It is time to review and update your Flexible Working Policy

You will have heard about the substantial changes to the flexible working rules that came into force at the end of June. We will update your policy on flexible working to make sure it covers the new rules at no cost if you are Arcturus client, if you are not Arcturus client we will do the same for a fee of £49 + VAT.If you are interested in this service please send us your draft policy by email and we will make sure that it is compliant. Back to legal...

Flexible Working Changes

The law changes as of today in relation to the right to request flexible working patterns. Until now the right existed only for parents and carers, as of today the right is extended to all employees. The government has also relaxed the complicated procedure which had to be followed. Following a request the employer has 3 months to decide whether to agree or not. Some advisors are saying that this means employers will need to change their policies, but this is not necessarily the case as the old regime, if followed, will more than meet the new criteria. However if you want to be ahead of the game, a review of your policy would not be a disadvantage. Those readers on the Arcturus scheme can have their policies updated at no cost, just let us know. The grounds for refusing a request remain the same. Burden of extra costs Effect on ability to meet demand Inability to reorganise work among existing staff Inability to recruit staff Impact on quality Impact on performance Not enough work at the employees preferred times Planned structural changes. Don’t panic about this right, we remind you it is the right to REQUEST to work flexibly, not to actually work flexibly.   Back to legal...

Indirect Discrimination

A case last week has looked at whether or not an employee has to show why a practice or criterion has a discriminatory effect on them. The answer is that they do not. To put this in context, a promotion exam at the home office was statistically more likely to be passed by white people than by ethnic minorities. No one knew why this was, but the statistics spoke for themselves. The employee brought a claim for indirect discrimination and the employer defended saying that this could not be discrimination because no one had identified why the statistics were as they were. The Employment Appeal Tribunal  said that why the statistics were as they were was of no importance in this case. The fact is that the exam was less likely to be passed by ethnic minorities and the employee themselves had failed it and therefore suffered a personal loss. That was enough to show discrimination. The practical lesson from this is that monitoring of opportunities in an organisation can be a useful tool to help spot and avoid discrimination, but perhaps employers should be cautious about publishing the results of that monitoring until they have corrected any perceived inequalities. The case is Essop v Home Office (2014) EAT. Back to legal...

Employees Secretly Recording Grievance And Disciplinary Hearings

In this case, an employee secretly recorded her employers adjournment discussions by leaving a secret tape recorder in her coat when she left the room for an adjournment. It may ruffle some of your feathers to learn that the Employment Appeal Tribunal (“EAT”) has held that secret recordings of private deliberations made in the course of grievance and disciplinary proceedings can be admissible in evidence at an employment tribunal. In this EAT case, the employee alleged that during her disciplinary and grievance hearing, inappropriate comments were made while she was out of the room. The alleged comments included; an instruction from the company’s managing director to dismiss her, discussions about the deliberate skipping of key issues in her grievance letter e.g. not being allowed a proper lunch break, matters relating to her pregnancy and derogatory and sexually offensive remarks. The employee subsequently bought claims for sex discrimination, constructive dismissal and sexual harassment which are to be heard in tribunal next month. The lesson here is to ensure you act professionally when conducting these hearings. PRACTICAL TIPS – Don’t say anything that you would not want an employment tribunal to hear! – Carry out your deliberations/take an adjournment in a different room – Keep any inappropriate comments truly “off the record”! – Prohibit employees from making secret recordings by including wording to that affect in your staff handbook and set out the consequences of any breach including dismissal. Punjab National Bank (International) Ltd & Ors v Gosain [2014] UKEAT 0003/14/0107 http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKEAT/2014/0003_14_0701.html Back to legal...

Constructive Dismissal And Affirmation Of Contract

In a case in the Appeal Tribunal last week, constructive dismissal was examined. If an employee is claiming constructive dismissal, they must either resign promptly and immediately after the alleged breach by the employer, or they must give their notice in promptly. In this case the emplopyee gave 7 months notice, not the 3 he was required to give. His reason was he needed the money. The court ruled that in constructive dismissal, the employee cannot hang around until it is convenient to leave. The employee must go straight away, or give contractual notice straight away. Otherwise the claim will fail. The case is Cockram v Air Products PLC (2014) PLC Back to legal updates...