Monthly Archives

December 2016

Christmas Employment Law Workshop

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Thank you to all the companies who attended our Christmas Employment Law workshop today, we look forward to seeing you all again in 2017!

“Emma, Debra and Jo were all very helpful” – HR Assistant- Corporate Finance Company, Manchester

“As an existing client, the workshops and all services Elcons provide me and the board have been excellent”- Manager working in voluntary sector, Bradford

“Really well presented and take the time to explain things in a way that we all understand- no Jargon!”- HR Manager, Social Care, West Yorkshire

“Hit the spot, content and subject wise- Experts!!”- Colin Gore, Group Director, Fairhome Group PLC

“Brilliant- Emma the constant professional- Really informative- knowledge is amazing ” Owner, SME, West Yorkshire

Tribunal win for beauty therapist unable to arrange weekend childcare.

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The therapist was awarded £18,399 in unfair dismissal case following changes to her flexible working arrangements.  Emma had almost 10 years’ service and had in place a flexible working arrangement not work on weekends due to childcare needs.  However, in early 2016 the company insisted that she start working weekends.  She raised a grievance which the tribunal did not believe was investigated properly, and she was subsequently made redundant.  The tribunal found that she was unfairly dismissed and suffered sex discrimination.

Time off to attend children’s nativity plays

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At this time of year children all over the country are donning their costumes and learning their lines.  But what preparations do the parents need to make?  With regards to time off work, employers are encouraged to be flexible where possible.  Where parents have not had a chance to book annual leave, some flexibility may be required to allow them to attend their child’s big event.  This could be to let them go home a couple of hours early, and allow them to make the time up later, or take it as unpaid leave

Vicarious Liability: Assault after Christmas Party

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Bellman v Northampton Recruitment

Following the company Christmas party a number of the employees went on to a hotel to continue drinking.  At around 3am a director assaulted Bellman causing serious brain injury, and Bellman sought damages from the company rather than the director, on the basis that they were vicariously liable.  The High Court had to determine whether the company were liable for injuries caused by an employee after a work Christmas party has ended.  And they held that they were not.

They had to consider whether the director struck the blow whilst ‘acting in the course or scope of his employment’.  The Judge held that if the assault had taken place at the Christmas party itself, the company could be liable, but as it took place many hours after the party the company were not vicariously liable.

It’s good to know that the law follows common sense sometimes, by not extending liability to events that took place is social situations outside of organised work events, but this also acts as a reminder to employers that they could be held responsible for improper conduct or behaviour at work events, particularly ones that involve alcohol.  It is recommended that employer’s actively take steps to mitigate the risk of violence in the workplace, which extends to work events, by reviewing their policies on the issue, ensuring that these policies are brought to the attention of all employees and, where there is violence, taking disciplinary action.


Female workers receive grooming “list” at Dorchester Hotel

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Senior staff at the Dorchester Hotel have been criticised for sending a list of grooming standards to female applicants requiring them to meet certain standards while working at the hotel. The list prohibits female employees from arriving to work with oily skin, bitten nails or body odour, and suggests that female employees undergo regular manicures and wear full make-up. Sam Smether, Chief Executive of the Fawcett Society, has deemed the list “completely unacceptable” and has urged companies to “concentrate on what enables people to do a good job and what drives productivity.”

Hermes drivers ordered to work “mandatory” Sundays due to Black Friday blitz

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The courier company Hermes has notified some of its drivers that it is “mandatory” to work on the two Sundays after Black Friday due to the increased demand over the sales weekend. However, Hermes insists that its couriers “are not obligated to work on either of those Sundays” and that the instruction was a “rogue message”. This story follows concerns raised by Labour MP Frank Field about the potential road safety risks associated with couriers working seven-day weeks over the Christmas season. This is another example of criticism levelled at a business operating in the gig economy regarding working conditions.

April 2017 proposed increases to statutory maternity, paternity, adoption and sick pay announced

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The government has announced the following proposed increases to statutory benefit payments:

·         The weekly rate of statutory sick pay (SSP) will be £89.35 (up from £88.45).

·         The weekly rate of statutory maternity pay (SMP) and (maternity allowance) will be £140.98 (up from £139.58).

·         The weekly rate of statutory paternity pay (SPP) will be £140.98 (up from £139.58).

·         The weekly rate of statutory shared parental pay (ShPP) will be £140.98 (up from £139.58).

·         The weekly rate of statutory adoption pay (SAP) will be £140.98 (up from £139.58).

The increase normally occurs on the first Sunday in April, which would be 2 April 2017, although in the statement it is suggested that the increases will take effect from 10 April 2017.