When ‘Banter’ crosses over into abuse

“It’s just a bit of bants!” If you work in any kind of environment, from an office to a building site, you’ll be familiar with the term ‘banter’. It’s that humorous back and forth we all use to make the day a little brighter, to have a joke and a laugh with our colleagues, and to generally brighten up what can be a mundane working environment. But......

If it’s broke, be sure to fix it

In August 2018, the Government announced a crackdown on rogue directors seeking to trade insolvent companies. With high profile businesses still dominating the headlines for poor financial performance, Alexander Curnow looks at the employee risks involved. So, what do you do when business isn’t going great and investors aren’t willing to prop it u......

“Are pre-termination negotiations admissible as evidence in unfair dismissal claims?”

In 2013 the Government introduced the concept of a “protected conversation” under section 111A of the Employment Rights Act 1996.Section 111A allows an employer or employee to make an offer to end the employment relationship on a confidential basis, and that offer cannot then be used as evidence before an employment tribunal in an unfair dismissal......

When “it’s just office banter” might be a defence

The case of Evans v Xactly Corporation Limited considered questions of disability and race discrimination, with the Claimant bringing proceedings for a number of breaches of the Equality Act 2010. The Claimant relied on the protected characteristic of disability as a result of his type 1 diabetes, and the protected characteristic of race......

“Is it directly discriminatory, either on grounds of sexual orientation or religious belief, for a bakery to refuse to supply a cake iced with the message “support gay marriage” because of the religious belief of its owners?”

No was the answer of the Supreme Court to this question in the case of Lee v Ashers Baking Company Ltd and Others, in the judgment handed down on 10 October 2018. The facts Mr and Mrs McArthur have owned Ashers Baking Company Ltd since 1992 and are practicing Christians. Mr Lee is a gay man who volunteers for an organisation called QueerSpace......

Employment Tribunal statistics show a 165% increase in claims from the same quarter last year

The provisional Employment Tribunal statistics have been released for April – June 2018 and show, in particular, the following points of interest: claim receipts for single claims are up 165% on the same quarter last year, which was the final full quarter that fees were still in place12,400 payments have been made back to claimants in respect of......

Settlement agreements: what do employees need to know?

If your employer offers you a Settlement Agreement, deciding whether to accept can be daunting. Ashtons employment law experts, Alex Curnow and Claire Sleep, offer some practical advice to consider. What is a Settlement Agreement? A Settlement Agreement is a legally binding agreement, usually entered into on the termination of employment, between......

Maternity leave – your rights

Maternity leave is an important period for all working mums. It gives women an opportunity to prepare for the birth, then bond with and care for the child during the first days, weeks, and months of its life. Here, we take a look at what rights you have when it comes to organising and taking maternity leave. Who is eligible for maternity leave?......

Court of Appeal decides on Minimum Wage for Sleep-In Shifts

In a significant decision for the care sector, the Court of Appeal has ruled that care workers who work sleep-in shifts are only entitled to the National Minimum wage for periods during which they are awake and required to be available for work. In the case of Royal Mencap Society v Tomlinson-Blake, Mrs Tomlinson-Blake was a care support worker fo......

A dress code to impress….and avoid sex discrimination

A dress code may seem archaic, stringent or unnecessary to many people. However, it can be a powerful tool in creating a particular image of a workplace, which is integral to many professions. How the outside world e.g. clients see us will, whether consciously or not, impact a decision to instruct us. This May, the Government Equalities Office re......

The hidden disability: when mental health affects employee wellbeing

Mental Health Awareness Week - 14th-20th May 2018 – is an opportunity for employers to revisit current practices and to see if their policy and culture match up to best practice The taboo of talking about mental health has started to shift, following several high-profile campaigns, but many employers are keeping quiet and avoiding conversatio......

Taxation of Termination Payments from 6 April 2018

In limited circumstances, Employers have previously been able to add an incentive for employees considering settlement agreements by paying in lieu of notice (PILON) without attracting tax and national insurance contributions. In a bid to close this perceived loophole, the tax rules have changed as of 6 April 2018. Changes as of 6 April 2018 If......

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Is veganism about to become a 'philosophical belief' and therefore a protected characteristic under the Equality Ac… https://t.co/UNaN0BB5EH
Another #worker status case - @AddisonLeeCabs have just lost their appeal in the Employment Appeal Tribunal, who ag… https://t.co/BPXADHee9U
Office banter or #discrimination claim waiting to happen? See @j_piper1 's article on recent case law in this area: https://t.co/6BvOSlSvTJ