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Chris Dobbs
 

Top 5 Hybrid Working Considerations for Employers

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Employment Solicitor Chris Dobbs outlines some key considerations for employers to try and limit the risk of hybrid working disputes and claims

Returning to work from Furlough - Autumn Q&A

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After the end of furlough, Employment Solicitor Chris Dobbs answers some of your questions on returning to work, providing advice for employers on what grounds employees can refuse to return.

Topical Discrimination Issues Summary Video

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It was great to be back on Wednesday 15th September, when we held our first in-person employment event since the start of the pandemic. Thank you to those who turned up to the session, we very much enjoyed having you there. ...

How Final are Final Written Warnings?

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A recent Employment Appeal Tribunal case looked at the extent to which a Tribunal is expected to look beyond a ‘final written warning’ in assessing the fairness of a dismissal. Employment solicitor Chris Dobbs considers when a final written warning and a capability dismissal is unfair.

Can employers pay you less for working from home?

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Chris Dobbs discusses the legal implications of lowering the pay of employees working from home.

Unfair Dismissal and Criminality

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In our last HR Forum on disciplinary and dismissals, we covered the case of K v L, a teacher who lost his job after he was arrested on suspicion of possession of indecent images of children. Since then, the case has gone through Scotland's Court of...

COVID: Can I be dismissed for raising health & safety concerns?

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Employment Solicitor Chris Dobbs looks at some recent cases surrounding unfair dismissal and covid related health & safety concerns, providing advice for employers when implementing workplace safety measures.

How have the changes to furlough impacted employers?

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There are still 1.5 million workers on furlough; and with the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme beginning to wind-down, there are changes that impact both employers and employees. Employment Solicitor Chris Dobbs discusses.

Lifting of Lockdown: Workplace Considerations

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Chris Dobbs, Employment Solicitor looks at what employers should consider when lockdown restrictions are lifted in the workplace.

Section 44 health and safety detriment protection now includes 'workers'

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The excitingly named The Employment Rights Act 1996 (Protection from Detriment in Health and Safety Cases) (Amendment) Order 2021 came into force on 31 May extending protection from detriments related to health and safety issues to workers rather than simply employees.

Frettens’ own Chris Dobbs breaks down the new order; discussing what it is, why its been put in place and what it means for employers.

COVID vaccinations to become mandatory in care sector

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It was reported earlier this week that COVID vaccinations are due to become compulsory for care home staff. Chris Dobbs, Employment Solicitor, explores what this means for the care sector, the businesses involved and those working in it.

Maya Forstater Wins Appeal at EAT: Transgender Politics in the Workplace

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Chris Dobbs provides a case update after Maya Forstater won the appeal at the EAT. Chris details the judgement and describes the implications that this case has for employers.

Severance: Should employers use a settlement agreement?

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Chris Dobbs, Solicitor in our Employment Team, discusses a recent case where two parties had different ideas about what had been agreed, as well as what could be enforced in a settlement agreement.

Transgender discrimination and philosophical belief

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Balancing freedom of expression and freedom from discrimination in the workplace. Employment Solicitor Chris Dobbs looks at the case of Forstater v CDG Europe, providing advice for employers on balancing freedom of expression and freedom from discrimination in the workplace.

Employing EU Workers Post Brexit

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Changes to recruitment Post-Brexit As the question of what changes to employment law can be expected after Brexit seems to be increasingly insignificant, one major area of employment practice is impacted by the UK leaving the EU:...

Diversity training and the reasonable steps defence

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Two recent cases have highlighted the issue employers can face in relying on the statutory defence to workplace discrimination. Employers seeking to make use of this defence will often rely on various forms of policies and training to look to mitigate their liability for discrimination faced by an employee.

Employment Solicitor, Chris Dobbs looks at diversity training and the 'reasonable steps' defence.

Is long covid a disability?

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Employment & HR law specialist, Chris Dobbs looks at whether Long Covid should be treated as a disability in the workplace, and advises how employers should handle it.

COVID-19 impact on employment: Redundancy at highest level since 1995

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Chris Dobbs looks at the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the labour market after the rate of redundancy reached it's highest since these figures were first recorded in 1995.

Supreme Court - Uber drivers are workers

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Uber have lost their appeal in the Supreme Court. The Supreme court unanimously dismissed the appeal. It now means that drivers are now considered workers for employment law purposes.

