More protection for Agency workers
The Agency Worker Regulations 2010 come into force on 1 October 2011. This sees an end to a lengthy process to ensure greater protection for agency workers that started in 2008 with Directive 2008/104/EC. The legislation will offer greater protection to agency staff who will now be entitled to equal treatment in relation to basic working and employment conditions as compared to other employees, after a 12 week qualification period. Click here to find out more.
Specific duties for the Public Sector
The Equality Act 2010 (Specific Duties) Regulations 2011 came into force on 10 September 2011. The Regulations require public bodies covered by the Equality Act to publish certain information by 31 January 2012 and equality objectives by 6 April 2012. The duty to publish arises under section 149 of the Act which creates the public sector equality duty. Click here for more information.
Think, Act, Report! Well, only if you feel like it
On 14 September 2011, the government launched its voluntary equality reporting scheme aimed at encouraging businesses with a workforce of 150 or more, to gather and analyse data in relation to gender equality. The scheme aims to encourage businesses to address issues of inequality in the workplace. As the scheme is voluntary, no organisation is legally bound to register nor is there any sanction once you register for failing to submit the relevant data. Tesco, BT and the law firm Eversheds have already singed up to the scheme. To read more, click here.
Employment Appeal Tribunal
Working Time Regs - breaks
Hughes v The Corps of Commissionaires Management Ltd  EWCA Civ 1061 (08 September 2011)
The EAT considered issues of construction relating to regulation 24 of the Working Time Regulations 1998 and whether, in the instant appeal, the appellant was given an appropriate rest break during his shift as required by the Regulations. The appellant, unlike most workers, was not able to take uninterrupted rest breaks. His job duties required him to be continuously available to supervise and monitor access to the site to which he was allocated. He was provided with a kitchen area where breaks could be taken but he had to remain on call during these periods. He was permitted to leave a message on the reception desk where the monitoring and security equipment was placed saying that he was on his break and leaving a contact number. This meant, however, that his break might be interrupted by visitors to the site. If his break was interrupted then he was permitted to start it again. In deciding whether or not the particular regulation under scrutiny is engaged, the EAT commented that one must look to the activities of the worker rather than the employer. The appeal was dismissed as the EAT held that the arrangement did in fact comply with the Regulations. Click here to read the full judgment.
Powers of the employment tribunal at a CMD
McKinson v Hackney Community College & Others UKEAT/0237/11/JOJ (8 August 2011)
At a case management discussion the employment judge sought to limit the Appellant's claim by ordering him to proceed only with certain allegations in relation to his claims for race discrimination and victimisation (the ET1 contained detailed and lengthy allegations). The EAT upheld the appeal in part stating that the tribunal had no power to order a claimant to limit allegations in this way. To down load the full judgment click here.
Disclosure of information -s43B ERA 1996
Freeman v Ultra Green Group Ltd (09/08/11) UKEAT/0239/11
The EAT held that the employment tribunal had erred in ruling that comments made by the appellant during the course of a meeting could not amount to information under section 43B of the ERA. There is a distinction to be made for the purposes of section 43B, between the making of mere allegations and providing information. In the instant case, the appellant had given details of what he had been asked to do by his employers and why this would amount to giving investors false information. Click here to download the full judgment.
Disability Discrimination - Reasonable adjustments
Leeds Teaching Hospital NHS Trust v Foster (14 June 2011) UKEAT/0552/10/JOJ
If there is a real prospect of an adjustment removing a disabled employee's disadvantage as against the rest of the workforce, that would be sufficient to make the adjustment a reasonable one. That does not mean however, that a prospect less than a real one would be insufficient to make the adjustment a reasonable one. The EAT so held in dismissing the appellant's appeal against the decision of the employment tribunal upholding the respondent's claims for disability discrimination. Click here to down load the judgment.
Notices & coming events
Employment Lawyers Association (27 September 2011)
The Employment Lawyers Association will be running an evening session on Agency Workers on 27 September 2011 at Simmons and Simmons, City Point, One Ropemaker Street, London, EC2Y 9SS. There are 1.5 CPD points available and the cost is £35. Click here for further details.
Equality Act - One Year On (17 October 2011)
The Discrimination Law Association is hosting a one day conference on Monday 17 October 2011, entitled "Equality Act - One Year On". The event will take place at the London offices of Simmons and Simmons (see above for address). Click here to book your place.
Insecurity in the Workplace: Insolvency and Redundancy ( 27 October 2011)
Garden Court Chambers Employment, Discrimination & Professional Regulation Team will be hosting a lecture entitled "Insecurity in the Workplace: Insolvency and Redundancy" on 27 October 2011 starting at 6.30pm. Catherine O'Donnell and David Renton will be tackling recent case law surrounding insolvency and redundancy. Click here for more details and to reserve your place.