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Employment

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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