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5 recent top cases

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1. Part-time teacher in Court of Appeal holiday pay victory

The Court of Appeal upheld a ruling that a teacher’s holiday was wrongly calculated, in a judgment that was described as a victory for part-time workers.

The court ruled that Ms L Brazel, who works as a visiting music teacher for Bedford Girls’ School, should have her holiday pay decided on her earnings over a 12-week reference period. Her employer had argued that the standard way to determine holiday pay was on a pro-rata basis.

Using the method recommended by Acas for casual workers, the trust operating the school had been recording Brazel’s holiday as being the equivalent of 12.07 per cent of hours worked – calculated by dividing the number of working weeks by the statutory 5.6 weeks’ entitlement. However, Brazel successfully argued that the Working Time Directive (WTD) dictated that holiday pay should be calculated by taking a week’s pay – an average of weekly remuneration for the 12 weeks before the calculation date – and multiplying that by 5.6.

The judge noted there was nothing in the WTD that required a different approach to be taken if a worker did not work a full year.

2. Pub manager wins harassment claim after ‘poor taste’ sexual innuendos 

A pub manager was sexually harassed after a senior co-worker engaged in “poor taste humour” by making sexual innuendos towards her, an employment tribunal (ET) ruled.

The Sheffield ET found that even without any “malicious intent” on the part of the perpetrator, making sexual innuendos could reasonably be perceived as violating an individual’s dignity and creating a hostile work environment.

The judge added that although Ms J Prewett, who worked for pub chain Greene King from 1995 until her resignation on 5 December 2018, was used to dealing with a wide range of customers in her working life as a pub manager, the statements in question were made by a colleague “with whom, at the time of these events, she had a very serious job to do”, and were therefore inappropriate.

3. Employee wins harassment case after supervisor made racist remarks 

A council employee won his claims of racial harassment after an incident where his supervisor made racist remarks towards him as they drove to a job.

The Leeds ET found that Mr A Leader, an environmental action operative employed by Leeds City Council, suffered “clearly unwanted” comments about his race, the colour of his skin and the nationality of others that amounted to racial harassment.

In what lawyers described as an ‘unusual’ move, the ET dismissed claims against the council itself after ruling that the employer had shown it had taken all reasonable steps to prevent the supervisor from making racist comments to fellow employees. The case proceeded instead against the individual supervisor who made the remarks.

4. Bank discriminated against diabetic manager sacked for locking customer in branch

A bank manager was discriminated against when his employer unfairly dismissed him for failing to undertake proper checks, something he attributed to the side effects of his ‘uncontrolled’ diabetes.

A London ET ruled that HBOS, which previously ran the Halifax building society business and is now part of Lloyds Banking Group, unfairly and wrongfully dismissed Mr B Kuppala after his diabetes inhibited his ability to follow the proper security and closing procedures at his branch. Kuppala was found to have left keys in the door on multiple occasions, and once locked a customer in after closing time.

The tribunal concluded that if HBOS had obtained occupational health advice, it would have been told Kuppala was disabled and “the disability was uncontrolled and likely to have had an effect on his concentration and his tiredness”.

5. Colour blind police officer stripped of driving duties was discriminated against, tribunal rules

A police officer with a form of colour vision defect faced indirect sex discrimination after his employer temporarily removed him from its rapid response driving team, a London tribunal has found.

Alexander Wisbey, a police sergeant on the City of London force, was an authorised firearms officer and part of the rapid response driving team, but was removed from both teams in April 2017 because of his colour vision defect, before being reinstated following an investigation.

He argued this was indirect sex discrimination as his condition, which was genetic, affects significantly more men than women.

A London ET ruled that the force indirectly discriminated against Wisbey when it temporarily banned him from the rapid response driving team – but not when it took him off the firearms team – because it did not thoroughly investigate colour vision standards as it did for those within the firearms team.

Have your say…

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Government Consultations are currently open in respect of the following:

Sexual Harassment in the Workplace


This consultation aims to gather evidence about whether the current laws on protecting people from sexual harassment in the workplace are effective.

