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Employment

By Euan Smith, Associate

Regular readers of our blog will no doubt be aware of the long history in the case of Lock V British Gas, and similar holiday pay claims, and there has recently been another instalment.

Within the last fortnight the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has upheld an Employment Tribunal decision that the Working Time Regulations 1998, which implement the European Working Time Directive, can be interpreted to provide that results based commission should be included in statutory holiday pay.

By Anya Duncan, Partner

Background

In 2011, Theresa May (the then Minister for Women and Equalities) noted in the House of Commons that the coalition government was “committed to working with business to develop a voluntary approach to gender pay reporting in the private and voluntary sector”. Following this, later that year, the Government launched a voluntary gender equality reporting initiative called “Think, Act, Report” which sought to encourage voluntary pay reporting in the private and voluntary sector. Although more than 200 businesses signed up to the initiative by August 2014 only four had published any gender pay gap information.

By David Chalmers, Partner

The “Living Wage” is a measure of income considered necessary for an acceptable standard of living. As at 31 October 2015, the campaign group the Living Wage Foundation, calculated the UK living wage at £8.25 per hour and the London living wage at £9.40 per hour. The concept of a living wage has received a great deal of publicity in recent years, with many employers choosing to go beyond legal minimums and remunerating low paid staff by reference to these rates.

By Eric Gilligan, Partner and head of Stronachs’ employment team

This week was supposed to see what has become known as the “Gay cake case” reach the Court of Appeal in Northern Ireland but following an intervention by the Northern Irish Attorney General the case has now been postponed to March.

Many will recall the controversy over the Ashers bakery refusal to bake a cake for a homosexual customer, Mr Lee which was to bear the caption “Support Gay Marriage”. The County Court in Northern Ireland decided (in a case backed by the Equality Commission for Northern Ireland) that the treatment of the customer amounted to direct discrimination on grounds of his sexual orientation.

By Euan Smith, Associate

Mr Farnan, former International and National Marketing Director, is behind at half-time in his claims against Sunderland Association Football Club. The High Court (England and Wales) have recently dismissed his claim for wrongful dismissal finding that his breaches of confidentiality were serious enough to justify dismissal without notice.

As is the case in Scotland, wrongful dismissal claims can be brought in the ordinary civil courts, as well as in the Employment Tribunal. This has the advantage of escaping the cap on any award (£25,000) which would otherwise exist and the nature of the claims in both jurisdictions are the same. The courts are simply concerned with whether the terms of the contract have been breached and, unlike in unfair dismissal claims, they are not concerned with questions of reasonableness/fairness.

By Eric Gilligan, Partner and head of Stronachs’ employment team; and Catriona Sutherland, Trainee Solicitor

2016 looks set to be a big year for employers as sweeping reforms relating to trade unions, gender pay gap reporting and illegal workers are due to be implemented in the coming months. Notable cases are also set to be called before the appeal courts, addressing such issues as the scope of protection afforded to agency workers, the duty to collectively consult and the vexed question of employment status. Some of the highlights are listed below.

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