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The Offshore Petroleum Regulator for Environment and Decommissioning (“OPRED”) issued a consultation (“Consultation”) on 18 January 2018 in relation to the introduction of The Offshore Environmental Civil Sanctions Regulations 2018 (the “Regulations”). The relatively short consultation period closes on 15 February 2018. Strangely, the Consultation has been issued in the middle of an informal consultation on the same matter (issued by OPRED on 22 December 2017) which remains open for comment until 25 January 2018.

In the week of “Blue Monday”, reportedly the most depressing day of the year, and with the NHS allegedly “haemorrhaging” nurses due to work related stress, the need for mental health policies in the workplace has come under the spotlight. ACAS describes mental health as our “emotional, psychological, and social well-being, it affects how we think, feel, and act. It also helps determine how we handle stress, interact and relate to others, and make choices.” The World Health Organisation defines good mental health as “a state of wellbeing in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully and is able to make a contribution to her or his community.”

 

2017 was a big year for employment law and HR issues. In July 2017, the Supreme Court held that tribunal fees are unlawful. Since then, the official employment tribunal statistics have shown a 64% increase in claims, and it is likely that this upwards trend will continue in 2018. Several important ET and EAT cases on the so-called gig economy were decided, and the Taylor review was published, making various recommendations to overhaul the law on employment status. Towards the end of 2017, the news was dominated by successive sexual harassment scandals, and many employers are taking the opportunity to overhaul their own policies in this regard. Finally, hanging over all of this is the ongoing uncertainty over Brexit. Although various compromises have now been reached, for example in relation to the settled status of EU nationals who will have been continuously resident in the UK for 5 years on the date of exit, 29 March 2019, politicians have been quick to caveat that “nothing is agreed until everything is agreed”.

Recent publicity about an English Court of Appeal ruling on the rights of unmarried couples has highlighted the misunderstanding that many people have about their rights following their partner’s death.

Don’t worry – despite the festive season now being well and truly upon us, this is not another rehashed blog about the perils of the Christmas party! Instead, this week we look at a recent case which has received much publicity because it highlights to employers, who are already well aware that their data protection obligations are changing with the coming into force of European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on 25 May 2018, that courts can and will hold them “vicariously liable” i.e. liable through the actions of another for unauthorised use of personal data by their employees.

The Private Housing (Tenancies) (Scotland) Act 2016 introduces a new type of tenancy in Scotland, under which it is possible for a tenant’s partner or other family members to inherit their tenancy following their death.  This Insight highlights the requirements which must be met in order to take advantage of the new provisions.

On 29 November the European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) issued an important and  uncompromising decision in the case of King v The Sash Window Worship  Ltd  which will have significant consequences for business operating in the “Gig Economy” and potentially wider implications for employers generally in relation to payment for annual leave.

Allegations made against Harvey Weinstein and the subsequent #metoo campaign have highlighted the continued prevalence of the problem of sexual harassment in workforces throughout the world. Whilst not the first person to coin the phrase ‘me too’, actor Alyssa Milano said: “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.” Within days women – and some men – were posting the hashtag #metoo over social media to open up about the harassment they had faced and who finally felt empowered enough to speak out.

Chambers UK 2018

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