Blake Morgan's Employment Newsletter
A warm welcome to Blake Morgan's Winter newsletter, keeping you informed of the latest developments in Employment Law.
2017 is certainly going to be a year of change, with the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy, the new Gender Pay Reporting Regulations (in this issue we consider the recently-published guidance), the Trade Union Act 2016 and changes to public sector exit payments amongst other matters. Discussions about changes to Employment law continue in Parliament with the recent reports into discriminatory workplace dress codes and pregnancy and maternity discrimination. This week the Government has also decided to make small changes to the level of financial help available for Employment Tribunal fees but rejected calls to reduce or abolish ET fees following the dramatic reduction in claims since 2013. It stated that "there is no conclusive evidence that ET fees have prevented people from bringing claims". We will see whether the Supreme Court agrees with that assessment when it hears UNISON's challenge to ET fees at the end of March. As well as the latest on these developments, this issue covers a number of recent cases which we hope you find informative.
The new Head of our Immigration practice Lisa Parsons is off to a flying start with a busy workload in our London office, and continues to see queries both from employers and individuals on a wide range of Immigration matters. Please do not hesitate to contact Lisa for any Immigration law enquiries you may have.
We enjoyed seeing many of you at our Employment Club Seminars in December and the dates for our March Employment Clubs are set out below – we do hope you can join us.
Finally, following our success in the Legal 500 legal directory, we were delighted to learn that as well as maintaining our regional rankings, Chambers UK: A client's guide to the legal profession has rated our Employment law practice as a "Top Tier National Leader outside London". We look forward to building on this achievement and continuing to serve all our clients in the year ahead.
Gender Pay Reporting – draft guidance published
ACAS and the Government Equalities Office have together published draft guidance on the Gender Pay Reporting regulations applying to employers with 250 or more employees.
EAT gives guidance on when workplace stress may be a disability
The EAT upholds an ET decision that stress suffered by an employee was a reaction to adverse circumstances at work and did not satisfy the definition of disability under the Equality Act 2010.
Parliamentary Report into workplace dress codes
We look at the recent Parliamentary report arising out of a receptionist being forced to wear high heels – what are employers' obligations and does the law need changing?
Reliance on previously expired warnings when dismissing
Can an employer dismiss for misconduct when there have been several previous incidents but all warnings have expired? We consider a recent case on the relevance of expired warnings.
Is there sufficient protection against pregnancy and maternity discrimination?
Generally yes, is the Government's view and it considers that that the legal framework in place to protect pregnant women and new mothers from discrimination is strong. It accepts however that existing protections in relation to redundancy ought to be reviewed.
Guidance published on "important public services"
The Government has now published guidance on how trade unions can determine whether the 40% minimum voting threshold applies to the “important public services” of health, education, fire, transport and border security under the Trade Union Act 2016.
We look at two recent redundancy cases: the first where an employer tried to make use of a mobility clause, and the second an example of how not to carry out a redundancy process.
Employment Club Seminars
Our Spring Employment Club seminars take place between 9 and 23 March 2017, and we look forward to seeing many of our clients there. Please look out for your invitation with full details of the topics next week.
Charity Trustee Training 2017
This half day training course in our Southampton Office on 16 March provides a comprehensive induction for new trustees and a useful refresher for existing trustees, ensuring they are fully aware of their legal and ethical responsibilities as trustees.
CIPD Southampton Group Legal Update
John Mitchell, partner in Blake Morgan's Regulatory practice group, will be presenting the CIPD update at our Southampton Office on 28 February on the serious consequences for organisations and individuals who fail to comply with Health and Safety legislation, as well as the actual and reputational costs of getting it wrong. To book via the CIPD website click here:
Managing Workplace Conflict Effectively
We are running our hugely popular workshop "Managing Workplace Conflict Effectively" on Thursday 16 March 2017 in our Cardiff office.