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27 July 2015 0 Comments Posted in Employment, Opinion

Indirect religious discrimination and jilbabs

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In Begum v Pedagogy Auras UK Limited t/a Barley Lane Montessori Nursery, the Tribunal held that restricting the length of a garment which the Claimant was required to wear for religious purposes was not discriminatory.

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Settlement Agreement payment subject to tax

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In Hill v HMRC, the First Tier Tax Tribunal has held that a payment of £30,000 to an employee under a Settlement Agreement was a taxable emolument from his employment because it was made to compensate him for a change to his contract which required him to work in excess of 10 miles from his original work place. The employee argued that the payment fell under section 401 of IT(EP)A because it was made in consideration for him agreeing not to bring a claim against his employer for failure to consult under TUPE, which resulted in the change to his workplace. However the Tribunal did not agree and found that the payment was within general earnings because the change of actual, as opposed to contractual, workplace had taken place 3 years before the transfer. The Tribunal’s decision was reinforced by the fact that the employee was required to repay part of the payment if his employment ceased within 2 years of it being paid. Interestingly the Tribunal’s decision did not turn on whether the TUPE transfer resulted in a deemed continuous employment. Had it done so, it would have considered that the TUPE transfer gave rise to continuous employment but conversely, if there had not been a TUPE transfer and the payment had been made for a breach which took place before the termination of employment, it is quite possible that the payment would have fallen within section 401 and thus would not have been taxable.

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Obesity and disability – again…

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In Bickerstaff v Butcher an employee who was described as morbidly obese and who was the subject of derogatory comments about his weight was found to have suffered from disability related harassment by a Tribunal in Belfast. Obesity of itself is not a disability but, following the recent ECJ case, the consideration has to be the effect on the employee’s mobility, ability to sleep, concentration and fitness and it was considered that these passed the threshold of disability in this particular case.

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Dismissal of Christian found to be discriminatory

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In Mbuyi v Newpark Childcare (Shepherds Bush) Limited an Employment Tribunal has held that it was directly discriminatory to dismiss a Christian nursery assistant following her conversation with a lesbian colleague during which she expressed her belief that God does not approve of homosexuality. [read more] Even though the conversation had been initiated by the colleague and the Claimant was giving an honest answer to the question, the Tribunal found that the employer had characterised the exchange as harassment. This, coupled with other examples of unfairness in the dismissal process, gave the Tribunal reason to conclude that the employer’s decision came about through a stereotypical view of evangelical Christians.

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Costs and deposit orders

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The case of Oni v Unison considers the Tribunal rules regarding the making of deposit orders and the possibility of costs being awarded where the Claimant fails to get home on the allegation in respect of which the deposit order was made.

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Scope of statutory collective bargaining

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In British Airline Pilots Association v Jet2.com Limited the High Court has commented on the scope of statutory collective bargaining.

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Travel time – Advocate General opinion that this counts as working time

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In what may potentially be an important and far reaching decision for UK employers, the Advocate General has given his opinion on whether or not travel time counts as working time for the purposes of the EU Working Time Directive in relation to peripatetic workers.

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26 June 2015 0 Comments Posted in Employment, Opinion

If I knew you were coming I’d have backed a cake…

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In a case which has engendered considerable publicity, the County Court for Northern Ireland has delivered Judgment on whether or not there had been breaches of the Equality Act (Sexual Orientation) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2006 and article 3 of the Fair Employment and Treatment (Northern Ireland) Order 1998 in the case of Lee v Ashers Bakery Co Ltd and others.

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Claim can be brought 6 years out of time

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In quite a surprising EAT decision, Higgins v Home Office and another held that a Tribunal did not have proper grounds to reject a claim which had been lodged 6 years out of time. The EAT considered that the Tribunal …

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More cases on collective consultation

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Following the ECJ decision in the Woolworths case, the ECJ has handed down two further Judgments dealing with collective consultation.

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Risk of public belief did not justify anonymity

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In BBC v Roden the EAT has overturned a Tribunal decision which took into account the risk of public belief in the truth of unproven allegations of sexual harassment in an unfair dismissal claim in its decision extend an anonymity order. The EAT held that the public interest in open justice in such a case outweighed the individual’s right to a private life and that the anonymity order should not have been made.

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Establishment of discrimination – motivation of decision making

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CLFIS (UK) Limited v Reynolds, concerned consideration of the thought processes of those involved in the decision to dismiss an individual.

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