Lewis Silkin updates

Dismissal unfair where decision maker was not given accurate information
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Benefits
  • United Kingdom
  • 25 March 2020

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has ruled that an employee's dismissal for gross misconduct was unfair because the investigating officer failed to share significant new information with the manager who conducted the disciplinary hearing and decided to dismiss the employee. The case highlights the importance of employers undertaking thorough investigations into disciplinary-related allegations before making a final decision.

Coronavirus: key issues for employers
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Benefits
  • United Kingdom
  • 18 March 2020

The coronavirus outbreak has brought to the fore numerous employment law concerns, including questions about travel, health and safety, work attendance and discrimination claim risks. This article examines what employers in the United Kingdom need to know about the outbreak.

Coronavirus: what employers need to know
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Benefits
  • Ireland
  • 18 March 2020

Numerous employment law concerns have arisen due to the current coronavirus outbreak. From staff who are advised to self-isolate to those who are concerned about the risk of coronavirus and reluctant to come into work, employers have a lot to consider. This article sets out guidance for employers on the implications that coronavirus could have for their business.

Failing to enhance pay for shared parental leave is not sex discrimination – permission to appeal refused
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Benefits
  • United Kingdom
  • 11 March 2020

The Supreme Court has refused permission to appeal in Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police v Hextall. This means that the law remains as set out in the Court of Appeal's judgment, which stated that failure to enhance pay for shared parental leave was neither indirect discrimination nor a breach of equal pay rights.

Fawcett Society promotes new Equal Pay Bill
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Benefits
  • United Kingdom
  • 04 March 2020

The Fawcett Society is backing a private member's bill which aims to tackle unequal pay between men and women by introducing a new 'right to know' what male comparators are paid. The aim is to provide women who are not being paid equally to male comparators a route to get the information that they need. The bill also proposes to change the gender pay gap reporting process.

Too little, too late? IR35 changes announced
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Benefits
  • United Kingdom
  • 26 February 2020

In a welcome but late move, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has confirmed that the imminent IR35 reform will apply only to supplies of labour provided on or after 6 April 2020. With less than two months to go before the change takes effect, many businesses will consider HMRC's announcement and its recently issued detailed guidance too little too late as they grapple with the significant administrative burden and cost implications of the reform.

Introduction of paid parental bereavement leave confirmed
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Benefits
  • United Kingdom
  • 19 February 2020

The government has finalised the legislation to implement an entitlement to two weeks' paid bereavement leave for working parents who lose a child aged under 18. The new right will come into force with effect on 6 April 2020. In readiness, all employers should review their policies and practices and amend them as necessary to reflect the new rights.

IR35 reforms from April 2020
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Benefits
  • United Kingdom
  • 12 February 2020

The proposed IR35 reform represents the biggest change to employment tax for decades. Until now, businesses have been able to engage contractors using personal services companies (or other intermediaries) without having to give much thought to the individual contractor's status for tax purposes. The proposed changes mean that businesses must review how they engage with contractors ahead of April 2020.

Significant new guidance on harassment from EHRC
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Benefits
  • United Kingdom
  • 05 February 2020

The Equality and Human Rights Commission has published substantial new guidance on sexual harassment and harassment at work, setting out detailed recommendations that employers should consider following to prevent and deal with such behaviour. The guidance puts the onus on employers to be more inquisitive about what is going on in their workplace, rather than simply having policies and dealing with complaints.

Whistleblowing dismissal unfair as decision maker manipulated by another manager
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Benefits
  • United Kingdom
  • 29 January 2020

In a decision with implications for unfair dismissal law generally, the Supreme Court ruled that it is not always necessary for a dismissing manager to know about whistleblowing disclosures made by an employee in order for that dismissal to be automatically unfair. The facts of the case were extreme, involving a manager who had deliberately created a false picture of inadequate performance which the dismissing manager had then believed, but the decision nonetheless has significant wider implications.

