Last updateTue, 24 Feb 2015 5pm

Claire Helling of Shoosmiths examines the potential legal issues for employers when extreme weather or industrial action prevent employees from travelling to work

The long-running Southern rail strikes have caused severe disruption for those without any alternative travel options and there have even been reports of people losing their jobs because they have been unable to get to work. The industrial action has now spread to the Northern and Merseyside rail networks, with storms and lines blocked by a collapsed wall and derailed freight train having added to commuters’ woes in recent months.

Although their ability to strike may be curtailed, the trade unions appear to be finding new ways to challenge employers, argue Laura Garner and Will Winch

Last month, key provisions of the Trade Union Act 2016 (TUA) took effect against a backdrop of long-running rail strikes and a flurry of court cases brought by the unions.

Following the recent parliamentary inquiry into high heels and dress codes, Jonathan Iyer considers how employers can avoid sex discrimination when drawing up standards for personal appearance in the workplace

A dress code can have a number of benefits for an employer. It can allow it to communicate a corporate image or standardise its brand. It can help to instil trust and confidence in the business, projecting an image of professionalism and trustworthiness. Other considerations include health and safety and removing uncertainty about which items of clothing are, or are not, acceptable in a particular workplace environment. A dress code may also foster a culture of belonging.

A recent European decision does not give employers carte blanche to ban symbols of Islamic faith in the workplace, warns Paul Kelly

The topic of dress in the workplace is one that only occasionally makes the headlines. But, when it does, it generates controversy. Do you remember DWP v Thompson [2004], in which a male employee unsuccessfully tried to show that requiring men to wear ties at work was discriminatory? More recently there was the case of Nicola Thorpe, who was sent home from work because, in contravention of her employer’s dress code, she was not wearing high heels (see article on p08).

Jo Broadbent rounds up recent case law and developments affecting employers and their advisers

A recent decision highlights the importance of limiting the scope of mobility clauses to what is reasonable, report Nicola Ihnatowicz and Anna Scott

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has considered the use of mobility clauses in redundancy situations in the recent case of Kellogg Brown & Root (UK) Ltd v Fitton and Ewer [2016]. The decision makes it clear that although using a mobility clause may enable an employer to avoid dismissing employees for redundancy, the manner in which it is exercised must be reasonable.

Following Lloyd’s of London’s ban on drinking during the working day, Stephen Levinson explains the legal and practical issues surrounding the introduction of a drug and alcohol policy

The decision by Lloyd’s of London to introduce a drinking ban in working hours created worldwide publicity. Perhaps it was the public perception of how business is conducted in the City, outdated though that may be, that caused such interest. The nature of the Lloyd’s decision and the way it was implemented certainly provide some pointers, both positive and negative, for those considering a similar step. The purpose of this article is to provide some guidance to those thinking of amending their current policy or introducing one afresh. This review covers both drink and drugs.

In light of recent case law, Stephen Ravenscroft and Sarah Taylor discuss the importance of using clear wording when drawing up a settlement agreement

Settlement agreements are a very useful tool for an employer. They normally draw a line under the employment relationship and provide certainty that an employee will not bring any employment-related claims. Such an agreement is often used to reach a full and final settlement of any claims which the employee has or may have arising out of the employment and its termination, subject to certain exceptions such as claims for personal injury or accrued pension rights.