1. Skip to navigation
  2. Skip to content
  3. Skip to sidebar

Data protection breaches: vicarious liability for employee’s criminal actions

WM Morrisons Supermarkets plc have been found vicariously liable for a data protection breach after an employee bearing a grudge deliberately published personal details of 100,000 of its employees on the internet.
Read more »
Data protection breaches: vicarious liability for employee’s criminal actions

Timing and permission to amend an ET1

In the recent case of Galilee v Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis the EAT held that the doctrine of ‘relation back’, whereby amendments take effect from the date of the original document which it amended, does not apply in the tribunal.

The case concerned a claim for unfair dismissal and disability discrimination. The Claimant later sought to amend the ET1 to include additional accounts of disability discrimination which occurred prior to the dismissal.

In the first instance the tribunal found that these additional accounts had been made out of time and was not persuaded that time should be extended on a ‘just and equitable’ basis. Further, the tribunal was concerned that the Respondent would be deprived of its jurisdictional defence should permission be granted to amend the ET1.

The Claimant appealed the tribunal’s decision and the appeal was allowed by the EAT. The EAT held that the doctrine of ‘relation back’ does not apply in the tribunal and the amended claim takes effect from the date when permission is granted as opposed to the date on which the original claim was brought.

Therefore, granting permission to the Claimant to amend the ET1 does not deprive the Respondent of the right to argue that the additional accounts are made out of time. Further, it is not necessary for a tribunal to determine if a claim is out of time when deciding to grant permission to amend the ET1, other than in clear cases. The tribunal can grant permission to amend subject to the time point being decided at a later stage.

Employers should be aware that employees may be able to amend ET1s to add additional claims even where such claims are made out of time. Tribunals are not required to determine the time point when such applications are made but a timebar argument can be made at a later date.

Timing and permission to amend an ET1

Dress Codes in the Workplace

Headlines on dress codes are becoming more frequent and certainly catch the eye with the BBC’s “Can an employer demand that you go to work naked?” being no exception! The question raises a fair point – to what extent can employers dictate what its workforce wear to work?

Earlier this year, Parliament issued a joint report, prepared by the Petitions Committee and the Women and Equalities Committee, titled “High heels and workplace dress codes”. Following the Government’s response in April, we were expecting detailed guidance from the government in July. This guidance has not yet been published but is expected to cover the more “controversial” requirements including high heels, make-up, manicures, hair, hosiery, opacity of workwear, skirt length and low-fronted or unbuttoned tops.

Until further guidance is published, employers will need to bear in mind recent case law and the heightened risk of having a dress code challenged on not only grounds of sex discrimination but also on grounds of the other protected characteristics in the Equality Act. Religion or belief is one where employers should be particularly cautious, with recent case law considering the wearing of religious symbols and headscarves. Findings from these cases included that a policy can be justified on grounds of health and safety but portraying a consistent image for the business or meeting a customer’s requests do not provide justification of dress code requirements.

We don’t know yet what the scale of the financial penalties (if any) will be for employers, but until any further guidance is issued, we recommend erring on the side of caution and reviewing dress code policies in detail to ensure they cannot be said to be discriminatory or oppressive in any way. Employers are encouraged to consult with their employees and be flexible where possible.

In short, an employer cannot dictate what an employee wears to work. They can, however, put in place a balanced policy, which applies equally to men and women and which does not subject a particular group to a particular disadvantage. Employers should note that dress codes can be different for individual employees, depending on their circumstances, and that this may be necessary where strict policies are in place.

 

Dress Codes in the Workplace

King v. Sash Windows judgment leaves employers vulnerable to backdated holiday claims

In King v. Sash Windows, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has held that anyone deemed to have "worker" status is entitled to carry over paid annual holiday in circumstances where they have not had the opportunity to take it.
Read more »
King v. Sash Windows judgment leaves employers vulnerable to backdated holiday claims

EAT finds you cannot cherry pick from without prejudice conversations

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), in the recent case of Graham v. Agilitas IT Solutions Ltd. (Agilitas), ruled that an employer cannot rely on parts of a without prejudice conversation held in accordance with s.111A of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA) and/or the "common law" without prejudice rule, whilst at the same time seeking to use the without prejudice rule as a shield in reference to that same conversation. S.111A of the ERA permits discussions between an employer and an employee with a view to terminating employment on agreed terms to remain confidential and inadmissible in proceedings before a tribunal for unfair dismissal.
Read more »
EAT finds you cannot cherry pick from without prejudice conversations

London’s gender pay gap worst in the UK

The Office for National Statistics published data this week that shows London as a region has the widest gender pay gap in the UK. Currently, women working full-time in London earn 14.6 per cent less than their male colleagues. In the past twenty years the gap has narrowed only slightly from 15.1 per cent. In contrast, during this same period the pay gap in Wales and Scotland has gone from 17.5 per cent and 18.4 per cent to 6.3 per cent and 6.6. per cent respectively.

Among part-time workers however, women on average earn more than their male counterparts. The gap is narrowest in the South-East where women earn 3.1 per cent per hour more than men. This is down from 1997 when women typically earned 9 per cent more, indicating that men’s wages have grown quicker in this area.

The variation for part time workers in both the public and private sector is stark. In 1997 women working part-time in the public sector earned 6.1 per cent less. This gap has now widened to 22.3 per cent. The position has in fact reversed in the private sector where women earned 2.2. per cent less than men two decades ago and now earn 2.6 per cent more.

Although the gender pay gap reporting obligations introduced this year are certainly a step in the right direction, these latest statistics show that much work is still needed if the gender pay imbalance is to be improved in London and throughout the UK.

London’s gender pay gap worst in the UK

Uber appeals to Supreme Court

Uber presented its application to the Supreme Court to appeal the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decision that its drivers are workers and should have associated rights.
Read more »
Uber appeals to Supreme Court

National Minimum Wage Increase

Workers aged over 25 will receive an inflation-busting increase of 33p an hour in their national minimum wage. An above-inflation pay rise of 4.4 per cent starting April 2018 is over the 3 per cent rate of inflation which is in place at the moment. Following this, full-time workers will receive a £600 annual increase.
Read more »
National Minimum Wage Increase

Autumn Budget – employment provisions

The Chancellor has spoken and presented his first Autumn Budget.
Read more »
Autumn Budget – employment provisions

Cooking up a storm – Tier 2 chefs

The immigration rules make a distinction between chefs working at takeaway establishments and those working at restaurants.
Read more »
Cooking up a storm – Tier 2 chefs