The Practical Lawyer


Disability – when did the employer know?

The duty to make reasonable adjustments only applies when an employer has actual or constructive knowledge of disability. One requirement needed to satisfy the definition of disability is that the condition is long-term, which means that it has lasted or is likely to last for at least 12 months. In a recent case the EAT considered when the duty to make reasonable adjustments had been triggered.

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ET fees – £16m still owing

In 2017 the SC ruled that ET fees, introduced by the government in 2013, were unlawful. This was on the basis that they were a barrier to access to the ET, particularly for employees on low incomes.
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Law firms – employment failures

Two law firms have recently failed to carry out required procedures when making employees redundant. The ET heard that one firm did not give proper warning or notice to staff that they were due to lose their jobs. Section 188 TULRCA 1992 requires that employers are under a duty to consult when they propose to make 20 or more employees redundant within 90 days or less. There had been no such consultation and the employees heard via text message that they should come into the office for a meeting.

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April 2019 – statutory compensation rate changes

On 6 April 2019 the annual increase to the compensation limit in the ET took effect as follows:

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National minimum wage – increases

From 1 April 2019 the NMW increased to:

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Sickness absence policy – suggested content

A useful article outlines how to create and maintain a sickness absence policy. It should start with an initial purpose statement telling employees why it is in place, what it hopes to achieve and which parts are contractual. The policy should differentiate between genuine sickness absence and instances where absence will be a disciplinary matter, eg when employees are repeatedly late for work for reasons not linked to illness. The policy should cover the following topics:

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Suspending an employee – practical considerations

Before suspending an employee, employers and their advisers should bear in mind the following:

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Suspension – no breach of trust and confidence

The CA has held that when an employer has reasonable and proper cause to suspend an employee, it will not breach the implied term of trust and confidence. An employer does not also need to demonstrate that the suspension was necessary.

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Gender pay gap – guidance

From 2017, any organisation that has 250 or more employees must publish and report specific figures about their gender pay gap.

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ET – proving race discrimination

The CA has reaffirmed the test for proving race discrimination, and the process the ET must follow in deciding whether an allegation is well founded.

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Most-read articles

Power of attorney – validity
Wednesday, 12 June 2019
The powers of attorney in a recent case were granted in the context of a share sale, but private client practitioners will benefit from the clarity given by the court on the validity and execution of... Read more...
LeO – VAT and costs information
Wednesday, 12 June 2019
We have reported above that LeO has issued updated costs guidance. Costs complaints often involve disputes above whether VAT was included in the price. The updated guidance states that VAT is often... Read more...
Firm reprimanded – poor language
Wednesday, 12 June 2019
Solicitors are reminded that they are officers of the court at all times and are expected to maintain an appropriate level of courtesy throughout their professional dealings. Read more...
Group action – stays in Liverpool
Wednesday, 12 June 2019
It is interesting to note that the High Court has refused to transfer a multibillion-pound class action from Liverpool to London. The action involves some 200,000 claimants who are suing a mining... Read more...
Fixed recoverable costs – payable if £25k limit exceeded
Wednesday, 12 June 2019
Fixed recoverable costs (FRC) prescribe the amount of damages that can be claimed back from a losing party in civil litigation; they are a way of controlling the legal costs by giving certainty in... Read more...
Section 21 notice – amended form introduced
Wednesday, 12 June 2019
Under Housing Act 1988 an s21 notice gives L an automatic right of possession without having to give any grounds once the fixed term has expired. The notice cannot be used to gain possession during... Read more...
RV – can demand be assumed?
Wednesday, 12 June 2019
To calculate the rateable value (RV) of a property, a valuation officer (VO) must work out what the open market rent would be for the property by applying the rating hypothesis. The purpose is to... Read more...
Proprietary estoppel – successful claim
Wednesday, 12 June 2019
Proprietary estoppel is a remedy which prevents the legal owner of a property from asserting their strict legal right in relation to that property when it would be unconscionable to allow him to do... Read more...
Children – care plans
Wednesday, 12 June 2019
What is the court’s approach where there is an impasse with the LA regarding an important element in a care plan? In this case, the CA found that the trial judge’s invitation to the LA to... Read more...
ET fees – £16m still owing
Wednesday, 12 June 2019
In 2017 the SC ruled that ET fees, introduced by the government in 2013, were unlawful. This was on the basis that they were a barrier to access to the ET, particularly for employees on low incomes. Read more...


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