Welcome to the last edition of Employment Newsletter for 2017 in which we hope you will find something to interest both you and your business. If there is anything in particular you would like to know more about, please do let the employment team know.
We hope that 2017 has been a successful one for you and we would like to wish you all the very best of the season and a very happy New Year.
The Ministry of Justice published the tribunal quarterly statistics for the period July to September 2017 earlier this month.
The figures show that since the same period in 2016, the number of claims lodged by individual applicants have increased by 64%, which is the highest level for four years. The number of claims lodged by multiple applicants has decreased by 15% over the same period.
These figures suggest a dramatic impact following the abolition of tribunal fees on 26 July 2017.
The statistics also show that employment tribunals disposed of 10,165 claims, and increase of 23% compared with the same period in 2016.
This suggests that the volume of employment tribunal claims is likely to return to previous high levels common before the issue fees were introduced.
The High Court found that Morrisons Supermarkets were vicariously liable for the deliberate and criminal disclosure of personal data belonging to their employees by a disgruntled employee. The Supermarket as already indicated that they will appeal the decision and the question of compensation is yet to be determined, but could be substantial.
This is an important reminder of the need to ensure you have appropriate data protection policies in place and regularly ensure employees are aware of their obligations.
The issues surrounding holiday pay have become increasingly complex over the last few years and recent decisions regarding the employment status of workers in the gig economy have also added to this.
It is therefore important to be aware of a recent decision of the European Court of Justice that confirmed that where a worker has been deterred from taking holiday because it would be unpaid, there is no limit on the amount of leave that could be carried over and therefore included in a claim for unpaid holiday. This could potentially mean that workers misclassified as independent contractors could bring claims for unpaid holiday going back several years with the same employer.
If you have concerns about the status of any workers or contractors within your business, we would recommend that you seek advice regarding their status and options available to manage the potential risks.
Following investigations by the Insolvency service, 18 directors have been issued with disqualification orders banning them from being company directors or being involved in company management for a minimum of 6 years. The businesses were all restaurants or takeaways that had employees who were not eligible to work in the UK. The companies were also fined a total of £505,000.
This is an important reminder that Companies are obliged to undertake checks on staff they recruit to establish that they are entitled to work in the UK before they are able to begin working and the company must be able to prove these steps have been taken. Again, if you require any advice on these issues please contact our employment team.
If you are responsible for HR matters within your business (or interested in employment law discussion), please contact us to attend the monthly HR Exchange with Julie Taylor from GL and Michelle Bailey from People Essentials. The next Newbury meeting is on Monday 8 January 2018.