese layoff that didn’t “fly”

As I wrote in this space last year, layoffs for economic circumstances exist under Japanese law, but are exceedingly difficult to achieve without constituting wrongful dismissal. One major international airline is learning this the hard way. Three years ago, the airline terminated three Japan-based employees in connection with the closing of its call center in … Continue Reading

The politics of tragedy – new employment rights proposed for bereaved parents

You know it’s time to re-issue your employment legislation when the nearest available section number for the insertion of an amendment into the Employment Rights Act is Section 171ZZ. Though it might sound like a bottom-rank Star Wars droid, that little fellow is actually the proposed product of a new Bill on time off work for … Continue Reading

Mission Impossible? – Hospital’s obligations to cure dying relationship

Akinwunmi – v – Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust is the perfect example of when employment law reaches the limits of its usefulness in HR practice. For a fuller description of the facts, see Chris Lynn’s blog. For our purposes, however, Dr Akinwunmi fell out with five of his neurosurgeon colleagues over alleged … Continue Reading

Employer pension contributions count towards the calculation of a week’s pay

I have done my best to make this case report sound interesting and I like to think that even the most casual review of it will show that I have, well, failed. However, it is still important, especially for those involved in collective redundancy or TUPE consultations. Employers may need to revisit the potential cost … Continue Reading
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