Vegans protected by Equality Act: what does it mean for employers?
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Benefits
  • United Kingdom
  • 22 January 2020

According to an employment tribunal in the widely reported case brought by Jordi Casamitjana, ethical veganism can be a philosophical belief that is protected under the Equality Act. But what does this mean in practice for employers?

2019 in employment law
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Benefits
  • United Kingdom
  • 15 January 2020

What were the most significant employment law developments in 2019? What can be expected in 2020 under a newly elected Conservative government with a sizeable majority? Despite Brexit continuing to dominate the political agenda in 2019, there were significant decisions in the courts and proposals for reform. Looking ahead to 2020, various Good Work Plan reforms will come into effect and the government plans to introduce a new Employment Bill, paving the way for further employment law reforms.

Tribunal finds that workers transfer under TUPE
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Benefits
  • United Kingdom
  • 08 January 2020

In a surprise decision, with potentially wide-ranging ramifications, an employment tribunal has found that workers, as well as traditional employees, transfer under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006. The decision is employment tribunal level only, so it has no binding precedent weight and may be appealed. Nonetheless, it raises some immediate practical considerations.

Something to be-leave in? Brexit as a philosophical belief
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Benefits
  • United Kingdom
  • 18 December 2019

In the face of undoubtedly strong feelings on both sides of the Brexit debate, questions are likely to arise regarding the implications of employees bringing their Brexit views into the workplace. Specifically, are there potential discrimination risks and could a strong belief regarding Brexit count as a philosophical belief for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010?

Election manifestos – what are the main parties pledging on employment issues?
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Benefits
  • United Kingdom
  • 11 December 2019

Despite the dominance of Brexit, employment issues are one of the main election battlegrounds for all of the major political parties. There is a particular focus on current hot topics, including insecure work and the gig economy, the gender (and other) pay gaps and new mechanisms for enforcing employment rights. This article covers the key employment measures that have been proposed by the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party and the Scottish National Party.

Strike injunction refused because ballot notification complied with legal requirements
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Benefits
  • United Kingdom
  • 04 December 2019

The Court of Appeal has refused an application by British Airways plc for an injunction to restrain strike action by airline pilots, thereby ruling that the trade union provided sufficient detail as to the categories of employee to be balloted under the statutory rules. The ruling provides useful clarification for unions and employers when they are respectively drafting and supervising industrial action ballot notices.

Judges are workers protected by whistleblowing law
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Benefits
  • United Kingdom
  • 27 November 2019

The Supreme Court recently ruled that judges are workers under whistleblowing legislation and are thus protected from being treated badly for making a protected disclosure. In the case at hand, the court agreed that the judge did not obviously fall within the definition of a 'worker' because she did not work under a contract, which would mean that she was not protected by whistleblowing laws. However, the court decided that this failed to protect her human rights – specifically, the right to freedom of expression.

New guidance on use of confidentiality agreements in discrimination cases
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Benefits
  • United Kingdom
  • 13 November 2019

Confidentiality clauses or non-disclosure agreements have become a topic of significant interest because of how they can be used to prevent employees from reporting allegations of sexual harassment or other similar misconduct. The government recently published its response to a consultation on the regulation of confidentiality clauses, which sets out a number of proposals for new legislation in this area.

Disability case: Supreme Court clarifies extent of employers' duty to provide reasonable accommodation
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Benefits
  • Ireland
  • 13 November 2019

A recent Supreme Court decision clarifies the legal principles to be applied to the question of which measures of reasonable accommodation an employer should consider to enable disabled employees to participate in the workforce. While the decision provides welcome guidance on the applicable principles, employers must consider that what constitutes 'reasonable accommodation' will depend on the facts, guided by the reasonableness and proportionality of any appropriate measures proposed.

Responsibility for pay information transfers under TUPE
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Benefits
  • United Kingdom
  • 06 November 2019

A recent Employment Appeal Tribunal case clearly underlines that, on a Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) transfer, new employers must ensure that all records kept by the transferor in relation to the national minimum wage are transferred when it takes over the employees (especially as such records are likely to be held electronically). The transferor's refusal or failure to provide the records should be dealt with by way of indemnities or other contractual provisions in the transfer documentation.

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