Inclusion of overtime in the calculation of holiday pay

There has been some speculation since last month as to how far back employees can claim unlawful deductions where the employer has not included voluntary overtime in the holiday pay. This matter has now been resolved with the government rushing through a piece of legislation (The Deductions from Wages (Limitation) Regulations 2014). This means that the most an employee can go back in time in a claim for unlawful deductions from wages will be two years. However, this new limitation will NOT apply to claims entered before July 2015. Therefore, employees still have 6 months to get their claims in if they have a chance of going back further than two years. If you need reminding, the normal limitation period for such a claim is three months, but that period is reset every time there is a new deduction. So, if an employee suffers regular deductions (or underpayments) with less than three months between each, then the employee can go back for years in theory. This will now be limited as from July next year.   Back to legal...

Fat is the new disabled

A European Court of Justice (ECJ) decision has today been handed down which sets out that those employees who are obese, can be protected under the Equality Act (Disability Discrimination). The case concerned a Danish man who was sacked as a child minder as he was too fat. He has now won his case for discrimination and the judgement is binding on the UK. The UK had its own case two years ago, but that only ruled that being too fat could be a protected characteristic if it was because of an underlying disability. The ECJ has gone further now, and if someone’s weight hinders them at work, they are protected. As we write this update we can hear the collective sigh of despair from employers but the consequences for most should be limited. It may mean that adjustments should be considered, such as larger chairs or parking spaces, but in the big scheme of things we suspect most employers would do this for a valued employee anyway. The real impact is that employers will need to protect such employees from harassment, or mickey taking, from fellow workers. We suggest a sensible, measured response is to simply add “Obesity” to your equal opportunities policy, and brief managers so that they are aware that if employees take the mick out of each other on the basis of size, it will be viewed by a tribunal as exactly the same as taking the mickey out of someone because they are from an ethnic minority, or gay. Also, if you have an employee who is finding life difficult because of their size,...

Christmas party reminder

Along with most lawyers, we usually send out a reminder at Christmas about the perils of the Christmas party.  This year, drawing on years of experience, we advise the following: Don’t pay for free drink all night. (We know you won’t need telling twice) It’s a really bad message Do remind the good folk known as “staff” that they represent work, and should not fight or engage in sexual activity in public Do remind managers not to talk about promotions or pay Do have a delegated “sober person”, preferably not the office junior, but someone with authority Do stick up a tree and decorations Do ignore people who seek to take offence at said tree and decorations Do eat Quality Street to excess Don’t put mistletoe up Don’t have the party in the office unless you want the customary photocopy of some ones buttocks turning up. Do have a happy Christmas Back to legal...

Government Launches A Free, Easy-To-Use, Legal Guidance Website!

The Trading Standards Institute has launched a free on-line resource that allows business owners to understand the trading standards laws and regulations that affect their specific business. Business Companion (www.businesscompanion.info) effectively cuts through the thousands of regulations that are in existence to drill down to the specific rules that apply to how your business sells, what your business sells and where your business sells its goods and services. By answering simple questions as to how, what and where your business sells its goods/services, business are directed to the rules which affect them and more importantly, they are not distracted by those which do not. For example, if you type in a search on “tomatoes”, the website brings up the guide on weights and measures for greengrocers, whereas a search on “art” brings up a guide on antiques and antiquities. These guides are country specific (i.e. they differ depending upon whether you sell your goods from England, Scotland, Northern Ireland etc.) and can be printed out and saved for future reference. The website also allows business to set up legislative alerts to be notified when a change in the law takes place…but don’t worry too much, as Sherbornes’ Legal Updates are always on hand to let you know what’s changing out there!   Back to legal...