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March 2013 Employment Law Newsletter

26-03-2013

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

1.    Parental leave rights extended

From 8 March 2013 the maximum parental leave entitlement will increase from 13 weeks to 18 weeks per child. Additionally, from that date agency workers have the right to request flexible working when they return to work following a period of parental leave. Employers should ensure that their policies are up to date.

2.   Dismissal by request: A warning for employers!

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has determined that a tribunal was wrong to dismiss an employee’s claim for unfair dismissal in circumstances where the dismissal was made at the request of a third party contractor, without considering whether the request was reasonable.

This case concerned an employee who was working for a specific client at their premises. Under the terms of the contract between the company and the client, the right was reserved for the client to require the removal from their premises of any of the Company’s employees. Therefore, when the client wrote to the company asking for the removal of this employee, the Company carried out the request and when the employee refused to be redeployed to another role 30 miles away, he was dismissed.

The Tribunal originally dismissed the unfair dismissal claim, however, when the Employment Appeal Tribunal reviewed the decision they found that the employer had not done everything they could to mitigate the injustice of the client’s request to remove the employee, including trying to resolve the matter before the problem escalated. Therefore, the unfair dismissal claim will now be remitted to a new tribunal. This case serves as a reminder of the importance of ensuring that the decision taken to dismiss is entirely reasonable and to remind employers to intervene and take steps to resolve potential problems at an early stage before they escalate.

3.    GUIDANCE: Employing older workers

The Department of Work and Pensions has published a new guide on employing older workers, including sections on recruitment, training, retirement, succession management, under performance, redundancy and pensions.  Read it here.

4.   Enhanced redundancy payments & older workers

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has held that enhanced redundancy payments for older workers could be justified.

This case confirms that employers may be able to justify a policy of higher payments for older leavers in a redundancy exercise if the reason for the policy is to provide older leavers, who experience extra problems after losing their jobs, with a proportionate financial cushion.

However, employers should still take specific legal advice about any company redundancy scheme that differs from the statutory regime, especially  if it differentiates between employees on the grounds of one of the protected characteristics under the Equality Act, such as age.

5.  GUIDANCE: Religion or belief

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published new guidance to assist employers in dealing with issues connected to religion & belief in the workplace.
The guidance includes various examples of the sort of requests employees may make and contains practical suggestions as to how employers might deal with any such requests.  The guidance can be found here.

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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