When Does Notice of Termination Take Effect?

Exactly when notice of termination takes effect can impact on an employee's entitlement to certain benefits or employment rights. In the absence of an express term in the employee's contract, if they are dismissed in writing and the letter is posted to their home address, when does the notice period commence? Does it run from when the letter would have been delivered in the ordinary course of…

The "Final Straw" and Constructive Dismissal

It is an implied term of any contract of employment that an employer should not act in a way that is likely to destroy or seriously damage the trust and confidence which an employee can expect from them.

A serious breach of an implied contractual term or the 'final straw' in a series of less serious actions which cumulatively undermine an employee's trust and confidence in their employer…

Manufacturing Company Fined for Exposing Employees to Hardwood Dust

A furniture manufacturer has been fined for breaches of health and safety law after an investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) revealed that its employees had been exposed to significant quantities of hardwood dust, a hazardous substance which can cause occupational asthma and cancer, particularly of the nose.

Employees at Andrena Furniture Limited's workshop premises in…

Dealing With Employee References

Contrary to popular belief, except in certain sectors (e.g. education and financial services), employers are not legally obliged to provide those who leave their employment with a reference unless they have given express agreement to do so. Where a reference is given, the employer has a duty of care to the departing employee and to their prospective employer to ensure that the information provided…

Court of Appeal Gives Guidance on Time Limits in Employment Cases

Employment cases are subject to tight time limits, and delay in seeking legal advice can result in meritorious claims being dismissed without a hearing. However, in an important decision, the Court of Appeal has underlined the wide and unfettered discretion of Employment Tribunals (ETs) to extend time in deserving cases (Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Local Health Board v Morgan).

The…

Constructive Knowledge of Disability

The duty to make reasonable adjustments for employees who are disabled is only triggered if the employer has actual knowledge or could reasonably be expected to know (has 'constructive knowledge') of the disability. In deciding whether or not an employer had constructive knowledge of an employee's disability, an Employment Tribunal (ET) must reach a decision based on the facts, and its ruling cannot…

Compensation for Injury to Feelings - When is Tax Payable

Where appropriate, those who suffer unlawful discrimination in the workplace are entitled to be compensated for injury to their feelings and such payments are exempt from Income Tax. What is the situation, however, where a settlement agreed on termination of employment includes an amount specifically related to injury to feelings?

A recent Court of Appeal decision (Moorthy v HM Revenue…

Can Offering Enhanced Maternity Pay Benefits Constitue Indirect Discrimination?

Is it discriminatory that the only option for men taking time off to care for their new-born children is Shared Parental Leave (SPL), payable at the statutory rate of pay, when women colleagues qualify for maternity leave on full pay? The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) considered that vexed question in a guideline case (Hextall v Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police).

The case concerned…

Bicycle Courier Wins "Worker" Status and Right to Holiday Pay

The legal status of the army of people who work in the so-called 'gig economy' is the subject of much debate. However, in a ruling that goes a long way to clarifying the position, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that a bicycle courier is a 'worker', within the meaning of the Working Time Regulations 1998, and is thus entitled to holiday pay (Addison Lee Limited v Gascoigne).

The…

Who Took the Cash?

One of the oddest arguments in the courts in recent weeks was one which came up in a divorce case, in which a husband and wife each claimed that the other had been the person who in March 2013 had taken out more than a third of a million pounds in cash from the wife's bank account before they split up.

The husband claimed that the wife had withdrawn the cash unilaterally. The wife claimed that…