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News Update

September 2018

The High Court holds that by resigning but working out a lengthy notice period, employees affirm any initial breach of contract, but a further breach, resulting in resignation with immediate effect, can be repudiatory.

The Government has published guidance on workplace rights if there’s no Brexit deal, to inform businesses and workers of the plans to continue protections if the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 with no agreement.

TUC research which looked into workplace surveillance, has revealed that 56% of workers think it’s likely that they’re being monitored at work and are concerned about the impact on working relationships.

Data obtained by People Management under a Freedom of Information request showed that 3,365 employment tribunals were postponed within 48 hours in just eight months.

Resigning because of contract breach but working out lengthy notice affirms contract

In Brown & Anor v Neon Management Ltd & Anor, Brown and Bhoma resigned on 16 March 2018 as a result of an alleged repudiatory breach of contract, including failing to pay salary increases/discretionary bonuses and trying to introduce new detrimental contractual terms. Brown gave 12 months’ notice and Bhoma gave 6 months’ notice, with both indicating they would be working out the entirety of their notice periods. On 16 May 2018, both employees resigned with immediate effect in response to another alleged repudiatory breach, i.e. further failure to pay salary increases/bonuses, and making an unjustified finding of misconduct and reporting that conduct to the regulator, Lloyd's of London. In ruling on the breach of contract claim, the High Court made the important point that resignation on notice because of a repudiatory breach of contract where the notice period amounts to six months or more constitutes an acceptance of the employment contract, so keeping it alive. However, any further breaches during the notice period may be taken into account. Here, the ‘sting in the tail’ was that the 16 May breaches amounted to a repudiation of the contract and Brown and Bhoma were entitled to damages.

Government publishes guidance on workplace rights if there’s no Brexit deal

The Government has published guidance on workplace rights if there’s no Brexit deal, to inform businesses and workers of the plans to continue protections if the UK leaves the EU in March 2019 with no agreement. The guidance states that a ‘no deal’ scenario remains unlikely given the mutual interests of the UK and the EU in securing a negotiated outcome. The guidance, however, confirms that after 29 March 2019, if there’s ‘no deal’, the EU (Withdrawal) Act 2018 brings across the powers from EU Directives, meaning that that workers in the UK will continue to be entitled to the rights they have under UK law, covering those aspects which come from EU law which are listed, with the exception for some minor issues.

TUC research shows workplace monitoring becoming increasingly prevalent

TUC research which looked into workplace surveillance, has revealed that 56% of workers think it’s likely that they’re being monitored at work and are concerned about the impact on working relationships. The research was designed to find out how widespread workplace surveillance is, the impact of surveillance and how workers feel about being monitored. The most common forms of surveillance include: monitoring employees’ work emails, files and browsing histories (49% think it’s fairly likely or very likely to be happening); CCTV (45%); and, monitoring phone logs and calls, including the recording of calls (42%).

More than 3,300 tribunals postponed at short notice in just eight months

Data obtained by People Management under a Freedom of Information request showed that 3,365 employment tribunals were postponed within 48 hours of the hearing being scheduled to begin between 1 August 2017 and 31 March 2018 – the dates for which data was available. The postponement figures appear to back other data which suggests the tribunal system has been strained since the Supreme Court ruled last year that tribunal fees should be abolished. The FOI statistics echoed earlier findings from an Employment Lawyers Association survey of 320 lawyers which revealed that 45% had experienced postponements because of lack of judicial resources.

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 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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