by Laurie Anstis on September 30, 2013
The 1st of October is one of the two standard dates on which employment law changes come into force.
Many changes have already happened over the summer, leaving only a handful of changes now to take place on 1 October 2013. They are:
by Laurie Anstis on September 12, 2013
The government has today published the employment tribunal statistics for the first quarter of the 2013/2014 tribunal year: April – June 2013. These also include full employment tribunal statistics from the year 2012/2013.
Employment tribunal statistics are notoriously difficult to interpret, and tend to be distorted by multiple claims, making it difficult to identify underlying trends. Nevertheless, here are the headlines:
- The number of claims received by employment tribunals was up 10% against the same period last year. Nevertheless, the table at page 7 of the report suggests that, with some ups and downs, the overall number of claims is roughly static, and at page 8 the report concludes that “the trend in single claims is broadly steady for receipts and disposals”. Read the rest of this entry »
by Laurie Anstis on August 28, 2013
99% of employment law is civil law, but there are some odd bits of employment law that actually are about criminal offences – the kind of thing you can get fined or sent to prison for.
Here’s a short list of some of the criminal offences a Human Resources manager might end up committing in the course of his or her career – some of which have surprised me. Of course, there are also a large number of criminal offences that could be committed in relation to payroll taxes and health and safety, but I have kept them off the list. Read the rest of this entry »
by Laurie Anstis on August 1, 2013
Can a reduction in discrimination compensation be made based on an employee’s own contribution to their loss?
Reductions in compensation for unfair dismissal are regularly made under section 123(6) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 on the basis that the employee has caused or contributed to their own dismissal, but can a similar rule apply in discrimination claims? If so, in what circumstances should such a reduction be made? Read the rest of this entry »
by Laurie Anstis on July 30, 2013
The right of an employee to be accompanied in disciplinary and grievance hearings arises from section 10 of the Employment Relations Act 1999 [note - the Employment Relations Act has been amended since the version on the legislation.gov.uk website] which says:
“(1) This section applies where a worker:
(a) is required or invited by his employer to attend a disciplinary or grievance hearing, and
(b) reasonably requests to be accompanied at the hearing.
(2A) Where this section applies, the employer must permit the worker to be accompanied at the hearing by one companion who:
(a) is chosen by the worker, and
(b) is [a trade union representative or another of the employer's workers]“
If the employer fails to comply with section 10(2A) then section 11 provides that the worker can make a complaint to the employment tribunal, which can then award up to two weeks pay (subject to the limit on a week’s pay in s227(1) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 – currently £450).
Allowing an employee to be accompanied at a disciplinary or grievance hearing had long been considered good practice, and the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures refers to this right before saying:
“15. To exercise the statutory right to be accompanied workers must make a reasonable request. What is reasonable will depend on all the circumstances of each individual case. However, it would not normally be reasonable for workers to insist on being accompanied by a companion whose presence would prejudice the hearing, nor would it be reasonable for a worker to ask to be accompanied by a companion from a remote geographical location if someone suitable and willing was available on site.”
Section 207 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 requires an employment tribunal to take into account any relevant ACAS Code of Practice, and section 207A permits a tribunal to increase the compensation awarded for some claims by up to 25%, where there has been an unreasonable failure by the employer to comply with a code of practice. This will most often be relevant where the employee is complaining of unfair dismissal and has been dismissed for misconduct.
So issues in relation to accompaniment at disciplinary or grievance proceedings can be the subject of a free-standing complaint under section 11 of the Employment Relations Act 1999, and may be relevant to other claims – particularly unfair dismissal claims where the employee has been dismissed for misconduct.
It is unusual for the appeal courts to have to deal with a failure to allow an employee to be accompanied at a disciplinary or grievance procedure, but the issue arose in Toal and Hughes v GB Oils Limited, decided earlier this month by the Employment Appeal Tribunal. Read the rest of this entry »