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Representative’s reprimand for clear misconduct unlawful, says EAT (UK)

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has recently handed down a judgment which serves as a useful reminder for employers of the risks of taking disciplinary action against union representatives for behaviour which may look like misconduct but which actually constitutes union activity. By way of background, section 146(1)(b) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) … Continue Reading

Proposals to amend working time protections denied – “public unconvinced” shock (UK)

On Friday last week the Financial Times reported on proposals from the Business Department to “rip up worker protections” under the current Working Time Regulations.  But simultaneously on BBC News online, look, it’s the Business Secretary himself denying on twitter any notion that his department is planning to dilute UK workers’ rights.  The very idea. … Continue Reading

If you have tiers, prepare to shed them now – thoughts for UK employers under lockdown v.3

So here we are all again and, says the Government’s latest guidance, able to leave home to work only where it is “unreasonable for you to do your job from home“.  This is the umpteenth permutation of the same underlying message about working from home if you can, and was almost certainly meant to say … Continue Reading

Belgium’s social inspection services on a mission to check observance with working from home rules

In a previous blog we noted that as of November 2020, Belgium would again be in semi-lockdown and that one of the measures re-imposed was the obligation to work from home, unless this is realistically impossible. Employees whose work requires them to go the office need a confirmatory certificate from their employer attesting to this … Continue Reading

2020’s parting gift to UK employers – you really shouldn’t have

It is easy to dismiss some EAT decisions as a storm in a teacup, legally-speaking, all very traumatic for those bobbing about in them, but of little significance to the wider world of employment law or practice. Steer – v – Stormsure Limited earlier this month is not one of those decisions. It has the … Continue Reading

Unwinding termination agreements – looking behind the without prejudice curtain (UK)

All the smart money is on 2021 to see an increased number of grievances and Employment Tribunal claims as the pandemic support regime winds down.  Therefore this is probably a good moment to look at the practical lessons to be taken from Cole – v – Elders Voice in the Employment Appeal Tribunal last month … Continue Reading

Government review of restrictive covenants resurfaces – better grammar, different reasons, same problems (UK)

Back in 2016 the Government published a Call for Evidence to better understand, it said, how non-compete clauses in employment contracts are used and why, and to assess the benefits and disadvantages associated with them.  The Call was a mess in every sense, legally, practically and even grammatically, as we said here nowhere in the whole … Continue Reading

The “business executive” self-isolation exemption – no-score draw in commerce –v- public health clash (UK)

So we hear by Twitter on Thursday last week that from the crack of dawn on Saturday just gone, “high-value business travellers” are partially exempt from self-isolation requirements when entering or returning to England.  A number of media, arts and sports roles have been granted an exemption also. “Conditions apply”, it said, and so they … Continue Reading

Employers needled by vaccine refusals, Part 3 – injecting some reality (UK)

In the earlier parts of this blog series (part 1 & part 2) we saw that for the most part, asking your employees to take the covid-19 vaccination will be a reasonable management request and that their refusal to do so will usually be deemed unreasonable at law. Against that background, how should the employer … Continue Reading

Employers needled by vaccine refusals, Part 2 – the role of reasonableness (UK)

Having established in the first of this series that a request to take the covid-19 vaccination is probably a reasonable management request, then what? Can you go straight from there to enforcing it as an issue of disobedience? Only if the refusal is unreasonable. Will refusal to take the vaccine be an unreasonable failure to … Continue Reading

Employers needled by vaccine refusals, Part 1 – your rights and obligations (UK)

So a government-approved vaccination becomes available and you really want your employees to take it.  Can you just insist, or does the development of the vaccine turn out to have been the easy bit? Here and in further posts to follow shortly are some headline thoughts on the point. Please note that these will be … Continue Reading

Second thoughts for employers facing new pandemic measures (UK)

Boris’ press conference on Saturday night addressed one key question and left another unanswered. In his late start, overturning of previous statements and an expression more hunted than Ronnie Biggs, the Prime Minister showed clearly that the pandemic holds the reins of power at present, not the Government.  On the other hand, after six months … Continue Reading

Belgium – Your employees can’t work from home? Time for a certificate!

We were – as ever – maybe a little late to the party, but as of Monday 2 November, Belgium is in new lockdown, at least until 13 December. Non-essential shops are closed and so-called “professions with direct contact” (beauticians, barbers) are prohibited from working.  Working from home is mandatory, unless this is “impossible due … Continue Reading

Online Employment Tribunal hearings – remote possibility or part of our new normal? (UK)

Remote evidence in Tribunal hearings have traditionally been limited to circumstances where an individual’s location or health makes it very difficult for them to attend the venue. Historically the ETs have not much liked it and there is a continued perception that evidence given remotely is like that given by a written statement alone – … Continue Reading

People at the Centre: hard decisions in hard times but some thoughts and reassurance for HR (UK)

A recent Acas survey has reported that over a third of employers (37%) are likely to make staff redundancies in the next 3 months (see here). That is a statistic which can be a surprise to no one, except possibly that it is not higher. Often in redundancy situations, the majority of the “sympathy” quite … Continue Reading

Post-lockdown flexible working, Part 5 – handling requests sooner or later (UK)

Here is another question which came up more than once at last week’s webinar on Managing Working Parents but which I was unable to get to at the time. If you receive a flexible working application now, can you “park” it until things settle down and you have a clearer picture of what your post-pandemic … Continue Reading

New Direction and guidance on job retention bonus rules (UK)

Friday last week saw the issue of the fourth Treasury Direction to HMRC concerning the administration of the CJRS.  TD4 deals with the CJRS job retention bonus scheme, shamefully immortalised in the drafting as the CJRS(JR)B – what would have been so hard about “the Bonus”? Five and a bit pages of circumlocution and sub-sub-sub-paragraphs … Continue Reading
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