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Employment Law Case Update: Gender-Fluid and Non-Binary Employees

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A recent case has added further to the ever-evolving situation regarding gender-fluid and non-binary employees and the protections afforded them under the Equality Act. This is an area with fast moving precedents and it’s one to watch. Our Employment...

What is the Kickstart Scheme?

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In an attempt to boost the creation of jobs in the UK, the Chancellor announced the introduction of the Kickstart Scheme which is due to commence in November 2020. This scheme is designed to create new jobs for people aged between 16 and 24 who are currently...

Employment Law Case Update: Time Spent Travelling

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A ground breaking case, which has taken four years to conclude, has highlighted the need for employers to ensure that their employees are being paid ther National Minimum Wage, and that their time working is adequately reflected to ensure this. Our ...

What are the practical considerations of bringing employees back from furlough leave?

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With the furlough leave scheme ending on 31 st October and as more employees are being asked to return to work, it is important that employers are prepared. Our Employment Law team review the practical implications involved, such as the necessary...

Employment Law Case Update: Foster Carers

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Employment status continues to be an important topic for employers, as demonstrated by the latest ruling for foster carers in Glasgow. Our Employment Law team here reviews the case, the ruling and what this means for employers. Two foster carers,...

What do I do if my employee is accused of a crime?

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The relationship between employers and employees is highly important and it is understandable that you will be concerned about the repercussions if an employee is accused of a crime. When faced with this, employers must be careful of the accused...

Employment Law Case Update: Mental Health

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Mental health is an incredibly important subject amongst our employees and it is vital that employers manage this with sensitivity, understanding and ensuring managers are able to spot the signs. Our Employment Law team here review the case of...

How do I select the pool for redundancy?

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If your business has to make the difficult decision to make redundancies , there is a set process you are required to follow. This will be a challenging time for both you and your employees as you face an uncertain future, but following this procedure...

Employment Law Case Update: Employment Status for Agency Workers

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Determining employment status is a tricky area of employment law and even more so with regards to agency workers. Our Employment Law team reviews the case of Angard Staffing Solutions and Royal Mail v Mr D Kocur and others, which illustrates...

Should I place my employee on garden leave?

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Garden leave (sometimes called gardening leave) is one strategy companies may use to protect their business when an employee leaves, and are regularly used alongside restrictive covenants . With many businesses facing changes in the current climate,...

Employment Law Case Update: Suspending an employee

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Suspending an employee may be an open and shut case as far as you're concerned, but you should always ensure you follow a correct procedure and don't make any hasty decisions. Our Employment Law team here reviews the case of Strothard v...

What immigration rules will apply to employment from January 2021?

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While many businesses are still focused on the current global health crisis, some employers may be looking ahead to 2021 when the transition period for Brexit is scheduled to end. When this happens, free movement between the UK and the EU will also end so...

Employment Law Case Update: Fair Dismissal Procedure

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Every employer knows that should they wish to dismiss an employee, they must follow a fair procedure otherwise they could be faced with an unfair dismissal claim in tribunal; but are there exceptions to the rule? Our Employment Law team reviews the...

What changes could be introduced under the new Pregnancy and Maternity (Redundancy Protection) Bill?

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With more people unfortunately facing redundancies this year, there is a concern from certain groups that pregnant women and mothers on maternity leave could face discrimination when it comes to the redundancy process. In light of this, the Pregnancy...

Employment Law Case Update: Direct and Indirect Discrimination

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Is your workforce a diverse one? Are you confident that your managers and team members are not discriminatory? These are two key factors to consider when running a business; our Employment Law team here reviews a case in which diversity was at the...

How do I change my employees' employment contracts legally?

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As the end of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme approaches, many employers will be considering new measures to protect the future of their business. These could include reducing employee benefits, having employees work part-time, or making homeworking...

Employment Law Case Update: Employment Status

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Employment status has been a hot topic in recent years, and it has continued this year with the recent case of J Varnish v British Cycling Federation t/a British Cycling . Our Employment Law team reviews the case and explains the importance of...

What is bereavement leave?

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The last few months have made employers consider many situations regarding their policies and how they manage and support their employees during difficult times, including during bereavement. Bereavement leave is one way employers can support an...

Employment Law Case Update: Restructuring

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The coming months are likely to bring many changes to businesses including possible redundancies or restructuring to keep roles where possible. It is important that employers follow the right procedure when doing so making the wrong decisions or taking...