No jab, no job. Can an employer require you to take the COVID vaccine?

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Specialist solicitor, Chris Dobbs looks at vaccination in the workplace. Can an employer force staff to be vaccinated? Can an employee be dismissed if they refuse the COVID vaccine? What is vaccine discrimination? Is anti-vax a philosophical belief?

Indirect Discrimination and the law

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Chris Dobbs provides the latest on Heskett v Secretary of State for Justice, and discusses Indirect Discrimination.

ACAS Uplifts, Code of Practice and Application

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The Firm's Employment Solicitor Chris Dobbs breaks down ACAS Uplifts.

Dismissals for Redundancy

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A redundancy is a dismissal as a result of a workplace closing down or the employer needing fewer employees to do work of a particular kind. Chris Dobbs looks at a recent case where unfair dismissal was claimed.

School Closures: What If Employees Can't Work?

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Chris Dobbs, solicitor in our specialist Employment & HR team, looks at the options for employers and employees when balancing working from home with childcare. Can workers be furloughed for childcare? What are the unpaid leave entitlements?

Lockdown 3.0: Updated support for businesses

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In response to the latest national lockdown, HM Treasury has announced an extension of several of the support schemes for businesses affected by the pandemic. Chris Dobbs provides an overview.

A guide to employment settlement agreements

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Specialist settlement agreement solicitor Chris Dobbs answers all of your questions on employment settlement agreements, including what is a settlement agreement? Are they tax free? Are they confidential? Who signs them?

Update on furlough, SEIS and Job Support Scheme - 5th November

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Chancellor’s Statement to the House of Commons - 5th November 2020 UPDATE: The Chancellor announced changes to the furlough scheme on Thursday 17th December - the update can be read here . ...

Data protection in disciplinary proceedings

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Do you need to tell employers about an arrest or charge? This month the High Court has looked at the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR ) and the Data Protection Act 2018 and their relevance in internal disciplinary proceedings....

What are the new support measures for workers and businesses in tier 2?

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Big changes to the Coronavirus Job Support Scheme, which was part of his winter economic plan and replaces the furlough scheme in November, were announced today. Chris Dobbs provides an overview.

Can WhatsApp be monitored by an employer?

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How and when can an employer monitor employees WhatsApp messages. Chris Dobbs looks at a recent case where an employer used whatsapp messages in a discuplinary procedure.

Homeworking: The legalities and the practicalities

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Will WFH continue after lockdown? Can you monitor remote employees? How do you write a working from home policy? Chris Dobbs, Employment Solicitor answers your questions.

Working from home policies: 9 points to consider

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Specialist Employment and HR solicitor, Chris Dobbs offers the 9 points that all HR managers and business owners should consider when writing a working from home policy.

Writing a working from home policy

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Should every business have a working from home policy? What should be included? Chris Dobbs, Employment & HR Law specialist examines an increasingly important topic.

Unfair dismissal, gross misconduct and homophobia

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Chris Dobbs looks at a recent case concerning homophobia, gross misconduct, unfair dismissals and the use of anonymous evidence.

Can an employer monitor working from home?

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Chris Dobbs, solicitor in our specialist employment & HR team, offers a comprehensive guide to remote monitoring of employees working from home.

What is continuity of employment?

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Only employees with two years’ continuous service have the right not to be unfairly dismissed. This qualifying period is measured to the day - so it is important to be clear about precisely when an employee started work.

Marital status discrimination in the workplace

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One of the least often claimed grounds of discrimination is marriage and civil partnership. Prejudice against married people is hardly widespread and there are few circumstances in which an employer might treat an employee less favourably because they were married.

Legal advice for self employed hairdressers

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Chris Dobbs, specialist employment law solicitor, examines an important ruling for self-employed hairdressers in the case of Megan Gorman.

Can I refuse to return to work from furlough

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Understandably, a lot of people are still concerned about the coronavirus and whether returning to work is safe. Chris Dobbs, employment law & HR specialist answers your questions.

Returning to work from furlough Q and A

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As the government starts to wind down the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, many businesses are taking advantage of the flexibility in lock down rules and staffing options to reopen.

How Does the redundancy interview process work

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How does the redundancy interview process work and can it be unfair? Chris Dobbs examines.

