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Latest employment law developments

HR Consultant’s letter could bind employer to higher pay

Posted on 15 August 2014
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The Employment Appeal Tribunal held that Sheffield City Council was bound by the rates of pay erroneously set out in a letter from an HR consultant to its employees. It was held that the letter was binding on the employer because the HR consultant was held out as being authorised to make this communication.

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Employee resigning in breach of contract held to notice period without pay

Posted on 15 August 2014
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The High Court granted an injunction against an employee trying to walk away from a long notice period and non-compete restrictions. It held that the employment relationship was still in existence even though the employee had not been paid.

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The Courts cannot re-write badly drafted contracts

Posted on 15 August 2014
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An employment contract had been poorly thought through so that on a literal interpretation of the post termination non-compete restrictions within it, no protection was given to the employer. The Court of Appeal held that words could not be added to protect the employer’s interests in a badly struck deal.

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Sanctions in disciplinary procedure could not be increased on appeal

Posted on 15 August 2014
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The Court of Appeal has held that the sanction in a contractual disciplinary procedure could not be increased on appeal from a written warning to a dismissal. It held that interpreting the procedure to allow the employer to do this would be inconsistent with the contract and had the employer wanted this right, it should have been made explicit.

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Advocate General thinks severe obesity may be a disability

Posted on 15 August 2014
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The Advocate General has given an opinion that ‘severe’ obesity could amount to a disability under the Equal Treatment Framework Directive. He thought that only people with a body mass index of 40 or over would suffer sufficient hindrance to participation in professional life to be considered disabled.

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EAT held employer's discretion over pool for selection was very wide but dismissal was unlawful because the employer did not follow its own processes

Posted on 18 July 2014
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Mr Badmos was a regional development manager for Family Mosaic Housing Association. This employer employed five regional development managers, three of which were new business managers and two were delivery managers. Mr Badmos was a delivery manager. In 2009, the Housing Association decided to reduce the number of regional development managers from five to four, eliminating one new business manager. Both sets of managers were treated as having interchangeable skills and so Mr Badmos’ role could be made redundant, despite the fact that his role as delivery manager was not being cut.

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Disclaimers at end of references work

Posted on 18 July 2014
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In this complicated case concerning the giving of references in the public sector, the High Court has made a determination of an important point of principle of general application, namely that a disclaimer at the end of a reference purporting to absolve the giver of the reference from legal liability with respect to the recipient is effective. For some years, this had been in doubt.

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Disclosure of all convictions and cautions is a breach of Article 8 rights to respect for private life

Posted on 18 July 2014
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The Supreme Court has held that that the blanket requirement to disclose all convictions and cautions for the purpose of criminal records checks without regard to their relevance was not compatible with the right to respect for private life under Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

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There is no requirement for employers to make reasonable adjustments for non-disabled employees who care for disabled people

Posted on 18 July 2014
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A decision by the Court of Appeal confirmed that an employer was not under an obligation to make reasonable adjustments for a non-disabled employee whose daughter had Down’s syndrome. The Court of Appeal held that although employers are under a duty to make reasonable adjustments for their employees who have disabilities, they are not under an obligation to make reasonable adjustments for an employee who does not have a disability but is associated with someone who does.

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Estates entitled to holiday pay for deceased workers

Posted on 18 July 2014
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The Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) has held that the estates of deceased workers are entitled to payments for any accrued but untaken statutory annual leave entitlement at the time of their death and that such payments are ‘essential to ensure the effectiveness of the entitlement to paid annual leave’.

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