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Employment news round-up, July 2013 - 31/07/13

Aside from news of the new Royal Prince, the other hotly anticipated media event of this month is (possibly) Mike Smith's round-up of July's employment law developments.  William and Kate will not be the only people adjusting to a new world of change this month: in the employment law sphere, we have seen some key developments this month, including the introduction of fees in the employment tribunal and employment appeal tribunal, new employment tribunal rules, the re-naming of Compromise Agreements as 'Settlement Agreements' and the introduction of ‘pre-termination discussions’.  We also report on the ‘employee shareholder’ scheme and a new whistleblowing call for evidence. 

Establishment challenged – redundancy law rewritten - 31/07/13

In a ground-breaking decision, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has made a major change to collective redundancy law.  The EAT looked at whether the collective redundancy consultation duty is  triggered when 20 or more employees across a whole organisation are potentially affected by proposed redundancies; or when 20 or more employees are potentially affected at any individual establishment, within the larger organisation (such as various regional offices)? As the EAT characterised it, should employers take a site by site 'atomised' approach or a 'holistic' approach?  As Julian Hoskins reports, the EAT has said that a holistic approach should be taken, thereby dramatically widening the scope for employers' collective consultation obligations to bite. 

How far must an employer go to make reasonable adjustments? - 31/07/13

Should an employer always waive the requirement for a competitive interview where a disabled employee would be 'substantially disadvantaged ' by the process?  In the case of Wade v Sheffield Hallam University, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) considered whether a university breached its duty to make reasonable adjustments by refusing to waive a competitive interview requirement.  The EAT held that an employer will not be expected to transfer a disabled employee to a role without an interview if the employer genuinely believes the employee to be unsuitable.  Alastair Currie reports.

TUPE Regulations officially 'static' - 31/07/13

As we reported in our recent Alert, the European Court of Justice has published its long awaited decision on whether the TUPE Regulations are 'static' or 'dynamic' in relation to the enforceability of collective agreements on a public to private sector TUPE transfer.  As Sarah Lamont (a nationally recognised authority in this area) explains, this decision is highly relevant to private to public sector outsourcing exercises.

Employment Eye Alert: Is TUPE 'static' or 'dynamic'? - 18/07/13

All those working in the Human Resources and employment field are only too familiar with the fact that the TUPE Regulations rarely stand still. However, back in 2010, the Court of Appeal characterised the Regulations as 'static', in the case of Parkwood Leisure Limited v Alemo-Herron and others, when it held that Regulation 5 of TUPE 1981 (now regulation 6 of TUPE 2006) should be interpreted so that a private sector transferee is only bound by collectively-agreed terms that apply at the date of transfer. The contrary argument is that TUPE is 'dynamic' – i.e. transferring employees should have the right to benefit from future pay rises, or other changes to collective agreements incorporated into their contracts, agreed between the unions and the public sector transferor after a TUPE transfer; but the Court of Appeal preferred the 'static' approach. This decision was appealed to the Supreme Court who, in turn, referred the question of whether TUPE is ‘static’ or ‘dynamic’ to the European Court of Justice.

Change blowing in: Whistleblowing update - 28/06/13

Whistleblowing has barely been out of the headlines in recent months: criticisms in the Francis Report zeroed in on the importance of whistleblowers, and this was swiftly followed by changes to 'gagging clauses' in NHS Compromise Agreements.  This month, we saw new legislation come into force which made significant changes to the way in which whistleblowing operates.  With all the changes that have taken place, Julian Hoskins takes the opportunity to review whistleblowing past and present, and provide some practical suggestions on whistleblowing going forward.

Employment news round-up - 28/06/13

Alastair Currie looks at the latest developments that will be keeping HR practitioners and in-house Counsel busy over the Summer: the first tranche of this year’s law reform programme takes effect this month; UNISON has challenged the fee regime due to come into effect next month; the new Employment Tribunal rules have been published; Acas has published its guidance on pre-termination discussions and, finally, the new DBS online checking scheme is in place; and we provide an update on TUPE and how it applies to 'client team' transfers.

Tinker, Tailor, Soldier...Employer - 28/06/13

Are employers entitled to ‘spy’ on their employees as part of a disciplinary investigation, even if the employer already has the information it needs in order to fairly dismiss the employee?  The Employment Appeal Tribunal has looked at how a local Council has dealt with this question and has said that in certain circumstances, the answer is yes: employers may undertake covert surveillance of employees if misconduct is suspected, notwithstanding that the surveillance is part of an over-zealous investigation. Anne Palmer comes in from the cold and explains more.

Employment Eye Alert: Collective redundancy consultation – major change announced - 04/06/13

In what looks very likely to be a significant change to the rules on collective redundancy consultation, it has been reported that a decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal overhauls the current approach to deciding whether 20 or more employees at an 'establishment' are risk of redundancy.

Acas and SOSR dismissals - 29/05/13

James Gutteridge reports on an EAT decision which looked at whether the Acas Code applies to dismissals for ‘some other substantial reason’, where the working relationship had broken down between the parties. 

 

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