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Last updateTue, 24 Feb 2015 5pm

Taylor Wessing LLP

Taylor Wessing LLP

Colin Godfrey and Michael Chattle share their tips on how to manage the competing rights to privacy of employees who bring a grievance, colleagues they make an allegation against and witnesses

Handling employee grievances can be tricky. By its very nature, a grievance will involve matters personal to the employee. This will make the management of confidentiality a significant and challenging part of the grievance process.

The rise of independent contractors and Uber-style working models is posing a challenge for policy makers and law courts around the world, explains Sean Nesbitt

The US is awash with stories of the end of the lifetime career and the economic security that came with it. Its feared replacement is a new economy in which businesses are intent on recasting full-time employees into contractors, freelancers and temporary workers. It is an economic transformation that promises greater flexibilities and efficiencies for workers and businesses alike: but at what cost?

Three recent cases highlight some of the tricky situations that employers face when dealing with employees who have a disability, reports Rachel Farr

Disability is one of the personal characteristics protected under the Equality Act 2010. Workers with disabilities are protected from direct and indirect discrimination, harassment and victimisation, and discrimination arising from disability. In addition, their employers are under a duty to make reasonable adjustments where a disabled person would otherwise be at a substantial disadvantage compared to those who do not have that disability.

Will the government’s plans to simplify the tax treatment of termination payments really make the system easier to understand, asks Rachel Farr

On 24 July, HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and the Treasury launched a consultation paper, Simplification of the tax and National Insurance treatment of termination payments. The consultation closed on 16 October.

In light of recent case law, Stephanie Creed considers ways to minimise the risk of reputational damage to organisations from comments posted online by employees

As employers and employees alike increasingly use social media as a business tool, so the line between public and private becomes ever more blurred. Twitter is a particularly good example of this. In 2007, 400,000 tweets were posted each quarter; by 2012, over 100 million users were posting over 340 million tweets per day. It is now not only a social networking service, but a professional and business tool which can form an integral part of a business’s brand and strategy.

With no clear incentive for employers and employees to enter into genuine settlement discussions, James Watkins, Kathryn Clapp and Rachel Farr question how effective the new early conciliation regime will be

Perhaps the most intriguing of the radical changes to the employment tribunal system introduced under the coalition government is the recent introduction of mandatory early conciliation. Prospective claimants have been required since 6 May 2014 to refer a complaint to Acas for early conciliation before they instigate employment tribunal proceedings. The primary objective of this measure is to encourage dialogue between the parties at the very outset of a dispute before it reaches litigation, with the aim of reducing the burden on employment tribunals. Any claim lodged in an employment tribunal must now include a unique early conciliation certificate number, and without this reference the claim will not be permitted to proceed.

Rachel Farr considers when an employer is liable for the actions of its employees

An employer is liable for the torts of an employee where the acts in question took place ‘in the course of employment’ and there is a sufficient connection between that employment and the acts concerned. This is the case even if the employer has done nothing wrong.

The rise of LinkedIn is leading to disputes over the ownership of the account and related information, reports Roy Horgan

The use of social media has exploded in recent years. LinkedIn alone has over 238m users in over 200 countries and territories. Indeed, it is estimated that two new users join LinkedIn every second. With the increasing use of social media by businesses and employees, disputes are becoming more common, and many organisations are only now beginning to regulate the use of such sites by their employees.

A recent case brought by a dismissed golf club secretary has reaffirmed how difficult it is to argue that a tribunal’s ruling was perverse, explains Declan Bradley

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has recently held that if a tribunal could have correctly decided either way on the facts whether there was a genuine redundancy or not, its decision will not be perverse so long as it considers the opposing contentions adequately.

With employers divided about the benefits of working from home, Roy Horgan and Rachel Farr discuss what the law has to say on the issue

Developments in technology have drastically changed working styles over the past 20 years. Whether it be checking emails remotely by Blackberry, logging in from a home PC or working from a company laptop on the train while commuting, it is becoming more and more common that employees spend part (or indeed all) of their working time out of the office.

Kate Buchanan reviews the key points of the Trusts (Capital and Income) Act 2013

The Trusts (Capital and Income) Act 2013 (the Act) received royal assent on 31 January 2013. The Act gives effect, subject to minor modifications, to the recommendations made in the Law Commission’s 2009 report (no 315), ‘Capital and Income in Trusts: Classification and Apportionment’, which, in turn, built upon an earlier consultation by the Law Commission in 2004 (no 175).

The Court of Appeal has criticised employers for suspending employees as soon as a complaint is made, without considering whether this is really justified, write Andrew Granger and Chris Cooper

A recent Court of Appeal case has provided helpful clarification on an employer’s duty to think carefully before suspending an employee or referring matters to the police. It also highlights the importance of acting ‘reasonably’ in disciplinary cases where the consequences for an employee’s career could be at stake.

Setting aside court orders concerning payment from one party to another can be risky, as David de Ferrars explains

The recent decision of the Court of Appeal in Independent Trustee Services Ltd v Susan Morris [2012] raises interesting questions for trust and estate practitioners about the setting aside of a court order that concerned the payment of money from one party to another. In this case the order concerned was one made in matrimonial proceedings. The case shows that, in law, there is no absolute rule that a bona fide purchaser for value gets title, and that there are risks attached to having court orders for a money payment set aside.

The government’s proposal to extend the period of service required to bring an unfair dismissal claim could have a damaging effect on both employers and employees, warn Paul Callaghan and Christopher Cooper

On 3 October 2011, the chancellor, George Osborne, announced that the continuous-service qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims will double from one year to two years from April 2012. We are still awaiting the draft regulations, but the proposed reform has received a mixed reaction from business and could have a detrimental impact on both employers and employees.

In the light of the Law Society’s recent practice note, Kirstie McGuigan considers what you should tell your client before being appointed as an executor

On 17 March 2011 the Law Society issued a practice note on the appointment of a professional executor. This note was clearly inspired by the Solicitors Regulation Authority’s (SRA) published responses to ‘Questions of Ethics’ in May 2010. The key theme running through both the recent practice note and the SRA’s responses is the duty of solicitors to act in the best interests of the client and to ensure that the client is fully informed of all the facts before making any decision.

New HMRC rules could be used by employers as a negotiating tool when making payments to departing executives, reports Ann Casey

On 6 April 2011, the Income Tax (Pay As You Earn) Regulations 2003 were amended, introducing the ‘0T’ tax code to be applied in certain circumstances, including payments made to ex-employees after a P45 has been issued. This affects employees who receive taxable termination payments after they receive their P45. A taxable termination payment is either one that is a contractual payment that is taxable (such as a contractual payment in lieu of notice), or is a non-contractual ex-gratia termination payment above the £30,000 exemption. This change does not affect the general tax treatment of termination payments and the £30,000 exemption.