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Louise Taft
 

How does the Pimlico Plumbers judgment affect businesses engaging self-employed contractors?

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There was widespread coverage last week of the decision of the Supreme Court upholding an Employment Tribunal’s judgment that a Pimlico Plumber was a “worker” entitled to bring claims against the company for discrimination, holiday pay and...

What employers need to know about GDPR

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In some circles, it has been difficult to escape mention of the GDPR, coming into force in May 2018. Whilst much of the focus has been on the personal data held on consumers, employers will need to carefully consider how they hold and process personal data...

Obligations to Employees in Redundancy situations

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Many employers will be aware of the ability to make an employee redundant if there is no longer a need for their job. Redundancy is a (potentially) fair reason to terminate employment but can leave organisations open to claims of unfair dismissal if badly...

Monitoring employees and their telephone calls, emails and other messages

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A recent decision of the European Court of Human Rights has dealt with to what extent employers can legitimately monitor what their employees are doing and saying whilst at work. The case in question dealt with Yahoo Messenger, but its principles apply to...

What can I do if I am experiencing sexual harassment at work?

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Despite some sources suggesting that attitudes about what constitutes harassment are changing, workplace sexual harassment has in fact been unlawful for many years. But as the #MeToo campaign showed, many women have experienced harassment at work without...

How can employers protect themselves from sexual harassment claims?

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Recent publicity has brought the thorny issue of workplace sexual harassment to the fore. Business owners and HR departments might be concerned that media attention and the #MeToo campaign will lead to more sexual harassment complaints. Is there anything...

How can I deal with my problem employee without ending up in an Employment Tribunal?

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Sometimes an employee might not be actively doing anything wrong, and might be perfectly capable of doing the job, but nevertheless there is something about them causing disruption to the workplace or business. Can anything be done without falling foul of...

What is a Settlement Agreement and why do I need to see a Solicitor?

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The purpose of a Settlement Agreement is to record the terms of settlement between employee and employer in respect of any claims arising out of employment. The various pieces of legislation giving employment rights make any such agreement invalid except...

Supreme Court rules that Employment Tribunal fees are unlawful - practical implications for Tribunal Claimants and employers

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In a lengthy judgment extolling the merits of access to justice, the rule of law and the wider public benefit of being able to enforce Employment law, the Supreme Court has confirmed that the Order implementing fees in the Employment Tribunal was unlawful....

What does the General Election result mean for Employment law?

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As the dust settles on possibly the most surprising General Election result in living memory, we look at what this might mean for Employment law. Of course we don’t yet know the outcome of any deal the Conservatives might make with the DUP, but it...

Pregnancy Discrimination and Time Limits. Don't delay before bringing a claim

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Employment Tribunal claims have some of the shortest “limitation periods” of any civil action in the UK. This means that there is a very short time limit to bring a claim before the Tribunal. Delaying beyond that time limit means that a Claimant...

Sleeping on the job: on call, sleep-in shifts and the minimum wage

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Since the National Minimum Wage was enacted almost 20 years ago, there has been a great deal of litigation over whether workers who are able to sleep during shifts described as “on-call” or “sleep-in” shifts should be paid at...

Why employers should have a Social Media Policy and what it should contain - Part 2

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Employees’ use of Social Media can cause problems outside as well as inside the workplace. Much as with any conduct outside of working hours, it is possible for employers to seek to reasonably regulate Social Media use to the extent necessary to be...

Why employers should have a Social Media Policy and what it should contain - Part 1

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Employers cannot and should not ignore Social Media, which has been around long enough to pervade almost all aspects of society. Whilst the use of Social Media is still more popular in younger demographics, staff of all ages are likely to have some Social...

Can employers ban headscarves?

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It has been difficult to escape press coverage of the decision of the EU Court of Justice that sacking a Belgian employee for refusing to remove her headscarf was not unlawful discrimination. G4S had a general policy that customer facing staff should not...

Why does my business need to worry about whistleblowing?

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Whilst headlines about whistleblowing tend to focus on NHS workers exposing dangerous practices or steps taken to encourage those working in financial services to do more to highlight illegality, legislation protecting whistleblowers is wide enough to affect...

Pimlico Plumbers and Employment status: lessons for businesses of all sizes

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The Court of Appeal judgment on employment status in Pimlico Plumbers v Smith has received a great deal of publicity. Like other recent decisions regarding Uber drivers and CitySprint couriers, a company that created a business model based on using...

Perils and pitfalls in freelance contracts

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So you got the freelance gig and now they’ve given you a contract you don’t understand. What do you do? It’s well worth getting some specific advice on your contract before you sign. Almost anything is usually negotiable. Many small...

Performance Management. How and why to tackle underperforming employees

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In a perfect world, all of your employees are performing well and you might never need to think about performance management. But from time to time, performance of individual employees dips, which can have damaging consequences for the business. Problems can...

Breaks mean breaks: employers required to ensure workers take a 20 minute rest

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The Employment Appeal Tribunal have recently confirmed that it is a breach of the Working Time Regulations if a worker is not able to take a 20 minute break, even if that worker never requests a break. The case is a useful reminder that there are many...

Uber: Contracts, control and employment status

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After a huge amount of publicity surrounding the decision of the Central London Employment Tribunal in the case brought against Uber, one might be forgiven for thinking it was a seminal case fundamentally changing the law as it applies to employment...

Normal pay when you go away on holiday

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Employment lawyers have been eagerly awaiting the decision of the Court of Appeal in the long running saga of Lock v British Gas, which is a decision about how to calculate holiday pay when an employee works fixed hours but receives variable pay due to...

Help! My employee has raised a grievance, what do I do?

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Employees may raise concerns, problems or complaints from time to time. They may or may not term these complaints a “grievance”. Whether or not they do, having and following a Grievance Procedure will invariably help deal with the issue. It is...

Disciplinary Procedures: How to handle staff misconduct

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Tackling staff misconduct is difficult. Managers might be reluctant to have difficult conversations with employees who have overstepped the mark. However, failing to deal with situations head on can have consequences. Employees who are not warned about bad...

Dealing with absent employees

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Long term or frequent absence can cause significant problems for businesses. Tackling absence head on is therefore important, but it is essential to tread carefully and follow a proper process in order to avoid leaving the organisation open to Tribunal...

What is TUPE and why do I need to worry about it?

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TUPE stands for the opaquely named Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations. Whilst the original Regulations were a virtual literal translation of EU law, in 2006 the Regulations were expanded to better fit outsourcing situations that...

Why start ups need good staff contracts

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Nobody likes paperwork, least of all people attracted to start up culture. You’re meant to work in a lean, agile, fast paced environment dictated by your daily scrum, not one hamstrung by job descriptions and staff handbooks. Nevertheless, well...

Appeal guidance on protected conversations: what can be said to a departing employee and what is admissible before the Tribunal?

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Almost 3 years following the enactment of legislation permitting “Protected Conversations”, we have what is thought to be the first decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal on the subject. Indeed, it has been so long without commentary on the...

Brexit: What are the implications for Employment law?

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Unsurprisingly, given the impact of EU legislation on UK Employment law, workers’ rights formed a key part of both Leave and Remain campaigns: the former suggesting that UK business should be freed from the shackles of ‘red tape’ and left...