General News, Articles and Information from The POA North of the Border:


Levy & McRae Newsbrief: December 2013

Shared Parental Leave: Response to Consultation Published

On 29 November 2013, the government published its response to the consultation seeking views on how to administer the shared parental leave scheme, which is due to be introduced by the Children and Families Bill in 2015.


ACAS Consults on Change to Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures Code

ACAS has launched a consultation on a revision to the Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures to reflect the EAT's decision in Toal and anor v GB Oils. The EAT suggested that the Code did not accurately reflect the law on the right to be accompanied in disciplinary and grievance hearings and in particular the  law relating to the need to make a reasonable request. The consultation closes on 7 January 2014.


Channel 4 Did Not Discriminate Against John McCririck on the Grounds of Age

An employment tribunal has held that Channel 4's decision to remove John McCririck as a presenter of Channel 4 Racing was not direct discrimination on the grounds of his age. The decision was made because of his image and presenting style.


Do They Also Serve Who Only Sleep?

Yes (sometimes), said the EAT in Whittlestone v BJP Home Support Ltd.

W was a care worker. She was paid £6.35 per hour for time spent attending to clients at their homes, but nothing for travel time. She also undertook "sleepovers", when she was required to be present at a client's home from 11pm to 7am, and for which she was paid £40. She was provided with a bed, and permitted to sleep except when her services were actually required. It was common ground that she was doing "time work" for the purposes of regulation 3 of the National Minimum Wages Regulations 1999.


Repayment Clause: Unenforceable Penalty?

Can a tribunal consider whether a repayment clause is an unlawful penalty? Yes, holds the EAT in Cleeve Link Ltd v Bryla.

The employer had paid money for fees and air flight to the agency which recruited the employee from Poland. The employment contract stated that such fees and costs could be deducted from the employee's wages, on a sliding scale which reduced over time. The employee was summarily dismissed for gross misconduct 12 weeks into her employment, whilst the clause was still in effect. The employer set the fees off against outstanding salary, and she brought an unauthorised deductions claim.


ECJ Preliminary Ruling on Extent of Insured's Right to Choose Lawyer Under Legal Expenses Insurance Policy

The ECJ gave a preliminary ruling on the interpretation of Article 4(1) of Council Directive 87/344/EEC of 22 June 1987 on the insured's right to choose its own lawyer under a legal expenses insurance policy.


Discrimination - Christian Beliefs v Gay Rights

Did Christian hotel owners (the Appellants) Mr & Mrs Bull unlawfully discriminate against civil partners Hall and Preddy by refusing to let them share a double bed on the grounds that they were not a heterosexual married couple?


Whistleblowing Commission Makes Recommendations

A commission set up by the charity, Public Concern at Work, has published a report which makes 25 recommendations for improving protection for whistleblowers and encouraging a culture of compliance with whistleblowing legislation. Attached to the report is a draft code of practice, which the commission recommends should be taken into account by courts and tribunals when deciding whistleblowing cases. The report recommends a number of amendments to the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998.


Early Conciliation to Come into Force

From April 2014 before lodging a claim to the Tribunal all claimants will need to notify ACAS first, where conciliation will be offered. If conciliation is unsuccessful within the set period the claimant can proceed to lodge a tribunal claim.


Christian Loses Case for Religious Discrimination Over Sunday Working

Celestina Mba, a children's care-home worker who said she could not work on Sundays because of her Christian belief, has failed to prove that her dismissal was the result of religious discrimination.


Council Employee Was “Constructively and Unfairly Dismissed”, Appeal Court Rules

A former local authority employee who became the subject of a “witch hunt” and was forced to resign after he claimed to have witnessed colleagues having sex at work was “constructively and unfairly dismissed”, appeal judges have ruled.


Holiday Pay: Advocate-General Opines Must Include Commission

Should commission be taken into account when calculating holiday pay?

Yes, according to the opinion of Advocate-General Bot in the CJEU in ZJR Lock v British Gas.