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Latest employment law developments

Judgments illustrate the limits on employers’ ability unilaterally to vary terms of employment

Posted on 31 March 2015
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Whilst the general rule is that changes to the terms of a contract of employment must be agreed, it is possible to make unilateral changes if an employer has the express contractual right to do so. Two cases this month emphasise how clearly this right needs to be expressed to be effective.

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Introducing new terms of employment can be indirect age discrimination

Posted on 31 March 2015
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A worsening of benefits that were dependent upon length of service did have a worse impact on older workers, but in this case the changes were lawful because they were necessary.

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A director and shareholder with no written contract was an employee

Posted on 31 March 2015
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Where a director and investor worked part-time for a company, in the absence of an employment contract, a right to remuneration was implied.

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Employee working remotely from Australia protected against unfair dismissal in English courts

Posted on 4 March 2015
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The Employment Appeals Tribunal has held that an employee of a British company working remotely from Australia for personal reasons could bring a claim in the UK for victimisation for whistleblowing and unfair dismissal.

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Department for Work and Pensions Guidance published on new Fit for Work Service

Posted on 4 March 2015
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The Department for Work and Pensions has published guidance notes in relation to the new Fit for Work service which was launched in December 2014.

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Court of Appeal holds that the label given to a misconduct dismissal is immaterial so long as the employee knows what s/he is accused of

Posted on 23 January 2015
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The Court of Appeal has held that an employer’s use of the word ‘fraud’ as shorthand for alleged gross misconduct was an immaterial consideration as to whether the subsequent dismissal was fair. It was merely a label.

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ECJ rules that effects of obesity may amount to disability

Posted on 23 January 2015
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The European Court of Justice has ruled that, whilst obesity is not of itself a ‘disability’, the effects of obesity on a worker’s life could be deemed a ‘disability’.

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EAT finds that dismissal for making offensive, personal tweets is potentially fair

Posted on 23 January 2015
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The Employment Appeal Tribunal has held that offensive tweets made by an employee on his personal Twitter account and which did not relate to the employer could be grounds for dismissal for gross misconduct.

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Deduction for repayment of training fees should be disregarded in calculating minimum wage where employee has voluntarily resgined

Posted on 23 January 2015
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The EAT has held that in circumstances where the employee had voluntarily resigned, an employer was entitled to deduct training fees from the employee’s final salary, even though this resulted in the employee receiving net pay less than the national minimum wage.

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UNISON's second challenge to employment tribunal fees is rejected

Posted on 23 January 2015
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The High Court has rejected UNISON’s second challenge to the imposition of fees to issue claims in the employment tribunal. It found no evidence to support the claim that the fee regime has a prejudicial effect on protected groups (women in particular) or on workers generally.

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