Volunteers and employment status

A volunteer in the Maritime and Coastguard Agency was a worker when undertaking remunerated activities, despite copious references in his documentation to him being a volunteer.

Industrial action and protection from detriment

The Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992, which protects workers from detriment for taking part in trade union activities, does not provide protection from detriment for participating in lawful strike action – and this lack of protection is incompatible with the right to strike under art. 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

Working from home and the return to the office

A senior employee’s request to work permanently from home was justifiably rejected by her employer, despite the fact that she had successfully been doing so since the start of the pandemic.

Settlement agreements and future claims

Unknown future claims arising under the Equality Act 2010 may be waived in a settlement agreement provided that the types of claims are clearly identified.

Vicarious liability: close connection

A congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses was not vicariously liable for the rape of a member of its congregation by a former elder. While the relationship between the elder was akin to employment, the rape was not so closely connected with what the elder was authorised to do that it could fairly and properly be regarded as committed by him while acting in the course of his quasi-employment.

WhatsApp messages and misuse of private information

The High Court has refused to strike out a claim for misuse of private information which was brought by an employee against her former employer. In so doing, the court considered the extent to which there can be a reasonable expectation of privacy in private WhatsApp messages that had been found at work.

Unlawful inducements and collective bargaining

An employer’s imposition of a pay award, at a time when negotiations with the union were stalled, was an unlawful inducement.

Agency workers: right to be informed of vacancies

Regulation 13 of the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 gives agency workers a right to be informed of vacancies in the same terms as permanent workers: it does not give them a right to apply.

Employer not liable for injuries caused by practical joke

An employer was neither directly or vicariously liable for injuries inflicted on one of its contractors by one of its employees playing a practical joke.

Flexible working and agreements to extend

An employee had not agreed to an extension to the normal three-month time frame for deciding flexible working requests when he agreed to attend an appeal outside that three-month period.

NMW and expenses

Payments made by a driver to rent his vehicle and uniform should have been taken into account when working out whether he had been paid the National Minimum Wage (NMW).

Direct pay offer to employees was an 'unlawful inducement'

An employer who directly offered its employees a package of revised terms and conditions - going over the head of the recognised trade union – unlawfully induced them to cease collective bargaining.

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’.

Employee - not employer - carrying out surveillance in the workplace

It was unreasonable for an employer to dismiss an employee for gross misconduct because the employee had installed a camera in his office whilst he was suspended from duty.

Trade union activities and detriment

When considering whether an employer has subjected a worker to a detriment with the sole or main purpose of penalising them for taking part in the activities of an independent trade union, the question of the employer’s ‘sole or main purpose’ is a subjective question, i.e., what was in the mind of the employer at the time.

Settlement agreements and misrepresentation

Where COT3s or settlements are concerned, the protection afforded by the ‘without prejudice’ rule may fall away where there is an allegation of misrepresentation.

Health and safety protections and 'workers'

‘Workers’ and not just employees should have protection from being subject to detriments on health and safety grounds and the right to be provided with PPE.

Agency Workers Regulations: 'temporary' work requirement

A worker who had an open-ended contract of employment with an agency was nonetheless supplied to work ‘temporarily’ for an end user.

COT3 agreements and confidentiality clauses

An employee’s breach of a confidentiality clause in a COT3 settlement did not free his employer of its obligation to continue making instalment payments of the agreed settlement sum.

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