The Practical Lawyer


Employee capability policy – suggested content

According to ACAS, poor performance is raised as an issue in 90% of disciplinary hearings. Employers often delay taking steps to address underperformance and then lose confidence in the employee and wish to dismiss them promptly.
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Drug tests – procedure inadequate

The article above mentions an ET case which it describes as ‘a splendid example of what not to do’! The claimant had worked as a bus driver from 1996 until his dismissal in 2017. He was randomly drug tested using a saliva test that tested positive for cocaine. He contended that the decision to dismiss him for failing a drug test was procedurally and substantively unfair. He contended that the employer failed to adopt a fair procedure and he made specific complaints as follows:
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Drugs and alcohol – managing in the workplace

An interesting article reminds employers to review their drugs and alcohol policies and breaches of them in the light of recent developments. Businesses are increasingly expected to support employees who have a drug or alcohol problem, rather than take immediate disciplinary action.
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Employee – status

 A continuing theme in ET cases is that of employment status. An article considers three recent cases which do not break new legal ground but do show a continuing direction of travel. The authors make the point that the sheer variety of claimants and the changing nature of modern working relationships mean that it is difficult put an individual into one of the three categories of either employee, worker or independent contractor with any certainty.
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Informal partnership – solicitors beware

Law firms have traditionally been set up using the partnership model. A recent ET case highlights the risks to firms of failing to conclude arrangements and properly identify the status of those working within the firm. The ET heard a case in which a solicitor had been an employee for six years with a firm during which time the business was taken over. The solicitor approached her senior partner regarding a promotion. An exchange of emails referred to an ‘informal’ partnership structure as a result of which the solicitor drafted a fresh partnership agreement but this was never signed by the parties. The solicitor completed a tax return on the basis of self-employment and was held out as a partner and had management involvement. She was not involved in matters relating to the partnership’s accountants.
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Internal investigation - copy to police?

If there are allegations of misconduct, what happens if an employer hands over its own internal investigation notes to the police? Will that be a breach of the implied duty of trust and confidence?

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Philosophical belief - scope extended?

The Equality Act 2010 provides protection against discrimination based on nine characteristics, one of which is any religious or philosophical belief. Not all religions or beliefs are covered by the Act. Whether a particular religion or belief attracts protection will generally be determined by the courts.

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Employment law changes - April 2020

A number of important changes in relation to employment law are due to come into force on 6 April 2020 as part of the government's 'Good Work Plan'.

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Agency workers - changes to rights

In addition to the changes mentioned above, we have reported in recent editions on changes to employment rights and practices including:

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Most-read articles

Inheritance claims – interim payments
Wednesday, 09 October 2019
When can the court exercise its statutory power to award interim payments to a claimant under the Inheritance Act? This issue rarely comes before the court and the author of this article highlights... Read more...
Refund entitlement – taxable amount not reduced
Wednesday, 09 October 2019
In their monthly VAT update, EY report on a case that will be interesting to lawyers as the facts involved an SDLT avoidance scheme (perhaps unsurprisingly, the four companies involved are in... Read more...
Costs – challenge promptly
Friday, 04 October 2019
Litigation solicitors will no doubt breathe a sigh of relief to note that a costs judge has refused a claimant’s application to challenge a solicitor’s bill that was agreed and approved over four... Read more...
Serving overseas – check the rules
Friday, 04 October 2019
 It might sound obvious, but if a firm is instructed to serve proceedings overseas, the firm must ensure that the rules of service in the relevant country are properly observed. The CA recently... Read more...
Pet rent – permissible
Friday, 04 October 2019
The excellent Pain Smith blog reminds us about the Tenant Fees Act 2019 (which we reported on in our previous editions – March 2019 (p27) and May 2019 (p28)). The Act outlaws letting fees paid by... Read more...
Brexit frustration – update
Friday, 04 October 2019
We reported in our April 2019 edition (p27) on the interesting case where the HC had to consider whether potential departure by the UK from the EU was sufficient to satisfy the legal meaning of... Read more...
Fixtures – what passes on sale of land?
Friday, 04 October 2019
Property lawyers will recall their land law, which states that fixtures can pass on the sale of land but fittings do not. This can be seen as an archaic distinction – but a recent HC case has... Read more...
Parents – gender
Thursday, 03 October 2019
 A definition of the term ‘mother’ has been established for the first time under English common law in a landmark case. At issue was: where a person born female who has undergone gender... Read more...
Drugs and alcohol – managing in the workplace
Thursday, 03 October 2019
An interesting article reminds employers to review their drugs and alcohol policies and breaches of them in the light of recent developments. Businesses are increasingly expected to support employees... Read more...
Terrorism – notice of detention
Thursday, 03 October 2019
A revised notice of detention which examining officers must provide to someone detained under Schedule 7 to the Terrorism Act 2000 has been published by the government. The notice gives information... Read more...


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