REUTERS | Denis Balibouse

Later this month the employment tribunal is due to make a long-awaited preliminary hearing decision in Casamitjana v League Against Cruel Sports on whether ethical veganism is a protected belief under the Equality Act 2010 (EqA 2010). 

The EqA 2010 does not contain express protection for ethical vegans. However Mr Casamitjanas case is that it constitutes a philosophical belief in respect of which discrimination is unlawful under the EqA 2010. More specifically, he is claiming that he was dismissed because he challenged his employers pension fund investments in firms involved with animal testing (against his ethical vegan beliefs). The League conversely says that he was dismissed for gross misconduct.  Continue reading

REUTERS | Michaela Rehle

Directors beware

In 2017/2018, HMRC identified a record £15.6 million in national minimum wage (NMW) underpayment. More than 200,000 workers were found to have been underpaid, the highest number since the NMW came into force in 1999. Employers were fined £14 million, also a record amount, and more than three times the previous year‘s figure. 

With the government’s increased focus on enforcing the NMW, directors of errant companies would be wise to heed the recent decision of Antuzis v DJ Houghton [2019] EWHC 843 (QB). In Antuzis, the High Court determined that where the officers of a limited company were deliberately involved in causing the company to pay workers below the NMW, they may be held to be personally liable to those workers in the civil courts for the tort of inducing a breach of contract.  Continue reading

REUTERS | David Gray

Many employees want to participate in the Global Climate Strike. This is called by the organisation which was born out of the recent string of strikes held by students protesting against inaction over climate issues. The group has asked employees to walk out of their workplaces on 20 and 27 September (see https://globalclimatestrike.net/).    Continue reading

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An employee is not permitted to take and keep their employer’s information for the purposes of bringing a claim against their employer. If an employee does so, their employer will ordinarily be entitled to an injunction for the return of such information. This blog looks at some of the case law and considers how employees and employers should approach this situation, before turning to a recent attempt to extend this case law into the field of covert recordings by employees. Continue reading

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 ACAS sums up the position concisely in its guide to harassment and bullying in the workplace:

“[Bullying is] offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting behaviour, an abuse or misuse of power through means that undermine, humiliate, denigrate or injure the recipient.”

“The impact on the individual can be the same as harassment and the words bullying and harassment are often used interchangeably in the workplace.”

“Unless bullying amounts to conduct defined as harassment in the Equality Act 2010 [that is, if it is not related to a protected characteristic] it is not possible to make a complaint to an Employment Tribunal about it.

Continue reading

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King George V sat on the throne when our highest court last considered post-employment restrictive covenants. Pervasive wartime controls were in place to regulate labour. Employment protection legislation was non-existent. The world was a very different place. 

Over the intervening 100 years, the law on restrictive covenants developed and changed but no case made it beyond the Court of Appeal. 

Fastforward to 2019. The last vestiges of the master/servant labour model are firmly consigned to the history books. The individual contract of employment is without doubt the cornerstone of modern labour relations in the UK. Supplementing this relationship is a rich tapestry of statutory employment protections woven over some 60 years. Our working world is global, competitive and increasingly digital. Now, more than ever, information, goodwill and trade connections are a highly prized commodity for almost every business.  Continue reading

REUTERS | Baz Ratner

Claimants and respondents in the employment tribunal should always think carefully before applying for the tribunal to use its power under rule 32 to order the attendance of a witness to give evidence. While it can be a powerful course of action, there is a significant risk that such a witness will be hostile and uncooperative. Even if they would be willing to give helpful evidence in the normal course of events, they may still be employed by the alleged wrongdoer or otherwise restricted, such that no one can be sure what precisely they will say.  Continue reading

REUTERS | Mike Blake

Improving workforce diversity is high on the agenda for most organisations. The 2018/19 gender pay gap reports have been published and most employers have similar gaps to last year (and, in some cases, increases). While employers may not have had a chance to put in place any action plans before the latest set of reports, their public nature is likely to put increasing pressure on organisations which fail to narrow the gender pay gap. In addition, the government is currently considering the feedback from their recent consultation on ethnicity pay gap reporting and there seems little doubt that this obligation will be introduced in due course. Continue reading