Can employers base redundancy payments on furlough wages?

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Redundancies are always a stressful time for all parties involved; employees are worried about their future and employers will want to look after those employees as best they can, as well as ensure they follow a fair and proper procedure to avoid tribunal...

Employment Law Case Update: Pregnancy Discrimination

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Knowing how to manage a pregnant employee and being aware of their Employment Law rights from the outset is vital in order to avoid a potential Tribunal claim against you for discrimination. Our Employment Law team today review the case of Jallow v...

What are my rights when offered a settlement agreement due to redundancy?

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In these difficult economic times many employees may find themselves facing redundancy. If you are offered a settlement agreement due to redundancy, it is important you understand your rights and the rights you could be waiving should you sign the...

Employment Law Case Update: Victimisation and Whistleblowing

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As an employer, if you have any concerns about the performance of an employee, it is vital that a thorough and fair investigation is carried out, and that there are no incidents of victimisation during the course of your actions. Our Employment Law ...

What are my rights as an employee when facing redundancy?

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In our current climate, businesses are having to make the difficult decisions to make their employees redundant in light of having to reduce their size, restructure, close or as the furlough scheme comes to an end. As an employee, it is important that...

Employment Law Case Update: Marital Status Discrimination

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We spend the majority of our lives at work and so it can only be natural that we form close relationships with our colleagues, occasionally even romantic ones. As an employer, you may wish to implement a policy regarding relationships at work; our ...

Is a furloughed employee entitled to a statutory redundancy payment?

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The last few months have certainly seen many changes in the world of Employment Law, particularly with the introduction of furlough leave. Many questions arose following its implementation regarding timeframes, holiday leave, maternity and paternity...

Employment Law Case Update: Collective Redundancies

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When it comes to making redundancies, even the well known brands can still get it wrong. Our Employment Law team today review the recent case of Ms T Low and Others v Jamie’ s Italian Ltd (in administration) and the importance of the...

How can I support the mental health of my employees as they return to work?

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Employers have a legal duty of care to protect the health, safety, and welfare of their employees, which extends to their mental health. As an employer, you should be aware that previous workplace strategies to support mental health may not be...

Employment Law Case Update: Whistleblowing and constructive dismissal

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Whistleblowing is a hot topic in light of the coronavirus pandemic, particularly relating to employees who have been placed on furlough leave. The case of Robinson v Mind Monmouthshire serves as a salutary reminder of how to handle whistleblowing. ...

What is flexible furlough?

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The Government has further announced that the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) has been extended to the 31 st October 2020, with additional changes to the existing rules from 1st July 2020. In essence, the revised rules ("flexible...

Employment Law Case Update: Discrimination and Psychiatric Harm

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Our Employment Law team here reviews the case of Royal Bank of Scotland v AB , and explain how serious a judgment against an employer can be when discriminatory treatment causes psychiatric harm. AB worked for the Royal Bank of Scotland...

Employment Law Case Update: Behaviour Caused or Affected by Disability

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Our Employment Law team here review the case of J Austin v The Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust and advises how ignoring the background issues behind an employee’s pattern of behaviours led to tribunal. Ms Austin was an employee of the...

Can I claim back the Statutory Sick Pay I have paid to my employees?

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On 26 May, the Government launched the Coronavirus Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme (CSSPRS). This scheme was implemented to help employers of small and medium sized businesses cope with the increase in staff claiming Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) due to...

Employment Law Case Update: Disability and Work Place Adjustments

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Insensitivity towards an employee's disability can be costly for employers, as demonstrated in the recent case of N Williams v Boots Management Services Ltd . Our Employment Law team review the case and advise how employers can avoid...

Employment Law Case Update: Constructive Dismissal and Sexual Orientation Discrimination

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Discrimination is a hot topic at the moment and a recent case has highlighted how a change in behaviour towards an employee could lead to tribunal. Our Employment Law team review the case of Allen v Paradigm Precision Burnley Limited and Carl...

What are the GDPR implications for testing staff for coronavirus?

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As employers begin to open up the conversation with their employees about returning to the workplace, there are several ways that they can be providing a safe working environment for their employees; one of which being testing for coronavirus. There...

How do I calculate notice pay for an employee who has been on furlough leave?