Why were there so many redundancies announced in early July

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On 1st July, the BBC reported that coronavirus led to UK companies cutting 12,000 jobs in just two days. These job losses, the article claimed, were largely in high street retailers and, particularly badly hit by the pandemic, the aviation industry.

Many large companies, including H&M, Boots, and John Lewis announced redundancies in early July too.

Chris Dobbs, employment & HR specialist, looks at why so many redundancies are being announced at this time, and how the timing ties in to the furlough scheme.

Redundancy - alternative employment and trial periods

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A dismissal for redundancy is likely to be unfair unless the employer has considered whether there is suitable alternative employment within the business (or group). If suitable alternative employment is offered, it might be subject to a statutory 4 week...

What is a furloughed worker

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Chris Dobbs outlines the definition of a furloughed worker and examines the coronavirus job retention scheme.

Update for Employers on Coronavirus school closures

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The following is general guidance which, to the best of our knowledge, is correct as at the time of publication. This constantly evolving area of law is being amended regularly. We will endeavour to update this guidance accordingly. ...

Coronavirus Employment Law Update

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The following is general guidance which, to the best of our knowledge, is correct as at the time of publication. This constantly evolving area of law is being amended regularly. We will endeavor to update this guidance accordingly. ...

Coronavirus Update

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This article was updated on 11th March 2020 to include announcements made in the budget to help businesses deal with the effects of coronavirus. Click here to read the updated information . There has been an update since this...

Holiday pay and carry over

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Please note that there has now been a significant change to legislation mentioned in this article due to the coronavirus outbreak. Please follow this link for the most recent update. What are minimum holiday entitlements in the EU?...

Coronavirus advice for employers and businesses

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Corona virus Advice for Employers and Businesses. The six main considerations for employers during the corona virus outbreak

Guidance on Confidentiality or Non-disclosure Agreements

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The guidance discourages the habitual use of gagging clauses when settling discrimination claims. It suggests they are only used in specific circumstances such as a case where a worker does not want the details of their discrimination case to become public.

The guidance also advises employers to tailor the clause to the individual case rather than using a standard template. The guidance also suggests that employers might still need to investigate claims, which are settled to show they have taken steps to prevent discrimination in the workplace.

What is equal pay?

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Chris Dobbs looks at legal definitions of equal pay and the case of Samira Ahmed v the BBC.

Time off work for grieving parents

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How much time off work can a grieving parent take after the loss of their child? Chris Dobbs looks at new legislation.

Ethical Veganism: A Protected Belief

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Is ethical veganism a philosophical belief and a protected characteristic? Chris Dobbs looks at the recent ruling on Veganism, implications for Employers and HR Professionals, and discrimination against vegans in the workplace.

Can you be fired for social media posts?

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The incredible rise of social media in the last decade has caused difficulties in the workplace. Employment and HR Law has struggled to keep up with a raft of new cases, and employees and employers alike struggle for clarity on the issue. In his first...

Working Time Regulations

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Breaches of Working Time Regulations Under section 45A of the Employment Rights Act 1996 , workers have the right not to be treated badly by their employer for refusing to work in breach of the Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR). If...

Employer Liability at Christmas Parties

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Christmas party season is upon us and many of us will don the paper hats and celebrate another cracking (sorry) year with our colleagues. We are regularly asked for advice on about employer liability at...

Commute Times and the Gender Pay Gap

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Men will commute longer Analysis by the Office for National Statistics has shown that women who commute for an hour are nearly 30 per cent more likely to leave their jobs than if they have a ten-minute commute. The ONS believes this is...

Dismissal for long-term sickness

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What is the definition of long-term disability? A person is disabled if she has a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on her ability to do day-to-day activities. To be 'long-term' an...

The Gig economy

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Self-employed or worker status? Worker status is the holy grail in the gig economy, including the fields of taxi rides, food delivery and courier services. Workers are entitled to certain employment rights such as the national minimum...

Secretly Recording Meetings: Misconduct? Entrapment?

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Are secret recordings admissible? In unfair dismissal cases, both the compensatory and basic awards can be reduced by the tribunal, potentially to zero, based on the employee's conduct before dismissal. Secret recordings of meetings...

Gender pay gap reporting

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Do we need to report our gender pay gap? The Government Equalities Office has told the Treasury Select Committee that it is planning to extend the gender pay gap reporting obligations. The gender pay gap refers to the fact...

