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News Update

March 2019

The Court of Appeal holds a dismissal was automatically unfair where a transferee decided it did not want an employee’s contract of employment to transfer because of her poor working relationship with a colleague.

The Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2019 increases the limits applying to certain awards of employment tribunals and other sums payable under employment legislation from 6 April 2019.

Research conducted by Slater and Gordon involving 2,000 breastfeeding mums who had a baby within the last five years shows 1 in 3 are being forced to use a toilet to express milk when they return to work.

A blockchain-powered app, Vault Platform, has been designed to help encourage individuals to speak up about sexual harassment at work and flag up similar incidents.

Employers cannot pick and choose who transfers

The Court of Appeal’s decision in Hare Wines Ltd v Kaur highlights that employers cannot pick and choose who transfers when a business transfer is governed by TUPE 2006. Under Reg 7(1) TUPE 2006, a dismissal is automatically unfair where the sole or principal reason for the dismissal is the transfer itself. K and C worked for H&W and there was friction and difficulty in their working relationship. The business transferred to Hare Wines Ltd (HW Ltd) and K was dismissed.

The CA agreed with the ET and EAT that the reason for dismissal was the transfer and thereby automatically unfair. This was because: (a) K was dismissed on the day of the transfer; (b) the poor working relationship pre-transfer at H&W had persisted for some time but there was no evidence suggesting it was cause for dismissal during K’s employment at H&W; (c) HW Ltd anticipated that there would be ongoing difficulties in the working relationship, so did not want K ‘on the books’; and, (d) HW Ltd therefore decided that it did not wish K’s contract of employment to transfer and communicated that wish to H&W.

New employment tribunal compensation figures apply from 6 April 2019

The Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2019 increases the limits applying to certain awards of employment tribunals, and other sums payable under employment legislation. The increases apply where the event giving rise to the entitlement to compensation, or other payment, occurred on or after 6th April 2019. The changes include: the maximum amount of a week's pay used for calculating a statutory redundancy payment, or for various awards, including the unfair dismissal basic award, increases from £508 to £525 and the limit on the amount for an ‘ordinary’ unfair dismissal compensatory award increases from £83,682 to £86,444.

Mums forced to express milk in toilets at work

Research conducted by Slater and Gordon involving 2,000 breastfeeding mums who had a baby within the last five years shows 1 in 3 are being forced to use a toilet to express milk when they return to work. Lack of support when going back to work was highlighted by 56% saying they’ve had to express milk in unsuitable places, including the staff room, their car and their desk. As a result, 30% said they’ve suffered with problems while trying to express, including issues with their supply, infections and anxiety. These difficulties resulted in 30% of mums stopping earlier than they would have liked. Slater and Gordon set out five top tips for breastfeeding mothers returning to work, with number one being planning to have a discussion with the employer before the return date.

App designed to help tackle sexual harassment at work

A blockchain-powered app, Vault Platform, has been designed to help encourage individuals to speak up about sexual harassment at work and flag up similar incidents. The BBC report that the app is set to be piloted by a small number of companies in March, enabling those experiencing misconduct to record a private, time-stamped report that is stored as evidence in a "private vault" on users' phones. A "digital receipt" of the report is stored on the blockchain, so it cannot be tampered with and is almost impossible to steal or delete. Users can send the reports to their company, but Vault also flags up if someone else in the same organisation has reported a similar incident.

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 help 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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