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 samira.cakali@scesolicitors.co.uk. 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.

  • Covert Surveillance at Work: Should Big Brother be Watching?

    Tags: Employment Tribunal, Employment, Sickness Absence, Covert Surveillance, Civil Liberties, Fraud, Sick

    I have had a busy week this week so John Dickens has kindly stepped in and produced this article about the topical issue 'covert surveillance' (as some of you may have read about poor Anthea Orchard). 

    Most of the time, in a public environment, most of us are aware (or should be aware) that we are being watched; this is now a generally accepted fact of modern life. However being watched in the course of one’s employment can raise a number of cutting issues and cause disagreement as to whether such surveillance infringes too much on the civil liberties of the relevant employees.

    Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights provides for the right to respect for private and family life. In the recent case of City and County of Swansea v Gayle the question was raised as … more

  • Employment Tribunal Reforms 2013: what it means for you

    Tags: Employment Tribunals, Employment Law Reforms, Employment Tribunal Fees, ADR, Electronic Hearings, Preliminary Hearings

    Most of you will be aware that from Monday 29 July 2013 the employment tribunal rules will change. Those of you who have ongoing claims and those of you who are due to submit a claim or response are probably asking yourselves whether this affects you.

    Well, the short answer is that it might! I have contacted our local tribunal and have asked them to clarify whether or not pre 29 July claims will have to pay a fee for a final hearing; you will all be relieved to hear that they do not (not least of all that this would be an administrative nightmare to administer)!

    So then what’s new...

    Fees

    For the first time since the tribunals were set up in 1970, employees and employers wishing to pursuing employment disputes in the tribunals will have to pay fees.

    Claims are split into Type A … more

  • Auto-enrolment: Where are we now?

    Tags: The Pensions Act 2008, Auto-enrolment, QWPS

    The Pensions Act 2008, which came into effect on 1 October 2012, for the first time placed a legal duty on employers to enrol most 'Jobholders" (defined as anyone working in Great Britain, between the ages of 16 and 75 who meet the qualifying earnings criteria) into a pension scheme and contribute towards their retirement.  Employer must auto-enrol all Jobholders into a Qualifying Workplace Pension Scheme (QWPS) if they are:

    Over 22 years but below state pension age (please note that workers aged between 16 and 75 can request to be opted in however the employer does not have to have any contributions on their behalf). 

    Earning £9,440 or more for 2013/2014 (£7475 in 2011/12 and £8,105 for 2012/2013). 

    This must be done within 3 months of commencing … more

  • Top 10 Tips to avoiding an Employment Tribunal

    Tags: myHR, Employment Law, Employment Tribunal, Employment Documents

    Sometimes no matter what you do and how far you go towards accommodating a member of staff, a disgruntled individual will bring a tribunal claim against you. The tribunal statistics for the first quarter of 2012/2013 have shown a 15% increase in claims being brought by employees therefore businesses should always take protective measures such as having access to a legal adviser and legal indemnity insurance.

    I have put together this article to assist you in undertaking some precautionary measures to ensure that any unwarranted claim is not successful.

    Top ten tips for avoiding employment tribunal claims:

    Ensure that you have legally compliant employment documentation in place. An employer is under a legal duty to provide an employee with a written statement of employment particulars … more

  • When is indirect age discrimination legal?

    Tags: Employment Tribunals, Discrimination, Indirect Age Discrimination

    Some of you may recall the well-publicised case of Mr Seldon. He was a partner in Clarkson Wright & Jakes solicitors (‘the Firm’) who claimed age discrimination when he was forced to retire at 65 under his partnership agreement.

    The case was last reported in 2012 after the Supreme Court ruling that the case was to be remitted to the Employment Tribunal for it to consider whether the Firm were justified in having a compulsory retirement age of 65 and/or whether another age such as 68 or 70 should have been adopted.

