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Employment

Facebook – fair dismissal

An employee with 17 years’ good service (no disciplinary issues) was fairly dismissed because of comments she made on Facebook. She described her role as ‘general dogsbody’ and she referred to her place of work as ‘that bloody place’ and said she would ‘need to hurry up and sue them’.

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Shared parental leave – discrimination

A new father wanted to take 14 weeks’ paternity leave. He would get two weeks on full pay, and then 12 weeks on statutory shared parental pay (ie at a much lower rate). However, if he was a female employee then he would have been entitled to 14 weeks’ pay and he therefore claimed that this directly discriminated against him.

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Disability – redundancy

Any disabled employee is protected from discrimination if the employee has a physical or mental condition which is long-term, and which has a ‘substantial’ effect on day-to-day activities. It will be discrimination if the employee is treated unfavourably by an employer because of something arising in consequence of the disability – unless the employer can justify that behaviour as a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.

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Gig economy – holiday pay

There has been an important opinion from the Advocate General which, if followed by the ECJ, could have important implications for gig economy employers.

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Data protection – GDPR

The General Data Protection Reg comes into force next year (25 May 2018). It is a major overhaul of the data protection rules. Key points:

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Immigration skills – charge

The immigration skills charge came into effect on 6 April 2017, and is levied on employers that employ migrants in skilled roles. It is designed to cut down on the number of businesses taking on migrant workers (with the justification being that the funds raised will be used to address the skills gap within the domestic work force).

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Misconduct dismissals – advice

The key points to consider in any misconduct dismissal:

There must be a thorough approach to disciplinary investigations and hearings. A failure to follow the designated procedure is one of the most common reasons why employers lose (even when the dismissal should be justifiable).

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Minimum wage – sleeping shifts

If a worker has to work a number of sleep-in shifts at the work premises, and be available in an emergency, does this night-shift constitute ‘working’ for the purposes of the national minimum wage? Alternatively, is the worker only ‘working’ when they are awake? Needless to say, this is an important issue in the care sector where sleep-in arrangements are common.

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Whistleblowers – malicious?

There is extensive protection for whistleblowers:

Dismissal because of whistleblowing will be automatically unfair dismissal. The normal financial cap on compensation does not apply.

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ET settlements – public record?

Judgments of ETs are now to be published online. But, note that ‘judgments’ will include the dismissal of proceedings on withdrawal, or on settlement via ACAS (using COT3).

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