This consultation closes at 11:59pm on 2 October 2019


Health is everyone’s business: proposals to reduce ill health-related job loss



This consultation seeks views on different ways in which government and employers can take action to reduce ill health-related job loss.
This consultation closes at 11:45pm on 7 October 2019

Council employee unfairly dismissed after video of potentially offensive remarks went viral

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A council worker who was filmed making potentially offensive comments about Jews during a political rally was unfairly dismissed, an ET has ruled.

Stan Keable, who worked for Hammersmith and Fulham Council, was dismissed after complaints were lodged when a video of him arguing that the Zionist movement collaborated with the Nazis went viral on Twitter after it was posted by a BBC journalist.

However, the London Central ET ruled that Keable’s comments – which may have been offensive to some – were not discriminatory or unlawful and were made outside the workplace, not in breach of the council’s workplace policies.

Landmark Supreme Court ruling finds non-compete clause was not too wide to be enforced

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The Supreme Court ruled that restrictive covenants preventing an employee from being “concerned or interested” in a competitor for six months after she left the business were not too wide to be enforceable.

In a decision that experts said would come as a relief to employers, judges overturned a previous Court of Appeal decision and formally reinstated an injunction against a former employee of recruitment firm Egon Zehnder, Mary-Caroline Tillman, which would have prevented her from taking up employment with a competitor had the contractual period of restraint not since expired.

The case set the precedent that restrictive covenants can be broadly enforceable even if there are elements of the contract a court might deem to have gone ‘too far’, and that offending words can be removed from a contract if it does not substantially change the overall effect of the restraint.

Pregnant woman was unfairly dismissed for raising concerns over working hours, tribunal rules

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A care assistant was awarded almost £36,000 after she was unfairly dismissed for asserting her rights under the Working Time Regulations and was unfavourably treated by her employer because of her pregnancy.

A Middlesbrough ET ruled that Ms T Peart was unfairly dismissed and unfavourably treated by York-based Care Preference after she raised concerns about her hours.

The judge said Peart’s employer immediately assumed she was lodging objections to shift patterns because she simply didn’t want to work ‘on call’ shifts, and failed to consider that Peart had childcare or health issues related to her pregnancy preventing her from taking shifts.

Tribunal rules covertly recording meetings is not always gross misconduct

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The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that covertly recording a meeting is not always misconduct, and is acceptable in specific cases, such as when a vulnerable employee is seeking to guard against misrepresentation.

It upheld a ruling that Tatiana Stockman, who worked for charity Phoenix House, was unfairly dismissed after a dispute between her and her manager.

During the course of the initial employment tribunal (ET), it transpired that Stockman had made a covert recording of a meeting and Phoenix House appealed the judgment, arguing that if it had been aware of the covert recording then Stockman would have been dismissed for gross misconduct.

However, the EAT upheld the ET’s ruling, saying the reasons a recording was made needed to be taken into account.

Public sector pension scheme rules ‘may have to change’ following appeal court victory

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A woman has won the right to access her late partner’s military pension, following a Court of Appeal ruling experts said could have knock-on effects for the rest of the public sector.

Jane Langford was initially disqualified from receiving her long-term partner’s pension because she had never formally dissolved her marriage to her estranged husband and was therefore was not considered to be in an exclusive relationship – a rule found in most public sector pension schemes.

The MoD had claimed the decision was legitimate and necessary to limit the status of unmarried partners to achieve consistency and ensure the scheme remained affordable; however, the Supreme Court ruled this was unlawful discrimination and unjustified in Langford’s case. Lord Justice McCombe ruled that creating “different classes” of partners not married to service members ran counter to this aim.

Ex-offenders who have served longer sentences may not have to inform employers

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Ex-offenders who have served longer sentences may not have to declare their past convictions to employers under new government proposals.

The new legislation would mean ex-offenders who have served sentences longer than four years would no longer be required to disclose their convictions to an employer after they have passed a ‘rehabilitation period’ without re-offending.