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With over 6 million employees having been on furlough leave over the last few months, it is inevitable that some of those may have already been working their notice when their employer placed them on furlough leave. If you have made this decision as an...

How do I carry out individual or collective redundancies?

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The coronavirus pandemic has changed the world that we live and work in and unfortunately, in spite of the level of support from the Government, it is inevitable that some businesses will be required to consider making redundancies. Our Employment Law...

Employment Law Case Update: Witness Evidence and Discrimination

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If you or your employees are required to provide witness evidence in a tribunal claim, it is also important that they are willing to appear in tribunal. This was highlighted in the recent case of T Bond v J Large t/a Lads and Dads Barbers which...

Employment Law Case Update: Fair Redundancy and Internal Candidates

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We are regularly hearing of redundancies in the news in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, and it is vital that should you be considering making redundancies in your business, you carry out the process fairly and without bias. A recent legal...

Can I force my employees to return to work from furlough leave?

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The Prime Minister announced in his speech on 10 May 2020 the updated position with regard to lockdown and stated that those who cannot work from home and who can travel to work without public transport should return to their workplace where possible. As...

Employment Law Case Update: Conclusive Investigations into Employee Conduct

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Workplace gossip and so called "banter" are an employers nightmare, and there is a fine line before it can become the foundations of a tribunal claim. The Employment Law team here review the case of Lawson v Virgin Atlantic Airways...

Employment Law Case Update: Contractors and Vicarious Liability

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The case of Barclays Bank plc v Various Claimants has, over a number of years, been seeking to establish whether companies are vicariously liable for the actions of independent contractors. Our Employment Law team here review the case in further...

Employment Law Case Update: Full and Fair Investigation

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Carrying out investigations into allegations of misconduct against an employee is unfortunately part of most employer's routines. The case of Leigh Andrews v St Mungo’s Community Housing Association is a good example how the past can come...

Employment Law Case Update: Racism and Sexual Harassment

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The case of Anne Giwa-Amu v Department for Work and Pensions illustrates precisely the way not to handle a grievance around racism and ageism. Miss Giwa-Amu was an administration officer working for Caerphilly’s Department for Work and Pensions....

What should I pay my furloughed employees who have just come back from maternity and paternity leave?

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All businesses are facing different challenges as we find our new normal in light of the coronavirus pandemic, but one area of life that has continued as normal is the fact that some of our employees still require maternity, paternity and adoption...

Can I delay a start date or withdraw a job offer in light of coronavirus?

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Employers who made an offer of employment prior to the coronavirus pandemic may be considering whether a start date can be postponed or the offer can be withdrawn. There could be several reasons; you may be required to save costs if there is a...

Employment Law Case Update: Resignations and Cooling Off Periods

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When an employee hands in their notice, do you allow them to have a cooling off period? This topic was up for discussion in the recent case of Robert S Rae v Wellhead Electrical Supplies Limited . In early 2019, Robert Rae, founder and former...

Can my apprentices continue learning while on furlough leave?

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Many business are struggling to keep all of their employees, including their apprentices, working at present due to the coronavirus outbreak. As such, businesses have placed many individuals on furlough leave. Our Employment Law team here reviews how...

Employment Law Case Update: Redundancy cover for dismissal

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When dismissing an employee, it is vital that employers do so using a fair procedure and are transparent about the reasons behind the dismissal. In the case of S Sparks v DB Cleaners and Launderers Ltd, the employer used redundancy opposed to...

Employment Case Law Update: Vicarious Liability

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The case of Morrisons v Various Claimants has been one we have reported on several times as it has moved from the High Court to the Court of Appeal, and now the Supreme Court has ruled that an employer cannot be held to be liable for a data breach where an...

How do I manage employee data and employee handling of client data during the coronavirus pandemic?

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Increasing numbers of staff are working from home or away from the office which could make confidential information and personal data more vulnerable to data breaches; particularly where cyber-criminals are increasing their fraudulent scams. Data which...

How has coronavirus changed holiday leave entitlement for my employees?

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Due to the coronavirus outbreak and the subsequent guidance from the Foreign Office against all but essential travel abroad indefinitely, you may find affected employees seeking to cancel their annual leave and use it once the restrictions have been...

Employment Law Case Update: Witnesses in disciplinary hearings

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As an employer, it is likely that you will be called upon to carry out disciplinary proceedings. The case of Lewis v The Governing Body of Tairgwaith Primary School illustrates the importance of making reasonable effort to ask witnesses to...

