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Insights

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.

Although most recent news cycles have been dominated by the Brexit negotiations, it has also been an interesting month for anyone following developments in relation to the gig economy. Uber has lost its Employment Appeals Tribunal appeal in relation to worker status of its drivers, whereas in the Central Arbitration Committee, Deliveroo was successful in establishing that their riders were not workers. Most recently, a joint report has been published by the Work and Pensions Committee and the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee of the House of Commons, incorporating a draft Bill to deal with issues raised in the Taylor Review earlier this year.

Currently, most private residential tenancies in Scotland are either short-assured or assured tenancies. These will continue as such until they reach their end or are terminated by one party or the other.

On 2 November the Scottish Government published its Consultation document “The Role Of Income Tax In Scotland’s Budget”.  Of particular interest to Scottish taxpayers are four alternative options for the taxation of income devolved to Scotland (being non-savings and non-dividend income), one of which will likely be adopted in future.

Maternity Action, a charity working to end inequality and improving the health and well-being of pregnant women, has recently produced a report on the increased risk of redundancy during pregnancy, maternity leave and returning to work. Maternity Action highlights statistics from a report by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) which Eric Gilligan discussed in his article back in May 2016.

It is well known that workers who make “protected disclosures” (i.e. “blow the whistle”) must not suffer any detrimental treatment from their employer because they have made such disclosure. If they are dismissed for doing so, this will be an automatically unfair dismissal. This is a technically complex area of law, and there are many pitfalls which employers can fall into in relation to how they respond to whistleblowing. The recent Court of Appeal decision of Royal Mail Ltd v Jhuti [2017] EWCA Civ 1632 is therefore a welcome one for employers, as it affirms the principle that the dismissal of an employee who has made a protected disclosure may  be fair if the dismissing manager is shown to be unaware of any protected disclosures.  The motivations of other employees who may seek to subject an employee to disadvantage because of their whistle-blowing  are not to be attributed to the Employer  provided that  any disciplinary or capability process is conducted in a fair way independently of colleagues with such unlawful intentions.

Family practitioners have been eagerly awaiting the Supreme Court decision in the case of McDonald v McDonald as to the interpretation of Regulation 4 of the Divorce etc (Pensions) (Scotland) Regulations 2000.   The Supreme Court have now released their judgment – creating a landmark decision for how pensions should be treated upon divorce.                                                                                                                                                                                                                             

To date solicitors have been restricted in the types of fee arrangement that can be offered to clients. For example, solicitors have been unable to charge a fee based on the percentage of sums awarded in a litigation.

                                                                                                                                                                                                             

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