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Employment

When there has been an allegation of serious misconduct, an employer will often wish to suspend the individual who has been implicated while it conducts an investigation. This will usually involve excluding the employee from the workplace (and usually also from the employer’s systems of communication) as well as preventing them from working for the employer for the period of suspension while continuing the contract of employment by way of paying full remuneration). Letters suspending employees in such circumstances will often state that “suspension is not a punishment” and that no outcome has yet been determined. However, employees will often see suspension as a hostile act and may assume that the outcome of the investigation is a foregone conclusion. Suspension is a serious step and employers should think carefully before taking it. If there are not reasonable grounds for the suspension, there is a risk that the employer will face an argument that they have  breached the implied term of mutual trust and confidence which exists in all contracts of employment, which can have serious repercussions.

This week the Government announced new laws that will overhaul UK data protection law. The changes are necessary in order to bring data protection laws up to date and in line with new EU law. The Data Protection Bill, which will give effect to the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), represents the most comprehensive transformation of data protection rights in a generation.

Few could have failed to notice the recent sensational decision of the Supreme Court which declared that Employment Tribunal fees are unlawful. 

 

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has decided in the case of Dudley Metropolitan Borough Council v Willets and others  that voluntary overtime must be taken into account in the calculation of holiday pay under the Working Time Regulations  1998 (WTR) because it forms part of “normal remuneration”  which must be paid during periods of annual leave.

 

There have been two appellate level court decisions regarding pension benefits this month which will be of interest to employers. The first deals with what amounts to “unfavourable” treatment for the purpose of a claim for discrimination in respect of something arising in consequence of a disability.  The second concerns pension schemes who have not equalised benefits for same-sex spouses following the civil partnership and same-sex marriage acts.

Matthew Taylor’s long-awaited independent review of modern employment practices was launched yesterday.

It has now been over a year since the UK voted to leave the European Union, but it has taken until this week for there to be any clarity on what the UK government proposes with regard to the over 3 million EU citizens who currently live and work in the UK.  The government has been accused of using these EU nationals as “bargaining chips” in the Brexit negotiations, and although there is now a little more detail, there has been criticism that the proposals do not go far enough.

Section 15 of The Equality Act 2010, provides that it will be unlawful discrimination for a disabled person to be treated unfavourably because of something arising in consequence of their disability unless it can be proven that the treatment is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.  The question of how to approach the fundamental issue of causation inherent in the statutory test is one that can throw up fairly complex and profound issues that even experts in metaphysics might struggle with.

Chambers UK 2018

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