What is Furlough Leave and how does it work?

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On Friday 20 March, the Chancellor announced the concept of Furloughed Leave in response to the economic uncertainty caused by the outbreak of COVID-19 (Coronavirus). As part of this announcement, the Chancellor explained that a Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (the Scheme) would be set up to allow “all UK employers… to access support to continue paying part of their employees’ salary for those employees that would otherwise have been laid off during this crisis.” This has been referred to as Furloughed Leave. Here, our Employment team explain what Furloughed Leave is, who it applies to and how employers can apply for the grant.

Employment Law Case Update: Unfair Dismissal and Disability Discrimination

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Interviews can sometimes be a difficult task. Depending on how many applications you receive and how many positions you have available, you could be interviewing multiple candidates over a number of weeks and it important that detailed notes are kept for you to review when deciding who, if anyone, to hire.

How often should I do appraisals and what should be included?

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Although some employers may treat appraisals as no more than a tick box exercise, or find conversations on poor performance difficult, they are important. While there is no legal requirement for you to carry out appraisals with your employees, they can be useful in monitoring and supporting their performance. How often they should be held will depend on your business, but the more regularly they are scheduled, the better. In this article, our Employment team explore this in further detail and also explain why you should hold appraisals, what should be included in them and what can happen if you don’t hold them.

Do I have to pay my employees if I have to close my business due to poor weather or travel disruption?

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The commute to work can be difficult at the best of times, but adding adverse weather conditions into the equation can mean employees may find it impossible to get into the office at all, but what does that mean for their pay? As an employer, you might decide to temporarily close your business due to the weather conditions, in which case your employees would still be entitled to their pay. However, where your business site remains open, you are under no obligation to pay employees who do not attend work due to transport disruption, unless this is provided for in their employment contract. In this article, our Employment team detail the considerations you will have to make in regards to closing your business due to weather conditions, as well as alternatives you can offer your employees if they cannot attend work.

How can I support my LGBT employees - Ten ways to create an inclusive workplace

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Over the last decade, organisations in all sectors have made huge strides in supporting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) employees and creating an inclusive workplace. However, there is still work to be done as many LGBT people in the UK still choose not to disclose their sexuality at work. Research has also shown that LGBT job seekers are 5% less likely to be offered a job interview than heterosexual applicants with comparable skills and experience. In this article, our Employment team list our top ten tips for supporting LGBT employees, as well as explain the law protecting them and what positives can come from a more diverse workplace.

An employer's guide to holiday requests

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All workers are entitled to make holiday requests throughout the year and running a business means you need to be ready for such requests with the appropriate policies, pay structure and cover in place. Our Employment Law team explains here the key...

Do I have to pay my commission based employees the National Minimum Wage if their commission falls below it?

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In certain lines of work, it is common for employees to be paid on a commission basis as opposed to more traditional means. However, workers who you pay wholly or partly on the basis of sales made or deals completed must still be paid at least the National Minimum Wage (NMW). In this article, our Employment team detail what payments do and do not count towards the NMW, when you have to pay the NMW and what to do if your commission only workers are required to be at work for a certain amount of hours.

Do I have to pay my apprentices the National Minimum Wage?

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Apprenticeships are one of the most common ways for employers to effectively train skilled workers for the future. When deciding whether to take on an apprentice there are many considerations you must make, one of which is what to pay them. Apprentices are entitled to the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and in this article our Employment team detail how much you have to pay your apprentices according to their age or how long they have been an Apprentice with you, how to hire an apprentice and how to make sure your Apprenticeship Agreements are compliant.

Employment Law Case Update: Detrimental Treatment due to Whistleblowing

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As an employer, at some point, you may well have to deal with a case of whistleblowing. If this happens it is very important to go through the proper processes to address the claim. Not doing so can leave you open to potentially expensive and damaging tribunal claims, as seen in the the case of Royal Mail v Jhuti, which illustrates the wide scope afforded to whistleblowing protection and shows the need to be sure and clear of the reason for any dismissal.

How should I support employees going through the menopause at work?

