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20 October 2016 0 Comments Posted in Business Barometer, Features

Oxfordshire Business Barometer – issue 22 [October 2016]

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The Oxfordshire Business Barometer is a quarterly survey designed to provide an insight into what it’s like to do business in the county, showcase best practice and highlight some of the challenges. It is run by Royds Withy King in partnership …

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26 May 2016 0 Comments Posted in Uncategorized

Discipline for imposing religious views was not discriminatory

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In Wasteney v East London NHS Foundation Trust the EAT has upheld a Tribunal decision that disciplinary action taken against a Christian senior manager for imposing her religious views on a Muslim junior employee was not discriminatory. The junior employee complained that she felt the manager was “grooming” her by praying with her and inviting her to church services. The Tribunal and the EAT found that the employer was entitled to consider this serious misconduct, namely the blurring of the professional boundaries and the subjection of a junior colleague to improper pressure and unwanted conduct.

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Information versus allegation in whistleblowing

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In Kilraine v London Borough of Wandsworth the EAT had to decide whether the distinction between “information” and “an allegation” could remain good law in the whistleblowing legislation. The EAT determined that it could not.

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“Corresponding date” rule applies to extension of time for early conciliation

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In Tanveer v East London Bus and Coach Company Limited, the EAT has held that the “corresponding date” rule set down by the House of Lords (as it then was) in Dodds v Walker applies when calculating the extension of time given to a prospective Claimant under the early conciliation rules. On the facts of the case, where the Claimant received the certificate on the 30th June the extension of time under Section 207B (4) of the Employment Rights Act meant that the claim had to be presented by the 30th July. The chronology was as follows:-

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Dismissal for taking bribe was fair

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In Blake v Home Office an Employment Tribunal has held that an employer was right to dismiss an employee for taking a bribe even though she subsequently informed her employer of the fact.

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Dismissal of long serving teacher not discriminatory

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In Bethnal Green and Shoreditch Education Trust v Dippenaar the EAT has upheld a Tribunal decision that a long serving teacher, who was managed out of her employment because she was more expensive to employ than a new recruit, was unfairly constructively dismissed. However, the Tribunal was wrong to find that her treatment amounted to indirect age discrimination. It was not able to establish a practice that put those in the age group of the teacher concerned at a particular disadvantage compared to a group of younger teachers; or that those in the teacher’s age group had actually suffered a particular disadvantage by the application of such a practice.

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Dropbox is not acceptable to lodge appeals

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In Majekodunmi v City Facilities Management UK Limited and others the EAT has held that lodging documents by a Dropbox is not a valid method of serving them.

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21 April 2016 0 Comments Posted in Uncategorized

Refusal to extend PHI cover not discriminatory

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In Smith v Gartner UK Limited the EAT has upheld an Employment Tribunal decision to strike out an employee’s claim for unlawful deduction from wages and direct age discrimination. When the employee reached 60 years old the employer ended payments under the PHI scheme because these were the terms of the policy when she first claimed the benefit in 2003. The employer had introduced a new scheme in 2007 which covered eligible employees up to age of 65 but the Claimant was not eligible under the terms of that scheme as she was not working immediately before putting in the claim. The EAT considered that the Tribunal was correct to find that the contractual documentation only required the employer to provide a PHI scheme and not to make further payments to the employee if payments were not made by the insurer. A decision not to cover the Claimant beyond 60 was the insurer’s decision and not the employer’s and there was therefore no direct age discrimination by the employer.

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Protected disclosure and public interest

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In Morgan v Royal Mencap Society the EAT has overturned an Employment Tribunal decision to strike out the employee’s claims relating to protected disclosures. The Claimant claimed that complaints about cramped working conditions posed a risk to her health and safety and as such were protected disclosures. The Tribunal struck out these claims at a Preliminary Hearing because there was no evidence from the Claimant that she believed that the disclosure was in the public interest. Therefore the Tribunal held that the claim must fail.

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PILON payment taxable as termination payment

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An interesting case has come before the First Tier Tribunal; that of Michael Philips v HMRC. It concerned the correct taxation of a payment in lieu of notice in a Settlement Agreement. There was no contractual right to a PILON clause and it was not made to compromise an amicable unforced termination. Instead, the First Tier Tribunal found that the payment was taxable as a termination payment rather than as earnings for employment, and was compensation for the release of the tax payer’s contractual rights to notice. Applying the case of Henley v Murray (Inspector of Taxes) it considered that this was a damages payment and therefore fell to be taxed under Section 401 of the Income Tax (Earnings and Pensions) Act 2003 as a termination payment.

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Caution against raising written concerns to employee on sick leave

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In a case which sounds a cautionary note to employers about writing to employees on sick leave, the case of Private Medicine Intermediaries Limited and others v Hodkinson is an EAT decision upholding the decision of the Employment Tribunal that the employer writing to the employee while she was on sick leave for work related stress, raising concerns about her employment which were neither serious nor urgent, was in repudiatory breach of the implied term of mutual trust and confidence and the employee had been constructively dismissed.

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£70 million negligence claim caught by Settlement Agreement

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In Khanty-Mansiysk Recoveries Limited v Forsters LLP the Commercial Court, in the trial of a preliminary issue, has held that a negligence claim worth more than £70 million against the Defendant firm of solicitors was captured by the terms of a Settlement Agreement in relation to a dispute connected to unpaid invoices. On its proper construction, the Court held that the Settlement Agreement had much wider scope than the particular dispute which existed between the parties when it was executed.

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