Employment Law Bulletin – Issue 156 – 15 October 2013

Tuesday 15 October 2013

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Employment Law News


A number of employers in the construction industry have agreed to fund a compensation scheme for workers affected by blacklisting. The scheme has not yet been finalised and key details remain to be negotiated. For more details, click here.

Possible strike by postal workers

Early press reports indicated that the Communications Workers Union anticipates a yes vote for industrial action in the results of its present ballot on pay and conditions, which coincides with the privatisation of Royal Mail. The result is due out shortly. If the union has voted for a strike, the first strike date could be as soon as October 23 2013. For more details, click here.

Employment Case Law

Court of Appeal

Age discrimination

Lockwood v Department of Work and Pensions & Anor [2013] EWCA Civ 1195

Direct discrimination on grounds of age is not unlawful if it is objectively justified (13(2) Equality Act 2010). In a case which concerned a civil service redundancy scheme, which discriminated against younger workers, the Court of Appeal held that it was legitimate to grant additional benefits to workers over 35 who were more likely to have family and financial responsibilities. It also upheld an Employment Tribunal (ET) decision that it was not practicable for a scheme of this sort to assess severance payments on an individual basis by reference to the circumstances of each applicant, and that it was justified to operate a banding scheme instead. For the full text of the judgment, click here.

Employment Appeal Tribunal

EU Charter of Fundamental Rights

Benkharbouche v Embassy of The Republic of Sudan [2013] EAT 0401/12

The general effect of the State Immunity Act 1978 is to prevent private litigation directed at the consular officials of a sovereign state. In appeals brought by a cook at the Sudanese embassy and a member of the domestic staff of the Libyan embassy, both of whose cases had failed at the ET for want of jurisdiction, the President of the Employment Appeal Tribunal in England and Wales, Langstaff J, held that where there were claims within the material scope of EU law, the 1978 Act should be disapplied on the basis that the EU Charter was now recognised as applicable in the UK, and that Article 47 of that Charter protects fair trial principles which would be defeated by a reliance of state immunity. The President found that their claims under Article 6 Human Rights Act 1998 failed, but allowed them in so far as they derived from EU law. The net result was that claims relating to discrimination and working time were protected, but claims relating to unfair dismissal and minimum wage could only be pursued via a declaration of incompatibility under the Human Rights Act 1998. Permission to appeal was granted. For the full text of the judgment, click here.

Employment Law Events

Key Employment and Discrimination Cases for 2013-2014: A Preview
Tuesday 15 October, 18:30 - 20:00
1.5 CPD Hours
The Royal College of Surgeons, 35-43 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London, WC2A 3PE
The Industrial Law Society (ILS) will be hosting a lecture by Michael Rubenstein. For more information, click here.

The Discrimination Law Association's Annual Conference
Monday 21 October
5.5 CPD Hours
The London office of Baker & McKenzie.
The theme of this year's conference will be "Equality 2015: Setting the Agenda". For further details, click here.

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