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Employee sent packing after empty bag theft — mitigation in dishonesty dismissals (UK)

Last month the BBC reported the Employment Tribunal’s decision that it was fair to dismiss a Mr Doffou for gross misconduct because he had not paid for a handful of bags he packed his shopping in after his shift. Mr Doffou had been happily employed at Sainsbury’s in Romford for nearly 20 years when given … 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

When the ET won’t bite back – limits on strike out-powers (UK)

Rule 37 of the 2013 ET Rules of Procedure contains the Tribunal’s nuclear deterrent, the power to strike out part or all of a claim or defence. That big red button can only be pushed for a small number of specified reasons including (for today’s purposes) Rule 37(b) that the manner in which proceedings have … 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

When the Employment Tribunal bites back (and when it doesn’t) (UK)

Two recent cases on how Employment Tribunals should handle the inappropriate conduct of proceedings by claimants have shed some useful light on their more punitive powers.  Both decisions made clear that the ET is far more interested in getting to a fair trial of the issue despite such conduct than in thumping claimants because of … Continue Reading

Employment tribunal fees consultation, V.2 – yes but why? (UK)

The ancient art of fiddling while Rome burns is obviously still flourishing in government, as witness the release last week of a new consultation paper on fees for Employment Tribunal claimants. My colleague Alexander Bradbury has the official line here. We have been this way before.  The ET started charging claim and hearing fees in … Continue Reading

New Consultation on UK Employment Tribunal Fees

In 2013, the Government introduced fees for bringing claims to the Employment Tribunal and the Employment Appeal Tribunal.  Although they were then abolished following a Supreme Court ruling in 2017, the issue is back in the spotlight and the subject of fee-rocious debate once more following the publication of a Government consultation into their re-introduction. … Continue Reading

Belgium – “When the lights go out”: the burn-out pandemic

In this last episode of our mini-series on long-term absence, we will zoom in on probably the most common current ground for long-term absence in Belgium, which is burn-out. Burn-out was in the Belgian press again recently because of a decision in the Antwerp Employment Court that it is discriminatory for a health care insurer … 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

Attention! Important new decision on accrual of paid leave in France

French law has traditionally provided that absences due to non-occupational illness are not taken into account when determining the amount of paid leave accrued, as they do not constitute a period of actual work. Periods of absence due to an occupational accident or illness lasting more than one uninterrupted year are not taken into account … Continue Reading

New anti-bullying law proposals make grim reading all round for UK workplaces

So here we go again, another attempt to legislate against workplace bullying.  This is not the first – back in 2001 there was a Dignity at Work bill, a fantastically inept piece of drafting crippled alike by internal processes more complicated than the wiring diagram of a battleship and the inevitable (and as it turned … Continue Reading

A tip for your trouble – new rules for employers on treatment of gratuities and service charges (UK)

Employers in the hospitality, leisure and service sectors should be aware that the Employment (Allocation of Tips) Act 2023 has now completed the parliamentary process and will be coming into force at some point in 2024, most likely May.    This particular piece of legislation has been a long time coming – the suggestion was … Continue Reading

Psychosocial hazards and poor organisational justice – necessary protection or a step too far for employers? (Australia)

There is a growing emphasis on the need to properly manage psychosocial hazards in the workplace that may create a risk to workers’ health and safety. But recent changes to safety laws indicate that psychosocial hazards include the potentially subjective concept of “poor organisational justice”. Have things gone too far, or is “poor organisational justice” … Continue Reading

Dismissal without prejudice – fact or fiction? (UK)

It’s not generally too difficult to know when you’ve been dismissed.  Your P45 arrives, colleagues avoid eye contact and your entry pass stops working.  But sometimes it’s not so clear and where your statutory or contractual rights may hang upon it, you cannot afford not to be sure. In Meaker – v – Cyxtera Technology … Continue Reading

The gender pay gap and what Belgian employers need to do about it (now and in the future)

The statistics Some uplifting news last week from Statbel, the Belgian Agency for Statistics. In 2021, there was no longer a pay gap for young women in Belgium. But as their age goes up, so opens up the pay gap with male colleagues. On average across all ages, women in Belgium earned 5% less per … Continue Reading

Third Circuit OKs Deductions From FLSA Exempt Employee PTO Banks (US)

In a first of its kind opinion, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit (which hears appeals from the federal district courts in Delaware, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania) ruled that an employer does not violate the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) when it deducts time from FLSA-exempt employees’ paid time off (PTO) banks … Continue Reading

US Supreme Court Clarifies Employers’ Overtime Wage Payment Duty (US)

On February 22, 2023, the U.S. Supreme Court issued a decision clarifying employers’ obligation to pay overtime under the federal Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). The decision, Helix Energy Solutions Grp., Inc. v. Hewitt, No. 21-984, — S.Ct. — (Feb. 22, 2023), affirmed the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals’ interpretation of the FLSA’s overtime pay … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Strikes Down Latest California Law Against Employee Arbitration Agreements (US)

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit struck down the California Legislature’s latest attempt in a prolonged effort to limit employers’ ability to make arbitration of all disputes a condition of employment. In an opinion issued on February 15, 2023, the Ninth Circuit ruled that the law, Assembly Bill 51, is preempted by … Continue Reading

Did you hear? The EEOC issues new guidance on auditory disabilities in the workplace. (US)

Hearing impairment probably isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think about workplace discrimination. In fact, it’s probably not even in the top ten. With hearing impairment affecting about 15% of adults, however, this is a topic that has recently moved its way up the EEOC’s priority list.… Continue Reading

For the sake of argument  – EAT reviews without prejudice rules (UK)

Christmas being a season of peace on Earth and goodwill to all men, so they say despite all the evidence, here is a quick festive look at just how confrontational things have to become in order to constitute a dispute at law. The question is a surprisingly important one, since on the existence of a … Continue Reading

NLRB Issues Flurry of Blockbuster End-of-Year Decisions (With More to Come?) (US)

Over the course of one week in mid-December, the Democrat-appointed majority members of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB or the Board) significantly altered the labor law landscape for employers by issuing a flurry of high visibility, much anticipated decisions. Among other things, these decisions will make it easier for unions to organize employees and … Continue Reading
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