News @SCESolicitors: posted by Samira Cakali (formerly Ali) aka Legal Eye Sam

I try and bring all interesting case law and all changes in legislation to your attention in a simplistic form. I hope you enjoy reading my posts and please do leave your comments. If you would like to get our monthly newsletter please email me on Please note that the information in these blogs is to provide information of general interest in a summary manner and should not be construed as individual legal advice. Readers should consult with us or other professional counsel before acting on the information contained here.

  • How important is a signed contract?

    Tags: Restrictive Covenants, Employment Law, Employment Contracts, Court

    Most businesses, regardless of whether or not a Human Resources (HR) department exists will ensure that new employees receive an employment contract or at the very least some form of statement setting out their terms and conditions. Unfortunately not all businesses or HR personnel are as diligent at ensuring that the employee returns a signed copy of the agreement. 

    On dispute, if the company have an unsigned contract in their possession, this begs the question as to whether the clauses contained in the contract/agreement are enforceable against the employee. 

    This question was recently examined by the High Court in FW Farnsworth Limited v Lacy. The court was asked to determine whether the employee was bound by the post termination restrictions contained within an unsigned … more

  • Continued employment law reforms: flexible parental leave and flexible working for all

    Tags: ACAS, Employment Law Reforms, Flexible Working, Employment Law, Parental Leave

    This week, Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg announced that, from 2015, the UK will have a new system of flexible parental leave and the right to request flexible working will extend to all employees from 2014.

    The Government’s Modern Workplaces response on flexible parental leave states that:

    The default position in respect to maternity leave will remain at 52 weeks;

    Fathers will continue to be entitled to two weeks’ paid paternity leave;

    Up to 50 weeks of the maternity leave can be taken as flexible parental leave, if the mother returns to work. The remainder of any maternity leave can be shared between the mother and her partner. If the mother notifies the employers in advance of her early return then the balance of the leave can be taken by the parents together, … more

  • How will the owner employee status work?

    Tags: Owner Employee Employment Status, Employment Reform, Unfair Dismissal, Discrimination, Flexible Working, Redundancy Pay, Time Off for Training, Shares, Employment Law

    The economic downturn has meant that business owners have had to be more creative with both their business ventures and motivating their staff. Recently it seems that even the government is following pursuit, as last month the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, announced plans for a new kind of ‘employee owner’ employment contract, as part of the plans to improving the UK economy and creating greater employment flexibility.

    The government aims to allow companies to offer the new type of contract from April 2013.

    What’s new?

    Under the new status, employees will be entitled to between £2000 and £50,000 of shares, which will be exempt from capital gains tax, in exchange for giving up the following rights:

    1.    Unfair dismissal … more

  • The battle against capability and conduct procedures

    Tags: Unfair Dismissal, Employment Tribunals, Misconduct, Capability, Disciplinary Procedure, Employment Law

    Some industries use slightly modified disciplinary procedures when dealing with capability and conduct. However does this give rise to employers being able to freely choose which procedure to use with which employee?

    This issue was dealt with in the Court of Appeal in Welch National Opera Ltd v Johnson which looked at the interplay of two disciplinary procedures, following the dismissal of the principal oboist in the company’s orchestra.


    Mr Johnston had been principal oboist since 1974, but difficulties arose between him and the opera’s musical director, which lead to criticisms of Mr Johnston’s performance. The company had two disciplinary procedures, a standard procedure, and a “poor artistic performance” procedure agreed with the Musicians … more

  • Light shed on holiday rights of sick employees

    Tags: Employment Tribunals, Breach of Contract, Employment Law, Ill Health, Sick Leave and Holiday Pay

    This summer there has been some interesting case law on the question of employee rights to holiday or payment in lieu of holiday when on sick leave. The principle that the purpose of paid annual leave is to enable the worker to enjoy a period of rest and enjoy a period of relaxation and leisure is well established; as is the principle that entitlement to sick leave is to ensure that the worker can recover from an illness that has caused him to be unfit for work.

