Changes to Whistle Blower Rules

The Whistleblowing laws are getting plenty of attention at present as the government tables a number of changes to the current rules. At present, to gain protection an employee must have raised complaints “in good faith” otherwise they are not entitled to the protection. Last week the government tabled a change to this, removing the “good faith” requirement but introducing an ability for tribunals to reduce the compensation payable to employees by up to 25% if the complaints were not raised in good faith. Further changes were announced yesterday in amendments to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill. Currently employees/whistle blowers are only protected from acts of harassment by their employers. The change will mean that such acts done by co-workers will now give rise to a liability on the part of the employer.  However, there will also be a defence introduced where the employer takes all reasonable steps to protect staff from such harassment. Its probably too early to change whistleblowing policies at this point, but if the changes survive the parliamentary process, it would be wise to bring whistleblowing policies up to date. Especially as other changes being introduced to unfair dismissal qualifying periods will mean more cases are likely to have whistleblowing elements within them. The government announcement can be read at the following link.https://www.gov.uk/government/news/more-protection-for-whistleblowers-announced We will run a half day seminar giving a simple but complete breakdown on all of this years changes in April. Simply email Urmi@sherbornesllp.co.uk with the word Seminar if you require details. Back to legal...

Practical Advice, Simply Put

An important change to the law has been introduced to the Enterprise Bill currently making its way through parliament. In short, the qualifying period for unfair dismissal will not apply if the reason, or main reason, for the dismissal is political opinion. The bill does not make dismissals related to politics automatically unfair in the way that sex or race would, but it will mean that employees with short service will be able to bring unfair dismissal claims. For a fascinating insight into how a bill progresses through parliament click on the following link: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/lbill/2012-2013/0083/amend/am083-e.htm We will be running a half day seminar giving a full breakdown of all of this years changes in April. If you wish to receive details please email urmi@sherbornesllp.co.uk simply stating the word “seminar”. Back to legal...

Religious discrimination

An interesting case published today appears to show the appeal tribunal beginning to tire over sensitive employees. The case in question concerns a newsroom, where an employee shouted “What’s happened to the f#cking Pope?” and a Catholic sub editor took offence. The Appeal Tribunal ruled that this was NOT harassment. The reasoning appears to be that it was not done with any intention to offend and it was not said on the grounds of the sub editors religion. The important point from this case is that the purpose of the alleged harrasor,   while not conclusive on its own, is relevant in determining whether harassment has taken place. Therefore employers faced with such allegations in internal hearings should address the purpose of any comments as a matter of course. The full judgement, if light reading is desired, is available by following this link: http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKEAT/2013/1305_12_1701.html Back to legal...