Produced in collaboration with Daniel Barnett, (Barrister, 2 Gray’s Inn Square Chambers) © LawZone and Daniel Barnett 2001
Issue 1 – February 2001
Welcome to the first monthly employment law bulletin, created by employment law specialist barrister Daniel Barnett. Over the next few months we’ll be rolling out more of these specialist wires to help you get more targeted news. Please let us know what you think!
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Joe Reevy and Daniel Barnett
TRANSFERS OF UNDERTAKINGS – YET MORE LAW
The last month has seen two important decisions dealing with the complex issue of transfer of undertakings.
In CHEESMAN v BREWER CONTRACTS, the Employment Appeal Tribunal undertook a thorough and detailed review of all recent TUPE cases, attempting to pull them together so as to provide a set of principles to guide advisors and tribunals.
However, a few days later, the European Court of Justice issued its decision in OY LIIKENNE AB v LISKOJARIVI & JUNTUNEN, which appeared to be re-asserting the discredited view that an new employer can avoid being forced to keep all staff when taking over a labour-intensive business simply by refusing to take on ANY.
To advertise in the LawZONE employment law newswire, e-mail Stuart Roy or call on 0117-915 9600
£17,000 COMPENSATION FOR OFFICE SEX JIBES
An employment tribunal recently awarded £17,000 to Linda Moran after she became sick with stress, having endured sexist comments from male colleagues for two years. She was expected to make the tea and answer the phone, whereas the male employees were not required to undertake these tasks. The managing director instructed her to wear more makeup and would stop telling dirty jokes whenever she entered a room, but continue when she left. The award was for injury to feelings and damages for personal injury.
(source: The Sun, 11th January 2001, p4)
INCREASE IN LIMITS FOR TRIBUNAL AWARDS
Limits on tribunal awards have increased with respect to any dismissal occurring after 1st February 2001. The new limits are £240 per week for the basic award, and a maximum of £51,700 for the compensatory award.
ITALIAN COURT APPROVES A PAT ON THE BOTTOM
An Italian appeal court has stated that a pat on the bottom does not amount to sexual harassment, provided it was “isolated and impulsive” rather than “an intentional act of libido”.
(source: Metro, 26th January 2001, p9)
CHILDLINE STAFF ACCUSED OF BULLYING
Childline, the charity which counsels children on anti-bullying, faced allegations of corporate bullying at an employment tribunal hearing last month. Counsellor Tim Langhorn, 40, brought a claim of constructive dismissal against Childline, alleging that he had been bullied by his boss. Childline admitted it did not have an anti-bullying policy in its office. The case has been adjourned to March.
(source: Metro, 30th January 2001, p6)
PAY IN LIEU OF NOTICE CLAUSES
The Court of Appeal has held, in CERBERUS SOFTWARE v ROWLEY, that provided the right to pay money to an employee in lieu of notice is discretionary (as it usually is), the employee is obliged to mitigate his loss and must give credit for any earnings received during the notice period.
FLEXITIME WORKERS ACHIEVE MORE
Research commissioned by the Industrial Society shows that 70% of those adhering to flexible working practices outperform their full-time colleagues, scoring higher on resilience, leadership, problem-solving and commitment.
(source: The Times, 4th January 2001, p9)
DANIEL BARNETT is a barrister specialising in employment law, practising from 2 Gray’s Inn Square Chambers. He writes and lectures extensively on employment law matters and is the author of ‘Avoiding Unfair Dismissal Claims’ (Wiley, 1999) and co-author of ‘Handbook on Employment Law’ (Law Society Publishing, forthcoming). He has been interviewed on employment law matters in the national press, on radio and on television. He is on the editorial committee of ‘ELA Briefing’ (Sweet & Maxwell) and ‘Employment Lawyer’ (CCH.Editions).
Please note that as a barrister, Daniel Barnett may only give advice to a particular person on a specific matter if instructed to do so by a solicitor, a member of a recognised professional body approved by the Bar Council for the purpose of direct professional access work, or a BarDIRECT client.
AIDS ‘SUIT’ MAN RECEIVES £35,000
Furniture store group Barker & Stonehouse paid Michael Scott, an
ex-employee, £35,000 in an out-of-court settlement. It had ordered him to wear a boiler suit at work after discovering he was HIV positive.
(source: The Sun, 4th January 2001)
GOVERNMENT LAUNCHES ‘EQUALITY DIRECT’
The government has launched ‘Equality Direct’ – an information and advice service for businesses on a range of equality issues such as providing better access for disabled people or equal pay. The telephone advice centre and supporting website will help employers resolve management issues, offer information and advice on both good practice and the law and provide information on effective equal opportunities strategies.
The service is provided in collaboration with DLA.
The information and any commentary on the law contained in this bulletin is provided free of charge for information purposes only. Every reasonable effort is made to make the information and commentary accurate and up to date, but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying on it, is assumed by Daniel Barnett or Sift limited. The information and commentary does not, and is not intended to, amount to legal advice to any person on a specific case or matter. You are strongly advised to obtain specific, personal advice from a lawyer about your case or matter and not to rely on the information or comments in this bulletin or, if you are a solicitor, you should check the accuracy of the information yourself, or seek advice from Counsel on a formal basis.
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