Unfair dismissal

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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

Knew this would happen, Part 3 – draft Acas code fails to plug holes in predictable working patterns law (UK)

Last week saw the publication of the draft Acas Code of Practice for handling requests for a “predictable working pattern”.  When we previewed the draft Bill in February, we noted here Knew this would happen – entirely predictable problems with new working patterns Bill (UK) the lack of any definition of “predictable” despite the obvious … 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

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

Wedded to The Law – striking marital discrimination failure explained (UK)

As the next in our occasional series of posts about The Law, here is a new Employment Appeal Tribunal decision so morally unjust that even the Judge himself didn’t want to make it. Mrs Bacon was married to the majority shareholder of their joint employer, Advanced Fire Solutions Limited.  She was also employee, director and … Continue Reading

New EAT employee status decision fails to make a virtue out of necessity (UK)

There is a long-established legal principle that you can only imply an employment relationship in the face of a contract saying something different if it is necessary to do so, i.e. if the found facts of the relationship are not consistent with any other explanation, in particular, worker status or genuine self-employment.  Until the Court … 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

A step into the unknown – waiving future claims by settlement agreements (UK)

You would think that in the twenty-plus years since they were first introduced as an alternative to the Acas COT3, all that could be said about the law relating to settlement agreements would have been said.  However, along now comes the Scottish Employment Appeal Tribunal in Bathgate –v- Technip UK Limited and Others with a … Continue Reading

Keeping it real – the quest for reason in whistleblowing cases (UK)

In earlier posts on this blog you will find a handful of cases which consider the distinction between the fact of a protected whistle-blowing disclosure and the manner of it.  Accepted wisdom, thanks in part to the unimprovable words of then Mr Justice Underhill in Martin -v-Devonshires Solicitors here is that an employer can in … 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

New code of practice on employers’ failure to consult – policy or politics? (UK)

An interesting development on the old employment relations front this week with the announcement of a new statutory code of practice concerning, well, that strictly remains to be seen.  Scarcely able to stand up under the weight of politically-charged invective and hyperbole, the government’s statement refers to “clamping down” on “unscrupulous employers” which fail 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

COVID-19: what next for UK employers, Part 5 – are they at risk under the away goals rule?

Here is another good question from our What Next webinar a couple of weeks ago. More to follow soon. If someone whose role involves International travel has a medical condition which makes that travel undesirable in a post-pandemic World, would the capability dismissal process be applicable? Probably so, but we need to look at the … Continue Reading

“There are only two ways of telling the complete truth – anonymously and posthumously” (UK)

That was according to a US economist, Thomas Sowell, but it also came up at a recent webinar we did on whistle-blowing and grievance investigations.  We were talking about limits on the employer’s ability to use evidence from witnesses whose identities would not be disclosed to the person accused.  The short point was that to … Continue Reading

COVID-19: what next for UK employers, Part 4

In deciding whether to allow an employee’s request to continue a full or partial remote working schedule, what account should be taken of the reasons for that request? In our ‘What next’ webinar last week, I indicated that in most cases the safest answer to this question is “none”, and that the employee’s reasons for … Continue Reading

Bogged down in pointless appeals? – The Law speaks (UK)

Periodically a case comes along to remind us that underneath all good dismissal practice, Acas guidance and the rest is The Law, and that The Law is sometimes less rigid in its requirements of a fair dismissal than all that guidance might suggest. Moore -v- Phoenix Product Development Limited is today’s such case, an everyday … Continue Reading

Redundancy or furlough? – something for employers to think about

With the end of the Coronvirus Job Retention Scheme now only half a dozen weeks away we are seeing the first reported Employment Tribunal decisions around the interplay of the CJRS and redundancy dismissals.  This brings us the beginnings of an answer to the challenge many employers will have faced since the Scheme was introduced … Continue Reading

“You can go to the pub if off sick from work, says Tribunal” and other wild over-simplifications (UK)

This is of course not what the Newcastle Employment Tribunal said, nor is “Unless a company has specifically forbidden employees from socialising while ill they are free to do what they like” or “Going to the pub while off sick is not a sackable offence”.  However, the reality would not illuminate the pages of yesterday’s … Continue Reading

Lost in space – useful pointers for health and safety dismissals (UK)

Back in May last year we posted a piece on the protections available to employees who choose to leave their workplace because of serious health and safety fears.  As the RTO process begins to warm up, here is an Employment Tribunal case (possibly the first, but certainly not the last) which looks at the practical application … Continue Reading
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