Employment Law Newsletter – Autumn 2019

21st October 2019

A warm welcome to Blake Morgan’s Autumn newsletter, keeping you informed of the latest developments in Employment Law.

It has been an eventful few months, from the unlawful suspension of Parliament to a possible deal in place leading to the UK’s departure from the EU on 31 October. However, Brexit isn’t the only topic up for discussion. As can be seen from our newsletter, there have been many significant Employment Law developments as well as high profile pensions litigation.

These remain anxious times for EU nationals working and living in the UK. Around 2 million EU nationals have now been granted settled or pre-settled status but this means that well over 1 million people are still to make an application under the EU Settlement Scheme. See our article for more details on the guidance and support available and what HR can do to support their EU nationals staff.

GDPR still attracts the headlines but a recent decision of the Greek equivalent to the Information Commissioner has slipped under the radar. In a significant decision, it was held that it was inappropriate to use consent as the legal basis for processing personal data in the context of employment relations because of the clear imbalance between the parties.

In a high profile decision, the High Court has held that increases to the state pensions age for women were not discriminatory on the grounds of age or sex and our article provides details of why the High Court reached that decision. If you are interested in keeping up to date with Pensions law developments, you may want to be added to our Pensions Mailing list to receive our updates and invitations to events, or forward this to a colleague you think would be interested. Please click to update your marketing preferences, ensuring that you select Pensions, and which method of communication we can use to contact you.

Looking ahead, our Winter Employment clubs commence in the Cardiff office on 3 December and for details of all the other dates please see here. Our invitations with full details of the topics will be circulated shortly and I do hope you can join us. Other events include our Oxford HR Forum on 21 November and the South Coast Employment team’s seminar on 26 November which will focus on the introduction of the off-payroll working/IR35 changes in the private sector and what businesses should be doing to prepare. The seminar will also include an Employment Law update. Our London office is hosting a CBI Policy Briefing on the Future of Employment on 13 November.

Finally, I am delighted to inform you about the achievements of our team and Blake Morgan in the prestigious Legal 500 Directory and Chambers and Partners guide where both the team and the firm continue to be recognised with high rankings in both directories. I am also delighted to let you know that a number of the team have been recognised as “Associates to Watch” or “Rising Stars” and five of the team’s partners have been recognised personally for their achievements and recognised as “Leading Individuals” or “Band 1” lawyers. The results reflect our success over the last 12 months and we are proud that the expertise and professionalism of our lawyers have been recognised.

I hope you will find all the articles below informative and helpful, and if you would like any further information please do not hesitate to get in touch with your usual Blake Morgan contact.

How to support your staff who are EU nationals

According to the most recent government statistics around 2 million EU nationals have been granted settled or pre-settled status. That still means that well over 1 million people are still to make an application under the EU Settlement Scheme and in our article we consider how HR teams can actively support their EU nationals staff in these uncertain times.

Read more

Fine issued for using consent as the lawful basis for processing

GDPR still attracts the headlines but an interesting decision of the Greek equivalent to the Information Commissioner may have slipped under the radar. It confirmed that using consent as the legal basis for processing personal data was inappropriate in the context of employment relations because consent cannot be regarded as freely given due to the clear imbalance between the parties.

Read more

Changes to the state pensions age for women held to be lawful

The High Court has recently held that raising women’s state pensions age was not discriminatory on the grounds of age or sex and even if it had been discriminatory, the change could be justified because the legislation to increase the state pension age for women had a legitimate foundation and purpose.

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‘Protected conversations’ – when can pre-termination settlement negotiations be revealed to an Employment Tribunal?

There has been very little case law on ‘pre-termination negotiations’, introduced in 2013. Recently, however, the EAT considered an allegation that the employer had engaged in ‘improper behaviour’ which can prevent the discussions from being ‘protected’ and therefore becoming admissible before an Employment Tribunal.

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How to manage time off for training

Training is often seen by staff as key to career progression but employers need consider a number of practical issues, such as the cost of the training or the recoupment of training fees, before making commitments to their staff about training opportunities.

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Guidance on “injury to feelings” awards

In a recent decision, the EAT has reiterated that when assessing the level of an award for injury to feelings, what needs to be considered is the impact of the discriminatory behaviour on the individual affected rather than the seriousness of the conduct of the individual discriminating.

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Staff want more from work than just money

A competitive salary is a good starting point in attracting good candidates but offering a wide range of benefits, flexible working opportunities and meaningful work will help to retain staff of all ages.

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Significant decision on restrictive covenants

In a decision beneficial for employers, the Supreme Court recently considered the important topic of the enforceability of restrictive covenants and see our article for more details about the decision and its implications.

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