Discrimination against veganism at work

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According to a recent survey of 1000 vegan employees and 1000 employers, almost half of vegan employees have felt discriminated against by their employers. 31 per cent said they had felt harassed at work or treated unfairly due to their veganism. ...

Indirect age discrimination

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What is indirect age discrimination? Indirect age discrimination is where a policy that is applied to all employees negatively affects people in a certain age group. An indirectly discriminatory policy can be justified if it is a...

Discrimination arising from disability - depression

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Discrimination arising from disability happens when an employer treats an employee unfavourably because of something that arises because of their disability (and which cannot be objectively justified). However, an employer will not be liable if they...

What is Proselytising?

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Proselytising is where someone preaches about religion with a view to converting other people to that religion. The Court of Appeal has recently examined when a dismissal for proselytising can be fair. Can you be dismissed for religious preaching...

Holiday Pay

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The holiday season is upon us and the next installment of the Flowers v East of England Ambulance Trust saga has arrived from the Court of Appeal. The case involves voluntary overtime and whether it should be included when calculating holiday pay....

Confidentiality Clauses - Proposals for Reform

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The government has issued a consultation document seeking views on new measures to prevent the misuse of non-disclosure agreements in situations of workplace harassment or discrimination. The consultation document is announced on the back of several...

Lengthy Suspensions

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Did an employee's lengthy suspension ground a claim for whistleblowing detriment or race discrimination? Not on the facts of this case, held the EAT in Uwalaka v Southern Health Foundation NHS Trust . Suspension for Alleged Misconduct...

Judgement on Unfair Dismissal - Automatically Unfair Reasons

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When claiming dismissal on grounds of assertion of an infringement of a statutory right, must there have been an actual infringement by the employer (rather than a mere intention or threat of infringement)? Yes, held the EAT in Spaceman v ISS Mediclean...

'Ground-breaking' pay deal for couriers

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Many of you will have seen in the news earlier this month that Hermes, the delivery firm, struck a deal with the GMB union to offer paid holiday and guaranteed rates of pay. The move comes in response to mounting media and political pressure on companies to...

Protected Disclosure

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Can complaining about defamation form the basis of a protected disclosure in a 'whistleblowing' claim? Yes, held the EAT in Ibrahim v HCA International, although on the facts the public interest test was not met. Whistleblower...

Home Office Updates Guidance on Preventing Illegal Working

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The Home Office has updated its Code of Practice on Preventing Illegal Working . The Code of Practice sets out the prescribed checks that employers should conduct to avoid a civil penalty in the event of illegal working. It replaces the Code issued in May...

Snow Days and your Legal Obligations

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After the chaos caused by last year’s ‘Beast from the East’, and the country’s ability to grind to an almost complete halt at the first hint of snow, many of you will have probably familiarised yourselves with an employer’s...

Government Publishes Good Work Plan

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In what has been hailed by the government as ‘the largest upgrade in a generation to workplace rights’ , the Good Work Plan’ was announced just before Christmas. The plan comes as a result of the Matthew Taylor Good Work Review and...

Statements of Employment Particulars

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Does an employee have a right to a statement of employment particulars when employed for less than two months? According to the recent judgement in Stefanko and others v Maritime Hotel Ltd , then yes they do, provided they have worked continuously for at...

Employment Status

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Is an employment tribunal entitled to use a "realistic and worldly wise" approach to determining employment status? Yes, held the EAT in Addison Lee v Lange & ors . Obligation to work The Claimants were all...

Government considering re-introducing Employment Tribunal fees

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We are aware, from published statistics, that employment tribunal claims more than doubled in the period April to June 2018 compared to the same period in the previous year. This is no doubt down to the abolishment of employment tribunal fees by the Supreme...

Indirectly liable for injury caused at a work party?

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Can an employer be vicariously liable for injury caused at an impromptu work after party? If you are injured at the work Christmas party, who is at fault? Accidents can happen anywhere, and in some cases, injuries may...

Can an employer give a bad employment reference?

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Employment Solicitor Chris Dobbs looks at whether an employer can give a bad reference for a previous employee, delving into the the legality of employment references. Does an employer have to give a reference? What must a reference include?

Does annual leave accrue during parental leave?

