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Another defeat in latest legal fight over gig economy rights…

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has dismissed an appeal by Addison Lee, the London-based minicab and courier company, seeking to challenge an earlier decision regarding employment status. The EAT rejected the view that the contractual documentation between the parties supported a finding of self-employed status, and upheld the findings of the Employment Tribunal.

In August 2017 the Employment Tribunal held that a former courier, Chris Gascoigne, was a worker and not a self-employed independent contractor. As a result he was entitled to claim certain employment rights including holiday pay (our blog regarding the original ET decision can be found here).

Addison Lee’s position on appeal was that its couriers were under no legal obligation to work, as they could log-off from the app when they wanted and were free to decide whether to accept the jobs when they were logged on. They stated that at most there was a “gentle pressure” from a controller to accept jobs, but that no adverse consequences were actioned if the couriers did not accept.

In reaching its decision, the EAT emphasised that the facts of the case were the starting point rather than the law. Whilst Mr Gascoigne was not obliged to log into the app, when he was logged-on there was no mechanism for him to refuse jobs offered, other than contacting the controller in exceptional circumstances where the package was too heavy.  That Mr Gascoigne could log-off from the app, and there being no express sanction for failing to accept work, did not shift the EAT’s view that there was a contractual obligation for work to be offered and for the individual to accept it.  With the necessary mutuality of obligation demonstrated, worker status was established. You may recall that this was also found to be the position in the earlier CitySprint and Uber decisions.

Whilst cases in this area will always turn on their own facts, the decision is yet another nail in the coffin for employers within the gig economy. With a date set for the end of October for Uber’s challenge to worker status to be heard in the Court of Appeal, and the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Pimlico Plumbers on the issue of employment status awaited, status cases look set to continue to dominate the headlines throughout 2018.

Another defeat in latest legal fight over gig economy rights…

Introducing the Data Protection Act 2018!

With the focus of many a blog post and newspaper article on the General Data Protection Regulation, (or GDPR to its friends .. and others), coming into force on 25 May, you would be forgiven for having missed the news that the Data Protection Bill received royal assent on 23 May. Having successfully steered its way through Parliament it officially became the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018).

The new Act came into force at the same time as the GDPR, ensuring that the UK remains a committed party to the European-led modernisation of data law.

The DPA 2018 has three main purposes that all employers should be aware of:

  1. It incorporates the GDPR into UK law and aims to ensure that the standards set out in the GDPR have effect in the UK by enshrining those standards in UK law;
  2. It repeals the Data Protection Act 1998 as the primary piece of data protection legislation in the UK and replaces it with what the government has described as “a comprehensive and modern framework for data protection in the UK, with stronger sanctions for malpractice”; and
  3. Importantly, it ensures that the UK and EU data protection regimes will continue to be aligned post-Brexit so allowing the UK to continue to be able to freely exchange personal data with the EU.

With the dreaded 25 May 2018 commencement date now a thing of the past, and the GDPR and DPA 2018 in force, we are sure you will be glad to see the back of becoming compliance ready!  However, the legislation is here to stay and the way in which personal data is collected and processed is more important than ever.  Ongoing work is required to ensure that your business remains GDPR-compliant.  Please do contact us if you have any queries and/or require some expert advice.

Introducing the Data Protection Act 2018!

Do UK employers care more about the mental health of their employees?

According to a recent survey by Deloitte, UK employers are more likely to offer staff mental health support at work than the global average. The survey found 36% of employers in the UK offered mental health counselling to their staff, compared to just 21% of organisations globally.
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Do UK employers care more about the mental health of their employees?

Is your Privacy Notice GDPR compliant?

Following on from our GDPR compliance top-tips and our jargon buster here are ten practical tips to ensure your Privacy Notice is regulation ready.
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Is your Privacy Notice GDPR compliant?

Historic increase in Tribunal claims since fees abolished

Tribunal claims have risen 90% following the abolition of Tribunal fees in July 2017 by the Supreme Court in the case of R (on the application of Unison) v Lord Chancellor.

Figures released by the Ministry of Justice show that in the last quarter of 2017 some 8,173 single claims were filed with the tribunal system. Disposals and outstanding caseloads of single claims increased by 21% and 66% respectively, compared to the same period in 2016.

The number of multiple employment tribunal claims received has risen by a staggering 467%.  It is thought this is largely due to the high volume of holiday pay cases presented in 2017.