    Asociación Nacional de Grandes Empresas de Distribución, a European case, confirms that where an employee falls ill during their annual holiday leave, they are entitled to take additional holiday at a later date, for a period equivalent to the sick leave taken during annual leave.


    Many employers already … more

  • Disciplinary action – is a second bite of the cherry permitted?

    Tags: Unfair Dismissal, Employment Tribunals, Disciplinary Procedure, Employment Law

    Where an employee has been disciplined once for failing to deliver a project to a long standing client, can an employer discipline them again for the same offence, if a year later the same client later decides to terminate their business contract with the company citing the earlier offence as the reason?

    The EAT examined whether an employee could be disciplined twice for matters arising out of the same facts, particularly if the second proceedings resulted in a dismissal, in the recent decision of Christou & anor v London Borough of Haringey. They held that the question of fairness of the dismissal falls to be determined under the test set out in section 98(4) Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA), that is ‘whether in the circumstances (including the size and administrative … more

  • When is a dismissal within the range of reasonable responses?

    Tags: Unfair Dismissal, Employment Tribunals, Employment Law, Reasonable Responses for Dismissal

    When deciding whether a dismissal is within the range of reasonable responses, a pertinent question is whether an employment tribunal can consider matters which the employer did not take into account?

    This was considered by the Employment Appeals Tribunal (EAT) in the case of Neijjary -v- Aramark Ltd. The Claimant in this case was a hospitality manager, who was working for the Respondents contract with Goldman Sach's. He was dismissed in 2009 for a single incident of failure to check a booking sheet which lead to a complaint being made by the customer.

    Both the dismissing manager and appeals officer relied on this one incident as justification for the dismissal on the grounds of gross misconduct.

    The original allegations

    The initial allegations against the Claimant were:

    1. & … more

  • New National Minimum Wage (NMW) rates

    Tags: Minimum Wages

    Current Rate

    New Rate

    Effective From

    National Minimum Wage (NMW) - Standard (adult) rate (workers ages 21 years and over)




    NMW - Development rate (workers aged between 18-20)




    NMW - Young workers right (workers aged under 18 but above the compulsory school age who are not apprentices)




    NMW - Apprentices (under 19 years old or those aged 19 and over but in the first year of their apprenticeship)




    Guarantee Pay




    The limit on the amount of a week’s pay for the purposes of … more

  • Are ‘without prejudice’ conversations safe?

    Tags: Unfair Dismissal, Employment Tribunals, Compromise Agreement, Discrimination, Without Prejudice, Disability Discrimination, Employment Law


    Employer-employee relationships can become strained due to a number of different factors and sometimes both parties wish to amicably part ways and embark on what they term as ‘off the record’ or ‘without prejudice’ conversations with a view to entering into a compromise agreement. The Question is; if no agreement is reached can the content of those conversations be admissible in the employment tribunal?

    Gallop –v- Newport City Councilis a recent Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decision which looked at the issue of admissibility of ‘without prejudice’ conversations. Mr Gallop was employed by the Newport City Council as a training officer. He claimed to be suffering from depression which has been brought about as a result of work related … more

  • Further plans by the Government to provide businesses more flexibility through changing employment laws

    Tags: Settlement Agreements, Compromise Agreements, Unfair Dismissall, Compensation, TUPE, Disciplinary process, Grievance process, Employment Law, Employment Law Reforms

    I know it may only seem as though it was yesterday that I was informing everyone on the consultation about the employment tribunal but I can assure you that it was last month! So I thought for those of you who are following the reforms I would provide you with a short summary of the proposal by Business Secretary Vince Cable on 14 September. He announced further steps to reduce employment law in his vision to give business owners/managers more flexibility in managing their workforce.

    The package put forward on the 14 September 2012 came from the response from businesses to speed up the process for ending an employment relationship (for both employer and employee) when it breaks down (if you have not been following the employment law reforms you may find it useful to read the following … more


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