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News Update

June 2018

The Court of Appeal hold that discrimination occurred where a disabled teacher was dismissed for showing an inappropriate film even though it was not known that the misconduct arose as a consequence of his disability.

The Equalities Office has published guidance on dress codes and sex discrimination setting out how the law might apply where an employer requires female staff to wear, for instance, high heels, make-up, etc.

The Employment Rights Act 1996 (Itemised Pay Statement) (Amendment) (No. 2) Order 2018 will come into force on 6th April 2019 conferring the right to an itemised pay statement upon all ‘workers’.

Wales TUC has published 'The menopause: a workplace issue - a toolkit for trade unionists' to help reps work with employers to address the negative impacts the menopause can have on working life.

£646,000 awarded for discrimination arising from disability

In City of York Council v Grosset, Grosset (G), a teacher, suffers from cystic fibrosis; this worsened when he could not cope with his increased workload, which in turn increased his level of stress. During this time G showed a class of 15- year-olds an 18-rated horror film, Halloween, without the school’s approval or gaining parental consent. The school did not accept G’s explanation that his actions had been a result of an error of judgment brought on by stress and he was summarily dismissed for gross misconduct. The Court of Appeal held that G had been discriminated because of something arising in consequence of his disability. G was dismissed because he had shown the film, his actions arose from his disability and there is no requirement under S.15 of the Equality Act 2010, as the school argued, that liability can only arise where the employee can show that the employer was aware that misconduct occurred in consequence of his or her disability. The BBC have subsequently reported that City of York Council has been ordered to pay G £646,000 compensation.

The Equalities Office publishes guidance on dress codes and sex discrimination

The Equalities Office has published guidance on dress codes and sex discrimination setting out how the law might apply where an employer requires female staff to wear, for instance, high heels, make-up, or revealing clothing. It states that dress policies for men and women do not have to be identical, but standards imposed should be equivalent. It also states that is advisable to avoid gender specific prescriptive requirements. For example, any requirement to wear make-up, have manicured nails, wear hair in certain styles or to wear specific types of hosiery or skirts is likely to be unlawful, assuming there is no equivalent requirement for men. A dress code that requires all employees to ‘dress smartly’ would be lawful, provided the definition of ‘smart’ is reasonable. For example, a two-piece suit in a similar colour for both men and women, with low-heeled shoes for both sexes.

New Order confers right to an itemised pay statement upon all workers from April 2019

The Employment Rights Act 1996 (Itemised Pay Statement) (Amendment) (No. 2) Order 2018 will come into force on 6th April 2019 conferring the right to an itemised pay statement upon all workers. Presently, employers are only required to provide an itemised pay statement to ‘employees’ under S.230 (3)(a) of the Employment Rights Act 1996, i.e. those working under an employment contract. This order extends the right to ‘workers’ under S.230(3)(b), i.e. those working under a contract to perform work personally for another party.

Wales TUC publishes a toolkit to address negative impacts of the menopause on working life

Wales TUC has published 'The menopause: a workplace issue - a toolkit for trade unionists' to help reps work with employers to address the negative impacts the menopause can have on working life. In a survey of 4000 workers, 88% of females confirmed the menopause had an effect on working life, while 60% had witnessed the issue being treated as a joke. The toolkit covers essential information about the menopause, looks at some of the common workplace issues and considers why the menopause is a key workplace health and safety and equality issue. It offers practical tools for trade union reps including examples of workplace adjustments, ideas for action, a gender sensitive health and safety checklist, an example workplace policy and example risk assessment.

Content

This update provides summary information and comment on the subject areas covered. Where employment tribunal and appellate court cases are reported, the information does not set out all of the facts, the legal arguments presented and the judgments made in every aspect of the case. Click on the links to access full details. If no link is provided, contact us for more information. Employment law is subject to constant change either by statute or by interpretation by the courts. While every care has been taken in compiling this information, SM&B cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. Specialist legal advice must be taken on any legal issues that may arise before embarking upon any formal course of action.


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