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Employment

Restrictive covenant – ‘competing business’

It is very common to have a restrictive covenant preventing an employee from being ‘concerned or interested in’ any competing business for a period of six months from termination.  

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Employee monitoring – ECTHR

Considerable publicity was given to the ECTHR decision in which it was held that a Romanian employee’s Article 8 rights (ie the right to a private life) had been breached by employer monitoring of e-mails.  

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Whistleblower – public interest?

The whistleblowing legislation was amended in 2013 so the disclosure must now be ‘in the public interest’. This change was designed to reverse an EAT decision which had allowed a personal contractual dispute to come within the scope of the legislation. But, since that change in the law there has been much debate about how to interpret the ‘public interest’ requirement.

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TUPE – pre-packs

The ECJ has confirmed that TUPE will usually apply to a pre-pack insolvency arrangement. 

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Garden leave – TUPE ploy

A senior employee who has resigned, or been dismissed, may be faced with garden leave provisions. This is a clause in the employment contract which allows the employer to insist that the employee remains at home, and so does not take any part in the business.

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Discrimination – 10% uplift

In Simmons [2012] the CA applied a 10% uplift to existing personal injury awards.

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Holiday pay – voluntary overtime

The EAT has held that ‘entirely voluntary overtime’ should be treated as part of the normal remuneration when calculating holiday pay (on the basis that holiday pay should ‘correspond to the normal remuneration received by worker’).

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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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