A long serving employee with a clean disciplinary record was dismissed as a result of comments made on Facebook, Personnel Today reports. Mrs Plant had her place of work and job title on her profile, and concerns had been raised by colleagues over comments she made, including describing her role as “general dogsbody” which the ET considered was “derogatory and insulting if not to the respondents certainly to her colleagues occupying the same position”. She also referred to her work as “that bloody place” and that she would “need to hurry up and sue them”. The employer had a clear policy in place, and in a disciplinary hearing and subsequent appeal, no adequate explanation for the comments was given. In Plant v API Microelectronics Ltd, the ET found that the dismissal, although it “may be seen as harsh” was still fair, as the comment was a clear breach of policy and dismissal fell within the range of reasonable responses.
The Court of Appeal has decided that, in a whistleblowing dismissal case, it is irrelevant that the employer genuinely believed that the employee’s disclosure was not protected. A disclosure will be protected if it meets the statutory conditions in Part IVA of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA 1996), and this is an objective test. If the employer dismisses the employee for making a disclosure that a tribunal later finds was protected, the dismissal will be automatically unfair under section 103A of the ERA 1996
Major companies including Barclays, Co-op and Boots are set to introduce a “silver quota” to increase the number of over 50s that they employ by 12% in the next five years.
The winter bugs have gone but as the sun creeps out, many are tempted to call in sick or to “extend” their weekends unofficially. With another Bank Holiday coming up can proactive thinking help your business? Return to work interviews are all good and well at discouraging future absence but pro-active absence management could take the form of a memo to staff ahead of the Bank Holidays if you have already spotted trends. To enquire as to how we may help if this is an issue for you, please contact your Advisor.
Adhoc working arrangements can be dealt with on zero hours and casual hours’ contracts but if there is a pattern to the work and expectation that staff will turn up on set days then you should speak to your advisor about which contract type is most appropriate.
The Government’s business champion for older workers, Andy Briggs recommends that employers should commit to employing 12% more employees over the age of 50 by 2022. Furthermore, he has suggested a “Commit and Publish” pledge of age data – could this be the next development after Gender Pay Reporting?
The Pensions Regulator’s latest employer auto-enrolment awareness and understanding report reveals significant gaps in knowledge among small and micro employers approaching their staging dates. Pensions Regulator: Start-ups alerted to instant pension duties (10 May 2017).
The EAT has confirmed that a three-month gap between underpayments of wages breaks a “series of deductions”, limiting the scope to make retrospective claims for underpaid holiday pay under the unlawful deduction from wages jurisdiction. In doing so, the EAT has affirmed the 2014 decision of Mr Justice Langstaff in Bear Scotland Ltd v Fulton and another  IRLR 15.