Archives: Termination

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Healthcare Worker’s Vaccine Refusal Not Immunized by Americans with Disabilities Act (US)

On December 7, 2018, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit unanimously held in Hustvet v. Allina Health System that an employer did not unlawfully terminate an employee who refused to receive a rubella vaccination.  The plaintiff, a healthcare specialist working with potentially vulnerable patients, requested an accommodation exempting … Continue Reading

Three New State Laws Legalize Marijuana Use, Sparking More Confusion and Igniting Further Conflict With Federal Law (US)

The mid-term elections are still on people’s minds, as recounts and run-offs for federal congressional and state gubernatorial candidates are finally wrapping up.  Meanwhile, and largely taking a media-coverage backseat to these high-profile races, many new state initiatives became law as a result of the mid-terms, three which involved legalizing marijuana for recreational or medical … Continue Reading

UK trade union representative unfairly dismissed despite unlawful misuse of confidential information. Really?

Apparently, said the Court of Appeal, the unlawful retention and circulation of confidential material by a union representative “was not a sufficient departure from good industrial relations practice” to justify his dismissal, a conclusion which initially seems little short of perverse, let alone an alarming comment on the state of industrial relations in the UK’s … Continue Reading

Employee pregnancy – is ignorance the best defence?

They do say that maternity in the workplace can be an unsettling and confusing time, leaving you confronting new questions and situations that no one has really prepared you for, and where the guidance comes at you from a range of sources as wide as they are inconsistent. Anyway, enough about employers.… Continue Reading

Title VII Bars Sexual Orientation Discrimination, Says Second Circuit Court of Appeals (US)

Last spring, we reported that the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals (which hears appeals from Illinois, Indiana, and Wisconsin federal trial courts) had become the first federal appellate court to conclude that Title VII’s sex discrimination prohibition also precludes discrimination based on sexual orientation. On February 26, 2018, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, ruling … Continue Reading

Tax treatment of termination payments: changes from April 2018 hit employers again

The UK Government is altering the tax treatment of some termination payments for exits taking effect on or after 6 April.  These changes are the product of the HMRC’s grotesquely misnamed Simplification of the Tax and NI Treatment of Termination Payments consultation paper in August 2015.  The worst excesses of this have come off in the … Continue Reading

When taking a stand on discrimination becomes misconduct

Rochford – v – WNS Global Services is a small (9 page) but perfectly formed UK Court of Appeal decision around when you can stand on your principles in the face of discrimination by your employer and when it just gets you sacked. Mr Rochford had been absent for an extended time with a bad … Continue Reading

When a little knowledge is a dangerous thing – reliance on immigration law to justify dismissal

Every employer knows that UK law relating to illegal workers is big and fierce and that you take liberties with it at your peril. However, here is what can happen when you take it too seriously. In Abellio London Limited – v – Baker, the EAT has this month taken a look at whether an … 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

Looking into disciplinary investigations – EAT’s lessons on when enough is enough

It is a basic plank of a fair disciplinary dismissal that it be preceded by a reasonable investigation.  But what is that, exactly?  How much detail must you include in your enquiry, how many witnesses must you grill, how far back do you have to go, how far must you challenge or test the evidence … Continue Reading

Seventh Circuit Explains: The ADA Is Not A “Medical Leave” Statute

On September 20, 2017, the Seventh Circuit in Severson v. Heartland Woodcraft, Inc. held that a long-term leave of absence is not a reasonable accommodation under the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”).  As we all know, the ADA prohibits employers from discriminating against “qualified individuals” with disabilities, defining such individuals as applicants or employees who, with … Continue Reading

Two US Federal Agencies disagree as to whether Title VII as a matter of law, reaches sexual orientation discrimination

This past May, 2017, The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit granted en banc (meaning all the judges on the Second Circuit will hear the case instead of a three-judge panel) a review in Zarda v. Altitude Express, the case of a New York skydiving instructor who was fired from his job because … Continue Reading

Are Employers Going to be Required to Accommodate Medical Marijuana Use?

State-registered medical cannabis patients may now sue a private employer for discrimination under Massachusetts’ law if they are fired for their off-the-job marijuana use, according to landmark ruling issued July 17, 2017, by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Citing the Massachusetts Medical Marijuana Act, the court states that patients shall not be denied “any right … Continue Reading

Justification of Redundancy Following Disability-Related Absence

If because of your disability you are absent from work and if because of that absence your employer discovers that it doesn’t actually need you, does your resulting redundancy arise from your disability?  This is important because Section 15 Equality Act 2010 says that if A treats B unfavourably “because of something arising in consequence … Continue Reading

Unclear and present danger – incorrect use of “Independent Contractor” arrangements may have expensive consequences

The ever-vexed question of whether a worker is an employee or independent contractor has once again come before the Australian courts. The recent decision of Balemian v Mobilia Manufacturing Pty Ltd & Anor provides a reminder to employers of the potential financial ramifications of getting this wrong.… Continue Reading

In the post – FWC delivers mixed messages on dismissal for social media indiscretions

Following recent differing decisions of the Fair Work Commission (FWC) it seems that Australian employers must still tread a fine and uncertain line in determining whether employee misconduct on social media is a valid reason for dismissal. In the recent case of Stephen Campbell v Qube Ports Pty Ltd t/a Qube Ports & Bulk in … Continue Reading

EAT says even expired warnings can be taken into account when dismissing an employee. Sometimes.

In Stratford v Auto Trail VR Ltd the EAT held that an expired warning can be taken into account when considering whether a dismissal was fair or unfair under s98(4) Employment Rights Act 1996. Mr Stratford had the sort of disciplinary record which requires real commitment (17 incidents in less than 13 years). The most … Continue Reading
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