The Practical Lawyer


Employee capability policy – suggested content

According to ACAS, poor performance is raised as an issue in 90% of disciplinary hearings. Employers often delay taking steps to address underperformance and then lose confidence in the employee and wish to dismiss them promptly.
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Drug tests – procedure inadequate

The article above mentions an ET case which it describes as ‘a splendid example of what not to do’! The claimant had worked as a bus driver from 1996 until his dismissal in 2017. He was randomly drug tested using a saliva test that tested positive for cocaine. He contended that the decision to dismiss him for failing a drug test was procedurally and substantively unfair. He contended that the employer failed to adopt a fair procedure and he made specific complaints as follows:
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Drugs and alcohol – managing in the workplace

An interesting article reminds employers to review their drugs and alcohol policies and breaches of them in the light of recent developments. Businesses are increasingly expected to support employees who have a drug or alcohol problem, rather than take immediate disciplinary action.
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Employee – status

 A continuing theme in ET cases is that of employment status. An article considers three recent cases which do not break new legal ground but do show a continuing direction of travel. The authors make the point that the sheer variety of claimants and the changing nature of modern working relationships mean that it is difficult put an individual into one of the three categories of either employee, worker or independent contractor with any certainty.
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Informal partnership – solicitors beware

Law firms have traditionally been set up using the partnership model. A recent ET case highlights the risks to firms of failing to conclude arrangements and properly identify the status of those working within the firm. The ET heard a case in which a solicitor had been an employee for six years with a firm during which time the business was taken over. The solicitor approached her senior partner regarding a promotion. An exchange of emails referred to an ‘informal’ partnership structure as a result of which the solicitor drafted a fresh partnership agreement but this was never signed by the parties. The solicitor completed a tax return on the basis of self-employment and was held out as a partner and had management involvement. She was not involved in matters relating to the partnership’s accountants.
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Internal investigation - copy to police?

If there are allegations of misconduct, what happens if an employer hands over its own internal investigation notes to the police? Will that be a breach of the implied duty of trust and confidence?

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Philosophical belief - scope extended?

The Equality Act 2010 provides protection against discrimination based on nine characteristics, one of which is any religious or philosophical belief. Not all religions or beliefs are covered by the Act. Whether a particular religion or belief attracts protection will generally be determined by the courts.

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Employment law changes - April 2020

A number of important changes in relation to employment law are due to come into force on 6 April 2020 as part of the government's 'Good Work Plan'.

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Agency workers - changes to rights

In addition to the changes mentioned above, we have reported in recent editions on changes to employment rights and practices including:

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Most-read articles

Intestacy – statutory legacy
Wednesday, 12 February 2020
The statutory legacy under the intestacy rules has increased to £270,000 with effect from 6 February 2020. It’s the first increase since October 2014. Read more...
Unsolicited publicity – SRA guidance
Wednesday, 12 February 2020
Some practitioners were somewhat aghast to read para 8.9 in the new Code of Conduct for solicitors as follows: Read more...
Part 36 offer – includes interest
Wednesday, 12 February 2020
Part 36 is a provision of the CPR which is intended to encourage parties to settle disputes without going to trial. A Part 36 offer made by either the claimant or defendant is a tactical step... Read more...
Slipping claims – burden of proof
Wednesday, 12 February 2020
In general, the law on slipping cases is reasonably settled and straightforward. An interesting article considers a question which often arises in practice, namely whether the defendant bears an... Read more...
MEES – domestic rentals reminder
Wednesday, 12 February 2020
We last reported on the MEES Regulations in our May 2019 edition (p24). The Domestic Minimum Energy Efficiency Standard (MEES) Regulations set a minimum energy efficiency level for domestic private... Read more...
Lease to family – not a relevant disposal
Wednesday, 12 February 2020
Under s1(1) LTA 1987 L shall not make a ‘relevant disposal affecting any premises to which at the time of the disposal this Part applies’ unless it has previously served notice in accordance with... Read more...
Oral trust for third party – not binding
Wednesday, 12 February 2020
A recent CC decision is an important reminder to property practitioners to advise clients to ensure that any declaration of trust is in writing. Section 53(1)(b) LPA 1925 states that: Read more...
Civil partnerships – opposite sex
Wednesday, 12 February 2020
The Civil Partnership (Opposite-sex Couples) Regulations came into force on 2 December 2019 enabling mixed-sex couples to enter into a civil partnership, as an alternative to marriage or cohabitation. Read more...
Ethical veganism – a philosophical belief
Wednesday, 12 February 2020
A vegan is someone who does not eat or use animal products. 'Ethical' veganism is more than just not eating or using animal products – it goes beyond this in that ethical vegans try to exclude all... Read more...
Stalking – orders
Wednesday, 12 February 2020
The perpetrators of stalking can now be banned from approaching and/or contacting their victims under police powers that came into force on 20 January 2020. Under the Stalking Protection Act 2019,... Read more...


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