Employee prosecuted for taking personal data

by Laurie Anstis on September 11, 2014

It is common in cases involving competition from a former employee for a business or organisation to suspect that the former employee has taken confidential information (such as customer lists, price lists or product data) with them when they left the business.

If this is suspected, the business or organisation will usually have to rely on confidentiality clauses in the former employee’s contract of employment in order to recover or prevent use of this information.

A case reported today is the first instance I know of where such a case has lead to a prosecution by the Information Commissioner’s Office under data protection law for unlawfully accessing or processing personal data. According to the ICO press release: Read the rest of this entry »

ACAS’s first quarterly update on early conciliation

by Laurie Anstis on September 3, 2014

ACAS has today published its first quarterly update on early conciliation.

The update shows that in the period 6 April to 30 June 2014 ACAS received around 17,000 notifications under the early conciliation scheme. Of these, about 500 were from employers. The figures include the period from 6 April to 5 May when early conciliation was voluntary. Looking only at May and June, notifications were running at between 6,500 – 7,000 a month. Read the rest of this entry »

Consultation on anti-avoidance provisions for zero hours contracts

by Laurie Anstis on August 26, 2014

The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill contains provisions prohibiting exclusivity clauses in zero-hours contracts.

At the time the Bill was announced, the government said there would be regulations setting out detailed anti-avoidance provisions so that employers could not get around the ban by drafting complex new contracts.

The consultation on those anti-avoidance provisions has now been published, and is open for responses until 3 November 2014.

Office of Tax Simplification proposes removal of the £30,000 tax-free exemption for termination payments

by Laurie Anstis on July 31, 2014

The Office of Tax Simplification has this week published its report on taxation of employee benefits and expenses.

Section 2 of the report deals with termination payments, and the status of the £30,000 tax-free exemption for termination payments.

They consider the current rules on this exemption to be confusing and uncertain, and propose its complete abolition, to be replaced by a tax relief based on a multiple of the statutory redundancy payment, to apply only in cases of redundancy. Read the rest of this entry »

Hounga v Allen – the effect of illegality on discrimination claims

by Laurie Anstis on July 30, 2014

There have long been arguments about what rights an individual has if employed under a contract of employment which is itself illegal. As a general principle, the courts will not enforce illegal contracts – but what about discrimination claims? They derive from the (illegal) contract of employment, but are a separate statutory tort in their own right. The Supreme Court has today set out its view of the law. Read the rest of this entry »