Unfair dismissal

Subscribe to Unfair dismissal RSS Feed

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

Workers gain new health and safety protection from 31 May (UK)

As the law currently stands, sections 44 and 100 Employment Rights Act 1996 protect employees against detriment (e.g. disciplinary action or suspension of pay) and dismissal as a result of their taking steps to protect themselves or others in certain health and safety situations, including where “in circumstances of danger which the employee reasonably believed … Continue Reading

All zeros and ones – EAT sums up burden of proof for disciplinary decisions (UK)

Back in March we posted here a piece about dismissing to protect the employer’s corporate reputation. In that case the employer made a very difficult choice between the claimed (ultimately, actual) innocence of the employee and the harm which continuing to employ him might do if he turned out to be guilty. On the facts, … Continue Reading

Procedure-free dismissal found fair – don’t try this at home (UK)

“Loss of trust and confidence” is often pleaded as a basis for a fair dismissal, but rarely successfully.  Employment Tribunals are astute to employers using it as a short cut to address performance or conduct issues without going through a proper procedure.  After all, a dismissal without a fair procedure is going to be unfair … 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

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

Dismissing to protect corporate reputation – how to keep your good name in the Tribunal (UK)

If one of your employees is arrested and charged with something more than usually distressing and distasteful, the question will inevitably come up of whether he can be dismissed. The driver for that inquiry will often be a fear on the employer’s part of adverse publicity arising from its continued employment of him against that … Continue Reading

A little knowledge is a dangerous thing – or when ignorance is not bliss (UK)

Here’s a question. Employee Mr U is accused of sexually assaulting A. She goes to the Police about it and simultaneously U’s employer starts an investigation into his conduct. The investigator J concludes that there is a case to answer, based in part on A having gone to the Police. On the back of J’s … Continue Reading

Are the grounds for dismissal the rationale or the reason? (UK)

Exploring the difference between why you do something and why it happens sounds like one of those abstract A-level Philosophy questions about whether you are a prince dreaming you are a butterfly or the other way around, but without the ability to ask whether anyone cares anyway. However, the question is also key to determining … Continue Reading

“Proselytise” (vb): (1) to advocate, persuade, cause to adopt; (2) to take material risks with your continued employment (UK)

Here is another case about how far doing your God’s bidding in the workplace protects you from disciplinary action by your employer or, put more prosaically, about the relationship between the unfair dismissal regime and your rights to freedom of religion under Article 9 of the European Convention on Human Rights.… Continue Reading

Extending redundancy protection for new parents (UK)

The UK government last week issued a consultation on “extending redundancy protection for women and new parents”. The proposals would mean that women who have recently returned to work after a period of maternity leave would have the same protection as women on maternity leave in a redundancy situation.  The government’s provisional view is that … Continue Reading

Completing UK right to work checks – top tips for employers

Last week I was proud to speak at Business Forums International’s ‘Vetting and Screening’ Conference regarding the challenges faced by employers when completing right to work checks. I was delighted to share the platform with speakers from Reed Screening, The Forward Trust, Nick Mann Associates, Credence Background Screening, The Security Watchdog and NSL, who covered … 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

ECHR keeps an eye on covert workplace surveillance, but for whose benefit?

Judge Dedov is the one to watch here.  He was the only one out of the European Court of Human Rights panel not responsible for a recent decision on employee surveillance which many may feel tilts European law around workplace monitoring altogether too far towards the interests of the employee. Ms Ribalda and her four … Continue Reading
LexBlog