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Accruing annual leave during maternity leave It is relatively well known that an employee continues to accrue annual leave during their maternity leave, at the same rate as if they were still at work, based on their...

Establishing if a disability is a disability

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Can an employee prove disability without leading evidence on the impact of the employee's impairment on normal day to day activities? Does an employer have constructive knowledge of disability if an employee has denied having one? A recent case in the...

TUPE: Five month gap does not prevent transfer

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The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006, known colloquially as TUPE, are the UK's implementation of the European Union Business Transfers Directive. It is an important part of UK labour law, protecting employees...

Repudiatory breach of contract

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Employment Solicitor, Chris Dobbs looks at repudiatory breach of contract; specifically in the High Court case of Brown & Anor v Neon Management Ltd & Anor where unfair dismissal was contested.

Brexit and employment law - an update

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The Government has recently published its White Paper titled 'The Future Relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union'. Paragraph 123 states a proposal that there be no regression in employment laws. No regression in...

Can an employer discriminate on grounds of philosophical belief?

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Are employers prevented from discriminating against a staff member on grounds of philosophical belief, if for example, an employee is the only person to hold such a belief? Let’s look at a recent case in the Employment Appeals Tribunal, Gray v...

Can someone be dismissed for misconduct (or does it need to be Gross Misconduct?)

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Does 'misconduct' need to be 'gross' to make a dismissal fair (without prior warnings)? A recent case in the Employment Appeal Tribunal looked at this question. The case was Quintiles Commercial v Barongo . Dismissal...

Guidance on Overtime

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Acas has produced a useful new guide on overtime for employers, covering: the different types of overtime working time limits on overtime payment for overtime overtime for part-time...

Dress codes for males and females

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The Government Equalities Offices has published new guidance on Dress Codes and Sex Discrimination . Policies for men and women Chris Dobbs , a Solicitor in our Employment Team , says “This guidance serves as a...

Unfair dismissal and discrimination

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Is it acceptable for an employer to dismiss a member of staff for misconduct without prior warning after multiple issues have arisen, even if none of the individual issues are, by themselves, gross misconduct? What is considered a reasonable...

Is it sex discrimination if paternal leave pay is not in line with maternity?

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If an employer does not enhance shared parental leave pay in line with enhanced maternity pay, would this carry a risk of a direct sex discrimination claim? Shared parental leave An employee may be eligible for shared...

Itemised pay statements for all workers

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The first new employment legislation has been passed for a long time! The Employment Rights Act 1996 (Itemised Pay Statement) (Amendment) (No.2) Order 2018 SI 2018/529 has been made recently. Written itemised pay statements ...

Disability discrimination: definition of cancer

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What is ‘cancer’ for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010? Does it include, for example, a pre-cancerous lesion? Cancer is a disability Cancer is a ‘deemed' disability. Schedule 1, paragraph 6...

ACAS Statistics on early concillation and settlements

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Acas has published its most recent quarterly statistics, covering nine months between April 2017 and December 2017. Notification of intention to make a claim Chris Dobbs , Solicitor in Frettens' Employment Team,...

Annual increase in Employment Tribunal awards

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The Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2018 has been laid before parliament, coming into force on 6 April 2018. It contains the normal annual increases to maximum and minimum tribunal awards. Maximum tribunal awards ...

Minimum wage increase 2018

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The National Minimum Wage (Amendment) Regulations 2018 have been laid before parliament. Increases to the national minimum wage They provide for the annual increase to the minimum wage and national living wage with effect...

Expiry of fixed-term contracts

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The Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002 are designed to prevent fixed-term employees being treated less favourably than similar permanent employees, and to limit the use of successive fixed-term contracts....

Working time: Rest breaks

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Employers are required to allow workers a 20 minute rest break under the Working Time Regulations. Can an employer still fulfil this entitlement by breaking down more rest breaks of a shorter duration? A case at the Employment Appeal Tribunal has ruled that...

What happens if a rogue employee breaches the Data Protection rules?

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Can an employer be indirectly liable for the criminal actions of a rogue employee in breach of the Data Protection Act? Employee with a grudge breaches data rules A High Court case, Various Claimants v Wm Morrisons...

Perceived Disability Discrimination

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If a non-disabled job applicant is rejected because of a perception or anticipation that a condition could become a disability in future, is this direct disability discrimination? Disability discrimination by perception In an...

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