Bereavement leave and pay

From 2020 employees who suffer the death of child will become entitled to two weeks paid leave.

Test for 'bad faith' in victimisation claim is honesty not motivation

An employee will be protected from victimisation if they wrongly but honestly believed the allegations they made to be true, even if they had an ulterior motive for making those allegations.

Enforcing post-termination restrictions and unsigned employment contracts

An employer wanting to vary an employment contract to incorporate more onerous post-termination restrictive covenants must ensure it has evidence of valid consideration for the change and should always obtain proof of agreement from the employee; ideally in the form of signature.

Resigning on notice may amount to affirmation

When an employee resigns and claims wrongful dismissal (not constructive dismissal), but does so on notice, where there is a lengthy notice period, they have affirmed the contract and so lost the ability to claim wrongful dismissal. However, if further breaches occur after affirmation, they are entitled to count the earlier affirmed breaches and claim that cumulatively they have caused the employee to resign without notice. Their restrictive covenants also do not apply.

Extending sick pay for a disabled employee

Taking a flexible and individualised approach to reducing sick pay for a disabled employee will help employers make out a justification defence to a disability discrimination claim.

Refusal to postpone disciplinary hearing may make a dismissal unfair

A refusal to postpone a disciplinary because of the unavailability of the worker’s chosen companion may make a dismissal unfair.

Long-term sickness absence and failure to consider part-time working

An employer seeking to justify its discriminatory dismissal of an employee on long-term sick leave should have considered part-time working.

Zero-hours contracts and pay while suspended

Is a zero-hours contract employee entitled to pay whilst they are suspended and thus not working any hours?

Effect of a successful appeal on the employment contract

Where a contract of employment provided for a disciplinary process and a right of appeal against dismissal, it was implicit that a successful appeal would, without more, revive the employment relationship and extinguish the dismissal.

Sanctity of copyright was not a protected philosophical belief

An employer did not discriminate when it dismissed an employee who refused to sign a copyright agreement because she held a ‘philosophical belief’ that she should own the rights to her work.

When does sleep count as 'work' for NMW purposes?

‘Sleep-in’ residential care workers are only entitled to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) when they are awake and ‘actually working’, not when they are asleep and therefore simply ‘available for work’.

Effective date of termination and minimum notice

Where there is a genuine entitlement to summarily dismiss, an employee cannot rely on the deeming provisions in the Employment Rights Act to get to two years’ qualifying service.

Maternity 'pause clause' for training costs was discriminatory

An employee who went on maternity leave was discriminated against and unfairly dismissed after her employer paused her training agreement to recoup expensive training costs.

Allegations and whistleblowing protection

An employee did not make protected disclosures when she complained to her employer about bullying, harassment, inappropriate behaviour and lack of managerial support over a safeguarding issue.

Evidence of right to work could have been established during appeal process

Where an employee was dismissed because the employer had a reasonable belief that they were not entitled to work in the UK, the employer should offer an appeal to allow the employee the chance to prove that at all relevant times they in fact had the right to work in the UK.

Disciplining for 60 days' sickness absence was disability discrimination

A disabled employee who was disciplined for 60 days’ absence over a 12-month period was discriminated against because her absence arose from her disability and her employer had failed to establish that its action was a proportionate response to her absence.

No mutuality of obligation defeats 'employee' claim

Where there was no obligation to provide or accept work, and the other features of the relationship were not inconsistent with this, there was no contract of employment.

Pimlico plumber was a 'worker'

The Supreme Court has handed down its decision in the Pimlico Plumbers case which focussed specifically on the question of whether a plumber stated to be self-employed in his contract was in fact a worker. It unanimously upheld the decision of all the courts below that Mr Smith was indeed a worker.

Pay cut is a repudiatory breach - even if employer had good reasons

An employer can never have reasonable or proper cause for breaching an express term of the employment contract or breaching the implied term of trust and confidence by imposing a significant unilateral pay cut on the employee.

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