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In the UK alone, there are around nine million women aged between 40 and 60 who could be experiencing symptoms of menopause or perimenopause (menopause transition). Three and a half million of these women are employees over 50 with a wealth of experience and skills to offer, but how is the menopause and the associated symptoms dealt with in the workplace? While perimenopause and the menopause are not specifically protected by law, as an employer, you should make every effort to support your employees in this situation. In this article, our Employment team detail how you can support employees going through the menopause and what symptoms they may experience, what the law says about the menopause, and how to manage the general workforce when making adjustments

Employment Law Case Update: Direct Discrimination, Harassment and Victimisation

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The advent of social media and instant messaging services like WhatsApp, has given an employers an additional avenue to promote their businesses and communicate with their employees, but they so also present significant dangers that become very apparent in the case of Mr K Krabou v Tower Hamlets Homes.

What is a payment in lieu of notice (PILON)? - Advice for employers

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In the situation that you wish to terminate an employee’s employment immediately and have them not work their notice period, this can be done using a payment in lieu of notice (PILON). This would pay them for their contractually agreed notice period. In this article, our Employment team explains why you might want use a PILON, what can happen if you don’t include the option to use it in all employee contracts, and the difference between a PILON and garden leave.

Five key Employment Law cases to watch in 2020

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In the constantly shifting landscape of Employment Law it can be difficult to keep up to date with the latest cases and updates, particularly at the start of a new year. Here, our Employment team detail the high profile cases of 2020, explaining how they could impact you and your business, and how you can stay up to date throughout the year.

How can employers manage cyberbullying in the workplace?

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When operating a business, at some point you may be faced with issues of bullying or harassment between colleagues. With the advent of social media, employers now have to be vigilant against the threat of cyberbullying as well. To deal with cyberbullying, you should make sure that you have comprehensive policies to prevent it, as well as clear and consistent consequences if it occurs. In this article, our Employment team explain how to manage cyberbullying in the workplace, as well as what constitutes cyberbullying and what risks are involved if you fail to deal with it correctly.

Can I reclaim money if I have overpaid an employee?

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It is not uncommon for a business to accidentally over pay an employee and it can happen for a variety of reasons. If it does occur, you may be wondering if you can reclaim any money mistakenly paid. Employees are protected by law from deductions from wages being made unlawfully, however, you are able to reclaim from employees in certain circumstances, like an overpayment of wages. Here, our Employment team go into further detail on when you can reclaim money from an employee, what to consider when doing so and how to do so staying on the right side of employment law.

Do I have to give non-Christian employees additional time off to celebrate religious festivals?

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Living and working in a multi-culture and multi-faith society leads to an array of religious holidays and festivals; however there is no requirement for you to give employees additional time off to celebrate them. In this article, our Employment team discusses how to deal with holiday requests around these festivals, what you can do if you can’t grant a request, as well as detailing a case that serves as an example of what can happen if requests are not handled correctly.

Are my employees entitled to a day's extra pay in a leap year?

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Although it only happens once every four years, the extra day that comes with a leap year can catch employers out when it comes to paying their employees. Whether or not you need to pay them for the extra day depends on if the employee is salaried or is paid hourly. In this article, our Employment team detail the difference between a salaried employee and one who is paid hourly in regards to a leap year, as well as how the changed date for the May bank holiday could affect holiday entitlement next year.

Can I amend my Employment Tribunal claim form once it's submitted?

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In order to bring a claim against your employer at an Employment Tribunal (ET), you must complete an ET1 claim form. It is vital that you complete this form correctly, as once your ET1 form has been sent, you cannot change anything on it unless you get permission from the ET. You may wish to amend your claim form due to an error in your initial submission, or because more information has come to light that wasn’t apparent before. Whether the ET will agree to amend the claim form depends on what the changes are and their significance to your case. In this article, our Employment team detail the facts that the ET will consider when deciding whether to allow amendments to a claim form and they examine the case that provides a guiding influence on the process.

Can I recover training costs if an employee leaves?

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Throughout an employee’s tenure at your business, you may well pay for them to attend various training sessions, but can you recover those costs if they leave? The answer to this depends completely on the employee’s contract or the terms of any training agreements they have signed. If there is no contractual right that allows you to reclaim payment, the money cannot be recovered. You may be able to offset the amount owed against the money the employee is due to receive during their notice period; however this comes with its disadvantages. In this article, our Employment team detail on what grounds you can reclaim training costs, the risks involved and what considerations you’d need to make in regards to National Minimum Wage.

What is the difference between agile working and flexible working?

