Search terms: Employment & Labour, United Kingdom
The courts have made many calls for the government to introduce legislation to protect agency workers. However, recent employment tribunal decisions have not followed the solution prescribed by the Court of Appeal in Dacas v Brook Street Bureau (UK) Ltd. This leaves the law more uncertain than ever, and the government's new consultation paper on agency workers fails to address the problem.
The Employment Equality (Age) Regulations will soon make direct and indirect age discrimination unlawful in relation to employment and vocational training. It will have a significant effect in a country where assumptions about age are deeply ingrained in working practices.
The Court of Appeal has decided that an employer which dismisses an employee on the grounds of his or her personality may do so fairly if this constitutes a substantial reason which justifies dismissal. Although an employee has the right to contest such a action during a disciplinary hearing, unreasonable behaviour in such a hearing may be taken into account.
The Disability Discrimination Act prohibits less favourable treatment of disabled employees unless employers could not be expected to know about their disability. A recent case established that an employer may be deemed to know about an employee's disability even if the employee has never explicitly mentioned it, emphasizing the need for large organizations to coordinate health information about their staff.
A number of changes to employment legislation took effect in October 2005. Revised definitions of 'harassment' and 'indirect sex discrimination' bring the Sex Discrimination Act into line with other discrimination legislation, while other modifications increase the national minimum wage and alter employers' duties in relation to strike ballots, industrial action notices and unfair practices.
When an employer refuses to accommodate an employee's request for flexible working arrangements, how should an employment tribunal decide whether the decision is appropriate and proportionate? Should employment tribunals formulate their own view of whether a provision, criterion or practice is objectively justified, or judge whether the employer's decision falls within a band of reasonable responses?