This increase has caused a significant backlog of claims. Parties will need to factor into their case strategy that they will likely have a much longer waiting period for claims to be processed and hearings scheduled.

As ever prevention is better than cure, and employers should ensure they have robust and up-to-date employment polices in place. Additionally, consideration should be given to training for those likely to handle disciplinary and grievance procedures, to mitigate risk of successful claims.

To see our previous post on the rise of tribunal cases please click here, and for an analysis on the Supreme Court decision of R (on the application of Unison) v Lord Chancellor please click here.

Historic increase in Tribunal claims since fees abolished

GDPR: is the jargon holding up your preparation?

With the implementation of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) a mere 3 months away, it may (or may not) surprise you to learn that 60% of organisations were reported as being not “GDPR ready” at the start of this month. The same report, by software technology firm Senzing, also found that almost 40% of UK-based directors were unsure as to whether they would be GDPR compliant come 25 May.

This is not the first study to reveal a lack of preparation for the GDPR. In January the department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport urged business and charities to ensure they were compliant by 25 May after it was revealed that up to 50% were unaware of their new obligations.

With these statistics in mind, this is the first in a short series of jargon-busting blog posts to help tackle some of the confusion surrounding the introduction of GDPR. In this post we look at some commonly used terms in the GDPR which deal with the different types of data and those that will be handling the data:

Personal Data – the GDPR has a broader definition of what constitutes personal data than the Data Protection Act 1998, by incorporating reference to personal identifiers such as name, identification numbers, IP address and location. Generally, it means any information or data which relates to a living individual who can be directly or indirectly identified by it.

Sensitive Personal Data –the GDPR has a broader definition of this term than is the case under the Data Protection Act, as it incorporates biometric and genetic data.  It is also worth bearing in mind that under the GDPR it is no longer called sensitive personal data but is instead referred to as “special categories of personal data”. Personal Data consisting of political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, racial or ethnic origin, or trade union membership, genetic data, biometric data, data regarding health or data concerning a natural person’s sex life or sexual orientation will all be classed as “special category” data under the GDPR.

Data Subject – the person to which Personal Data  relates. For example, an employee.

Data Controller – a “person” who (either alone or jointly or in common with other persons) determines the purposes for which and the manner in which any personal data are, or are to be, processed. This will typically be the business entity employing staff and determining the use of their Personal Data.

Data Processor – unlike the Data Protection Act, the GDPR introduces specific responsibilities directly on Data Processors. These are third parties that process data on behalf of the Data Controller, for example, IT service providers and payroll companies. There are also additional requirement introduced under GDPR in relation to what must be contained in contracts with Data Processors.

Keep an eye on our blog for our next GDPR jargon-buster!

GDPR: is the jargon holding up your preparation?

‘Manifestly inadequate’ Statutory Sick Pay in the UK

A report by the European Committee of Social Rights (ECSR) has concluded that the level of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) in the UK is "manifestly inadequate". The report aimed to assess the UK's compliance with the European Social Charter, including Article 12, which provides that all workers have the right to social security. The report's overall conclusion was that the UK is not complying with the Charter.
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‘Manifestly inadequate’ Statutory Sick Pay in the UK

LGBT History Month

February marks LGBT History Month in the UK. Aiming to promote tolerance and equality and raise awareness of the prejudices suffered by those within the LGBT community, the campaign was initiated in February 2005 by Schools OUT, an organisation that works to promote LGBT equality in education. The movement has been met with increasing levels of support and LGBT History Month is now observed beyond the education sector, including in many workplaces.
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LGBT History Month

Employment law dates for your diary!

As we switch on our screens and open up our new diaries for the New Year here are some important employment law related dates you should bear in mind:
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Employment law dates for your diary!

World Braille Day 2018

4th January 2018 is World Braille Day. Braille is the system of touch reading and writing that utilises raised dots to represent the letters of the print alphabet and uses symbols to represent punctuation, mathematics and scientific characters, music, computer notation, and foreign languages. Rather than a language, Braille is a code by which all languages may be written and read. Through the use of Braille, people who are blind or visually impaired are able to review and study the written word. For those who use Braille, it is an important tool allowing them to engage with the rest of the workforce and enjoy equal opportunity with other, non visually impaired, work colleagues.
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World Braille Day 2018