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Both agile working and flexible working are becoming more common in modern workplaces; but to effectively implement either of these approaches, employers need to understand that while similar in many ways, they are different in what they aim to achieve. In this article, our Employment team detail what flexible working and agile working are, their objectives and the positive and negative impacts of both.

If an employee is sick abroad, can I accept a foreign medical certificate?

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It isn’t an uncommon occurrence for an employee to return from holiday, only to claim to be ill and be delayed in returning to work. If the employee returns and presents a foreign medical certificate as evidence of their sickness, you should treat it as legitimate unless you have evidence that it is not, or evidence that the employee is not really sick. In this article, our Employment team detail what you should do if an employee is sick during their holiday and requests the time off be considered as sickness absence and not annual leave, as well as where you stand in regards to Statutory Sick Pay.

Can I refuse suitable alternative employment when being made redundant?

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If your employer has notified you that your role is at risk of being made redundant, they are obliged to consider whether there is the possibility of offering you alternative employment so as to avoid redundancy. You can refuse the role if one is found, but you should be cautious as doing so on unreasonable grounds will mean that you are not entitled to your statutory redundancy payment. In this article, our Employment team details what your employer must do to offer you an alternative role and for what reasons you can turn down the role and still receive your redundancy pay.

What is ACAS Early Conciliation?

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If you are considering bringing an Employment Tribunal claim against your former, current or a potential employer, you will have to go through ACAS Early Conciliation before you do so. This is the process that employees and individuals are required to enter into before they are able to bring claim to an Employment Tribunal (ET). It is designed to try and resolve disputes, if possible, before they reach the ET; in this article, our Employment team details how to start the conciliation process and how long it could take.

Under what circumstances can I suspend an employee?

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Suspending an employee is never a decision to be taken lightly. If you suspect an employee has committed an act of misconduct and wish to suspend, you first must ensure that it would comply with certain circumstances for it to be an appropriate action. In this article, our Employment team discuss under what circumstances it is appropriate to suspend, what considerations you should make before suspending and what happens once you have suspended.

What can I do if my employer rejects my flexible working request?

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While flexible working is a much more common occurrence than before, requests are not always granted. If your request is rejected, your employer could allow you to appeal their decision. In this article, our Employment team detail what criteria has to be met in order to first make a flexible working request, how you can appeal if your request is rejected and what you can do if your appeal isn’t successful.

Employment Law Case Update: Contractual Breaks

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Most likely, there have been times when work has been too busy for us to take a proper lunch break, but what happens if there is no data or record of when this happens?

The case of Hallett v Derby Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust illustrates the importance of ensuring employees take their contractual breaks and the financial implications for not doing so.

Can I use a trial period to test flexible working arrangements?

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The traditional working structure has been undergoing a transformation in recent months and with the advent of technology and programs like Skype and Slack, employees being able to work remotely or from home is becoming more common place. In turn, this has led to an increase in flexible working requests so employees can have a better work-life balance. If an employee does make that request you can trial a flexible working arrangement; in this article, our Employment team detail what to do if a flexible working request is made and when to use a trial period.

Employment Law Case Update: Sexual Harassment

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Fostering a positive atmosphere in the workplace is important and employees that get along and enjoy working together is always a welcome sight to employers, but what happens if that friendliness is over stepped?

Can my partner attend my antenatal appointments?

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It is well known that pregnant employees are entitled to time off to attend antenatal appointments, and rights for partners are now being extended. The introduction of Shared Parental Leave is one example, and rights to accompany a pregnant woman to an appointment have also been revised. In this article, the Employment team discuss who is eligible to attend antenatal appointments and what your employers might request from you.

Employment Law Case Update: Unfair Dismissal and Known Disabilities

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The case of Kuppala v HBOS illustrates the importance of factoring in a known disability when considering issues of misconduct. Employers should make sure to fully investigate how a known disability could have impacted the misconduct and whether dismissal is a fair decision.

When should an employer refer to Occupational Health?

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As an employer, the physical and mental wellbeing of your staff should always be a top priority. Occupational Health is a key component in achieving this goal and in this article, our Employment team detail what Occupational Health is, when you should refer to Occupational Health and what preventative measures they can assist with.

Employment Law Case Update: Suspending Employees

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Recently, a bus driver from Norwich was suspended from work while he is investigated under disciplinary policy for refusing to drive a bus with its number in rainbow colours.