    Last month the Employment Tribunal (ET) has found that the Firm’s aim for (a) retention and planning and (b) collegiality were all legitimate aims, which were proportionately achieved by the firm having in place a mandatory retirement age. Hence their … more

  • Supporting Paul Muszanskyj celebrate 18 years cancer-free

    On the 22 June 2013 we were privileged to be invited to attend “Remission” a charity event hosted by local Yorkshire musician Paul Muszanskyj of Brighouse, to celebrate 18 years of him being free from cancer.

    Paul, who  is now a business owner, said: “The objective is simple: to raise as much money as possible to support the vital work of Ward 15 at the Bradford Royal Infirmary as they continue to help patients and their families live and cope with cancer.

    The event took place at Farnley Sports and Social Club in Leeds. Paul’s aim was to take friends, family and supporters through an uplifting musical journey of one man’s experience of coming to terms with, taking on, surviving and living life after cancer.

    We had a fantastic evening listening to … more

  • Insolvent Companies, Consultation and Protective Awards

    Tags: Employment Law, HR, Employment Tribunal, TUPE, Unfair Dismissal, Consultation, Insolvency, Inform and Consult, Protective Award

    Many of you will be familiar with section 188 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidated) Act 1992 (“TULRCA”), which defines and governs the roles of trade unions. Under this section an Employment Tribunal (“ET”) may order an employer to pay its employees a ‘protective award’ where the employer has failed to consult the employee representatives when proposing to make 100 or more redundancies.

    In this scenario a protective award is in effect a penalty payment equating to a maximum of 45 days’ wages (since April 6 2013, previously 90 days) for each employee, so can be very costly, particularly given that amount for a weeks’ pay is uncapped.

    The question which frequently arises is whether it would be reasonable to expect an … more

  • How enforceable are restrictive covenants?

    Tags: Restrictive Covenants, Constructive Unfair Dismissal, Employment Law, Employment Tribunal, Enforceability, Injunction, Contractual Terms

    Restrictive covenants (“RCs”) are the contractual terms restricting an employee’s activities after termination and are often critical to some employer/employee relationships, particularly where the employee concerned is senior or vital to the employer’s business. Over the last few years the courts have given them a new lease of life, though it remains a complex area of law where mistakes are frequently made both by employers and employees.

    RCs can be void unless the employer can show that it has a legitimate business interest to protect and sought to enforce the covenant no further than was reasonably necessary to ensure that protection. RCs can also be invalidated by an employer terminating an employment contract in breach of its terms, including where an … more

  • TUPE and outstanding disciplinary appeals

    Tags: Employment Law, Employment Tribunals, Employers, Employees, Unfair Dismissal, Disciplinary process, Disciplinary Appeals, Misconduct

    No industry likes the chaos and anarchy the word TUPE brings. Most employers are aware that employees from OldCo transfer to NewCo on the same terms and conditions, however does this also mean that an employee pending an appeal from dismissal also transfers to NewCo?

    The Employment Appeal Tribunal (“EAT”) recently dealt with this interesting issue in Bangura v Southern Cross Healthcare.

    Here the relevant employee worked in a care home operated by Southern Cross Healthcare where she was dismissed for gross misconduct around six weeks before the care home transferred to Four Seasons Healthcare. At the time of the transfer Ms Bangura had an appeal pending against her dismissal though the result was as yet underdetermined.

    The original Employment Tribunal (“ET”) … more

  • Employment Law News Roundup

    Tags: Employment Law, Employment Tribunals, Employment Law Reforms, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013, Whistleblowing, Political Belief, Unfair Dismissal, Discrimination, Financial Penalties on Losing Employers

    With so many serious changes planned to the tribunal system and employment law generally this year, it is well worth pointing out some of the key alterations that may have escaped your attention in anticipation of their being implemented via the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013. With that in mind the following roundup provides a handy summary of what is coming into force and most importantly, when.

    Changes to Whistleblowing Provisions

    From 25 June 2013 there will be alterations to the provisions relating to whistleblowing, also known as the making of a protected disclosure. This is an important aspect of employment law as where the principal reason for a dismissal is because a worker made a protected disclosure then the two year qualifying period for claiming unfair dismissal … more

    

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