Zero Hours contracts and exclusivity clauses

As of today, the 26th May 2015, exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts have been banned.  This means that if you give people such contracts, you cannot stop them working elsewhere. The eagle eyed among you may feel that this is old news, as certain politicians had said it was already done. It wasn’t, but now it is.  The order is behind the following link:  http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2015/1329/contents/made The order also contains other measures such as increasing fines for those that fail to pay the minimum wage from £20,000 per notice (which could cover any number of workers) to £20,000 per worker. Back to legal...

Court rules gay rights trump religious rights

While this case concerned the provision of goods and services, it is directly relevant to employment and employers should take note. We hope that none of our readers will be faced with a dilemma of this type, but the issue is fairly important for all of us as a society and should be noted. In this particular case, a gay rights group were holding a party and wanted a cake for that party. The buyer ordered the cake to be made with a slogan promoting gay marriage. What is fascinating is the decision to take the cake order to a bakery owned and run by a Christian who was known to have strong views against the idea of gay marriage. The shop cancelled the order, and politely referred the gay rights group to other reputable bakeries in the area who did not hold strong religious beliefs on the subject. The gay group then brought a complaint for direct discrimination on the grounds of sexuality. The County Court has ruled that religious freedom does not trump gay rights, and found the bakers guilty of direct discrimination. Furthermore, the Court stated that there was no justification, and the directors were not allowed to rely on the exemption granted to religious organisations, because they were  commercial bakery. As a postscript, we venture the opinion that while no right minded person wants to see the persecution of any group in society, unless an amendment is made which allows people to passively follow their conscience, rights such as the ones contained in this legislation are going to lose credibility in the eyes of the...

Dismissal For Reporting Employer To The Information Commissioner

The Appeal Tribunal this week found a dismissal to be fair where the employer told an employee NOT to report an alleged breach of the Data Protection Act to the Information Commissioners office (ICO) but the employee reported the employer anyway. This is a case that would have many lawyers nervous at the outset. It seemed on the face of it that the employee had made a protected disclosure, and the employer punished him for it. However, the Tribunal saw it differently. The instruction was reasonable because it was not an absolute ban on reporting, it was a ban on reporting without consent of his manager, and only while the employer investigated the possible breach for itself. This case should give employers a little more confidence in dealing with potential reports and whistleblowing with more confidence, provided they are acting reasonably. The full case can be read at the following link: http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKEAT/2015/0041_14_0105.html Back to legal...

Must disciplinaries stop while grievances are investigated?

The Appeal Tribunal has held that where an employee raises a grievance during a disciplinary and the employer dismisses the employee before investigating the grievance, it does NOT automatically mean the dismissal is unfair. Employers should be cautious about this, as it will always depend upon the substance of the grievance, but it does assist employers where employees raise a grievance as a means of delaying dismissal. The facts of the case are simple, a bus driver was disciplined and raised a grievance about some managers involved. The employer went ahead with the dismissal and this was found to be fair. The case itself can be read at the following link: http://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKEAT/2015/0434_14_1703.html   Back to legal...