April 2015 Employment Law Update


If you would like to discuss any employment issues please contact Julie Taylor on 01635 508181

5&6 April 2015 Changes recap:

GUIDANCE: Adoption Leave and Pay

A technical guide has been published by BIS regarding the changes to statutory adoption leave and pay that came into effect on 5 April 2015. As highlighted above, the changes include removing the continuous service requirement for statutory adoption leave (although this requirement remains for statutory adoption pay) and the first six weeks of statutory adoption pay being paid at the earnings-related rate. In addition, dual approved adopters who are “fostering for adoption” and the intended parents in surrogacy arrangements (with a parental order) now qualify for adoption leave and pay. You can access the guidance here.

UNISON UPDATE: Permission to appeal granted

Previously we brought you news of the challenge launched by Unison regarding the legality of employment tribunal fees (see details here).

Unison has now confirmed that they have been granted permission to appeal against the High Court decision to dismiss their application for judicial review of employment tribunal fees. The hearing is expected to take place in June 2015.

WARNING: £19,500 injury to feelings award

The Employment Tribunal has awarded £19,500 compensation to a worker for injury to feelings as a result of gender harassment.

The employee claimant argued she had been subjected to harassment for a period of 8 months by her manager while she was employed on a zero hours contract. The harassment included touching the claimant and making inappropriate comments about her personal life. Although the employer investigated the allegation, including interviewing witnesses, and found some behaviour was inappropriate, no further action was taken. A second investigation was carried out by a new HR manager who failed to read the previous papers, concluded there was no conclusive evidence that the incidents had occurred.

The Employment Tribunal found that the claimant had been subjected to harassment by the claimant’s manager, and the company was vicariously liable for this. As a result, the award of £19,500 for injury to feelings was against both the manager and the company.
This case is a reminder to employers to investigate any such allegations thoroughly. Even if the correct policies are in place, unless employers implement them sufficiently, they will not be able to defend a claim.

It should also be noted that when the Employment Tribunal makes an award for injury to feelings, it takes into account a number of factors. In this case, the claimant was particularly vulnerable because of her age (22 years old), fragile mental health and because of her status as a zero hours worker. Additionally, the employer’s investigation was not an adequate way of dealing with the claim and therefore the claimant was awarded a higher amount as a result.

Please note that these comments are intended to summarise some of the employment issues of the moment, not to provide detailed legal advice, so if you need assistance with any employment issues you may have please contact Julie Taylor on: 01635 508181 or  [email protected]

Follow Julie on Twitter: @JulieT_GL

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