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Latest Brief - Week Ending 17th May 2013
However, that was strongly mitigated by joy in another part of the office due to Villa's survival in the Premier League!
All hopes of Leicester's sporting success now hang with the Tigers next weekend. C'mon the Tigers!!!
Religion is certainly a "buzz" word in the world of employment law currently. There have been a number of high profile cases highlighting some of the difficulties in this area.
In a recent case a Christian telesales worker told an employment tribunal that being required to lie to potential customers to make sales was against his religious beliefs and he was therefore protected by the Equality Act 2010. The employment tribunal rejected his claim, because he had insufficient evidence to support the allegations that he was told to lie. Had he been able to do so, then the result may well have been very different. An interesting decision, perhaps the employment judge had not experienced the barrage of junk calls and overly pushy telesales personnel that most of us seem to experience!!!
In another case (Methodist Conference v Preston) the Supreme Court had to consider whether a Methodist minister was an employee for the purposes of unfair dismissal protection. It decided that the minister concerned did not have that right because the spiritual character of the arrangement meant that there was no intention to create legal relations, and so no contract of employment existed.
"Zero" Hour Contracts
There has also been a lot of press coverage about "zero" hour contracts recently, particularly since the criticisms made by Labour MP Andy Burnham on the Andrew Marr Show. Statistics seem to vary, but there appears to be a general consensus that the use of these contracts has increased by around 20% in the last year.
Given the current economic climate and the introduction of the Agency Workers Regulations 2010, it is not too surprising that employers are moving to these types of contracts to provide the flexibility they require. Agency workers are not always the most flexible and cost effective solution they once were. Of course, there needs to be a balance with the rights of the employee, but quite often "zero" contracts are convenient for both parties. There are many pitfalls in preparing "zero" hour contracts so, please feel free to contact us for advice and assistance.
SOSR & the ACAS Code
In Lund v St Edmunds School the EAT decided that although the dismissal of an employee was ultimately for some other substantial reason (a breakdown in relationships with colleagues and loss of confidence in the employee), the fact that the school had contemplated dismissing the employee for misconduct meant that the ACAS Code applied, and awarded an uplift in compensation to reflect a breach of the Code.
However, whilst trying to clarify the position it seems to have created a two tier procedure when dealing with SOSR dismissals. The EAT suggests that there is a category of SOSR cases which the Code may not apply (i.e SOSR situations where dismissal for conduct was not contemplated at the outset) and a category of SOSR cases where the Code will apply (i.e dismissals where disciplinary proceedings were, or ought to have been, invoked).
The difficulty will be in identifying which category applies in each case. That will not always be easy, so it may be necessary to consider applying the Code in all cases which are unclear as a precaution.
Latest Brief - Week Ending 10th May 2013
The Queen's speech
Amongst the pomp and circumstance, the Queen this week announced the government's intended change to legislation, to keep the law makers busy in the next session of Parliament.
Some of the changes affecting employment law will continue the government's drive to remove unnecessary "red tape" for employers. New legislation will be introduced to include: