This case of Various Claimants v Barclays Bank Plc centres around a group of 126 claimants who are seeking damages from Barclays in relation to a number of alleged sexual assaults they were subjected to by Dr Gordon Bates. And it raises several important questions for employers to consider.
She was initially employed on a year-long contract due to end in March 2016. She said her employer told her the contract would be extended for a year, but after the news of her pregnancy came to light she was informed this would no longer happen. She was later dismissed, shortly after announcing her pregnancy.
In a ruling hailed as a victory for workers, the Supreme Court says the Government acted unlawfully when it introduced the fees.
Unison has won a “landmark” court victory against the Government over fees for workers taking claims to an employment tribunal.
The Supreme Court unanimously ruled the Government was acting unlawfully and unconstitutionally when it introduced the fees four years ago.
According to Unison, the ruling means the Government will have to refund more than £27m to the thousands of people charged for taking claims to tribunal.
The decision marks the end of a four-year battle by Unison to overturn the policy.
The fees were introduced in July 2013 by Chris Grayling, then the Lord Chancellor in a bid to reduce costs and free up clogged up courts.
Unison argued that the fees of up to £1,200 prevented workers from seeking justice and were discriminatory toward women and other groups of workers.
Unions hailed the decision as a victory for workers’ rights.
“It’s a major victory for employees everywhere,” said Unison General secretary Dave Prentis.
“Unison took the case on behalf of anyone who’s ever been wronged at work, or who might be in future. Unscrupulous employers no longer have the upper hand.”
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said “tribunal fees have been a bonanza for bad bosses, giving them free rein to mistreat staff.”
“Too many low-paid workers couldn’t afford to uphold their rights at work, even when they’ve faced harassment or have been sacked unfairly.”
Gillian Guy, chief executive of Citizens Advice, said “this landmark ruling should mark an end to Employment Tribunal fees standing in the way of people upholding their employment rights.”
There has been no immediate reaction from the Government.
David Isaac, chairman of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, which provided independent legal opinion during the case, called for the current policy to be scrapped.
He called the Supreme Court ruling a “damning verdict on the current regime”.
“The right to justice must be based on the merit of your case, not your ability to pay. Thousands may have been denied of this right and priced out of getting justice,” he said.
“Women face a double penalty with high fees and short time scales to bring maternity discrimination cases.”
A review of the impact of the fees conducted this year showed there had been a 70% drop in the number of cases since they were first introduced.
Even if you don’t tell your employees not to have a break, just sitting back and ignoring it could mean a claim!
Employees (over 18yrs) are entitled to 20mins break after working 6hrs.
They are also due daily and weekly breaks and failure to do so is a breach of Working Time Regulations – speak to Elcons for more information.
Advocate General Saugmandsgaard has given an opinion that the 24-hour weekly rest period provided by the Working Time Directive may be granted on any day in the seven-day reference period. In his view, Article 5 of the Working Time Directive should not be interpreted as requiring the weekly rest period to be granted on the seventh day following six consecutive working days. This is yet to be confirmed in case law.
We are delighted to announce that we have a new guest speaker at our Employment Law and Health and Safety workshop here at Elcons on Friday June 30th 2017 at 10.00am
Danny Lacey CEO and Founder of Stada Video, will be delivering a short presentation on “How to grow your business through social media”. Don’t miss out on listening to Danny who can only be described as a breath of fresh air and an inspiration to businesses.
Please reserve your place by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. See you there!
The House of Lords confirmed that the WTR 1998 do not prevent workers taking statutory holiday while they are off sick. This means that workers on long-term sick leave can take holiday, and be paid for it whether or not they have exhausted their right to statutory and/or contractual sick pay.
On 8 June 2017, the Ministry of Justice published quarterly statistics for all tribunals, including the employment tribunal (ET), for the period January to March 2017. Key findings include:
- The number of single ET claims increased by 4%. The total number of multiple claims increased by 7%, however, the number of individual multiple claim cases actually fell by 23%.
- The number of single ET claims disposed of fell by 5%, leading to a 10% increase in the caseload of single cases outstanding. The number of multiple claims disposed of fell by 19%. The average time until disposal was 29 weeks for single claims (an increase of one week) and 206 weeks for multiple claims (an increase of 20 weeks). 28% of claims disposed of were conciliated by Acas, 11% were withdrawn and 8% were successful at hearing.
- Annual figures from 1 April 2016 to 31 March 2017 show a 1% increase in single claims and an 8% increase in multiple claims compared with the previous year. The disposal of single claims decreased 4% over the year, and the disposal of multiple claims decreased by 11%.
- 63% of remission applications for issue fees were granted, down from 66%.
- 63% of ET issue fee requests were paid outright, while 29% were awarded either full or partial remission. 18% of hearing fee requests were paid outright and 15% were awarded full or partial remission.
- The total caseload outstanding is 272,032, with 96% of these relating to multiple claims.
- The number of ET sitting days has fallen by 15% since 2015/2016. The proportion of sittings by a salaried judge, rather than a fee-paid judge, has increased from 67% in 2013/2014 to 92% in 2016/2017. (In comparison, the average proportion of salaried judicial sittings across all other tribunals within HMCTS is 40%.)
All comparisons are by reference to the same quarter in 2016 (unless otherwise stated).