Can I reject a job application based on a spent conviction?

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When interviewing for new employees, you may well encounter a candidate that discloses a prior conviction to you. If that conviction is “spent”, then you must treat the applicant as if the conviction never happened, and in many cases it is unlawful to refuse to hire a candidate based on that fact. However, there are some circumstances where you can lawfully reject and applicant with a spent conviction, and in this article our Employment team detail those circumstances, as well as what a spent and unspent conviction is.

Can a settlement agreement include a restrictive covenant?

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If you are offered a settlement agreement by your employer, depending on your role and the circumstances of you leaving the business, it is likely it will include restrictive covenants. There are several types of restrictive covenant that could be included; in this article, our Employment team explains each of them, what makes them enforceable and if you can negotiate the restrictive covenants with your employer before signing your settlement agreement.

Employment Law Case Update: Whistleblowing and Unfair Dismissal

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As an employer, it is more than likely that you will at some point have to dismiss an employee. Whether this is done through redundancy or due to gross misconduct, fair dismissal procedures should always be followed to avoid potential unfair dismissal claims. Ali v Indian Cuisine is an example of the repercussions employers can face for unfairly dismissing employees.

Can fixed term contracts become permanent?

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A fixed term contract is a form of employment that expires after a certain “term” ends. The term could be a number of things, for example when a particular project has been completed, or when another employee returns from either sickness or maternity leave. There are occasions where fixed term contracts can become permanent, and in this article our Employment team discuss under what circumstances this can happen.

Can a restrictive covenant be removed from an employment contract?

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If a restrictive covenant is already in your employment contract, you can seek your employer’s consent to have it removed. Depending on the reason, they could refuse this request or it may be removed by an Employment Tribunal if they determine it is unreasonable.

Can I ask my employer for a settlement agreement?

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Whilst employers are usually the ones to take the first step in offering a settlement agreement, it is possible to request a settlement agreement from your employer. In this article our Employment team detail what a settlement agreement is and what you need to consider when requesting one.

What is positive action in the workplace?

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Positive action in the workplace is designed to help people belonging to protected groups overcome or minimise disadvantages, meet the particular needs of a protected group, or encourage them into an activity they might otherwise feel excluded from. There are specific grounds on which you, as an employer, can take positive action and here our Employment team discuss them.

Employment Law Case Update: Sex Discrimination

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As an employer, it is important that when disciplining, or indeed dismissing employees, the criteria on which you do so is consistent for all instances. The Case of Higham and Escott v Greater Manchester Police is a prime example of just how severe the consequences can be as a court found they treated two female officers differently than male officers during two separate disciplinary procedures.

Can I re-employ someone I made redundant?

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If you have made an employee redundant, but then your business’s economic situation improves and you need to recruit, you can re-hire the redundant employee. You are under no obligation to wait a certain period of time before offering the job to the redundant employee. Similarly, if their previous role does become available once more, you are not obliged to offer the role to them; you can recruit someone else, as long as the original dismissal for reason of redundancy followed a fair procedure and there must have been a genuine reason for the redundancy.

Employment Law Case Update: Unfair Dismissal and Wrongful Dismissal

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As an employer, you may well find your self in the situation where you have been presented with information that suggests an employee has been acting inappropriately at work. While these situations should never be dismissed out of hand, the ensuing investigation should be thorough and detailed. In the case of Hyland v Cheshire & Greater Manchester Community Rehabilitation Company Limited, the consequences of a poor and vague investigation are made clear.

What can I do if an employee is off sick for over a week with no doctor's note?

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Usually, employers are happy for staff to self-certify their absence from work for the first 7 days of sickness and only require a doctor’s note (also known as a fit note) if they are sick for longer than 7 days. If you are in the situation where an employee is off sick for longer than this period and they do not supply you with the doctor’s note, there are a number of steps you can take, for example, withholding sick pay or you could initiate disciplinary proceedings. Our Employment team explain more here about how to take these measures, and why it is so important to have the correct sickness policies in place.

Employment Law Case Update: Walker v Arco Environmental Limited

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The case of Walker v Arco Environmental Limited is a good example of what can happen if, as an employer, you react inappropriately when an employees informs you they are pregnant. It also shows what can happen if you create a hostile environment in the work place due to news that you perceive as inconvenient to the business.