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Employment Bulletin - October 2016

Welcome

The month of tricks and treats is upon us. If there’s one thing that is sure to give employers the heebie jeebies, it’s the thought of reputational damage caused by having got something badly wrong in employment law. 

This autumn there is due to be a new mechanism by which the public at large can read all about employers’ failures. The Courts and Tribunals Service announced earlier in the year that employment tribunal decisions will be placed online. Those decisions are not currently as readily available as those of higher courts, which have been online for some time. 

Of course this works both ways. Employers who win cases will have that fact known. For those who don’t, there may well be greater publicity around mistakes and bad judgment calls. It will be interesting to see the extent to which the online availability of tribunal decisions will affect each party’s negotiating position in the run-up to a hearing. Will we see an increased appetite for, or more resistance to, settlement?

Key topics in this bulletin

  • Maintaining higher pay could be a reasonable adjustment –G4S Cash Security v Powell
  • New Minimum Wage rates
  • Unfair dismissal for ‘inept and crass’ tweet – Elliott v Lloyds Banking Group
  • A different take on the headscarf issue – Bougnaoui v Micropole SA
  • Inquiry into Corporate Governance 
  • The importance of being client – CT Plus (Yorkshire) CIC v Black and others 

And finally…

Okay, so it’s Halloween. But with Christmas being just around the corner, it seems only right to spare a thought for hard-working elves.

It turns out that zero-hours contracts are the way forward for this lot – or for some, at least. The Guardian reported that one Center Parcs is recruiting a small number of elves who are prepared to enter into this sort of casual arrangement. For some of Santa’s crew this means they’ll only work when they are needed during busy periods. 

For all the criticism that lands at the door of zero-hours contracts, the seasonality of certain jobs and industries is one big reason for their appeal. If employers are happy, and workers are happy – and, let’s face it, you can’t get much happier than an elf – then there’s an argument that these ‘as-and-when’ arrangements deserve to play a part in modern workplaces.  

But according to a poll commissioned by the union, Unite, more than six in ten people in the UK want zero-hours contracts to be banned. With that in mind, the future of these agreements may not be looking all that… elfy!

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The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.

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