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Employment Law Journal: December 2013/January 2014

Sarah Parkin rounds up the key legal developments and cases that employment law practitioners need to be aware of next year

In 2013, employment practitioners had to get to grips with a multitude of legislative changes, including the passage of the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (the Enterprise Act) and the introduction of new employment tribunal rules. While 2014 will not see quite as many changes on the legislative front, a number of significant Enterprise Act provisions are still due to come into force, and there are also some important Supreme Court and Court of Appeal cases on the horizon.

Instant dismissal is rarely the best way forward for an employer that suspects an employee of fraud or wrongdoing; procedure is key, warns Catrina Smith

As the UK workplace becomes more regulated, employers face a growing range of issues when dealing with employees who may be involved in fraud or misconduct. This involves not only considering the employment relationship but also the issues that may arise when third parties, such as regulators, are involved. This article will consider some of those issues.

Helen Cookson and Anna Scott review recent UK and European decisions on age equality

Age discrimination is a key issue for employers at the moment. It has been the subject of a number of recent decisions dealing with the justification of direct age discrimination in the context of enhanced redundancy payments, pension contributions, pay protection schemes and permanent health insurance (PHI) benefits. This article considers recent case law and asks if there is a trend for employers to be able to rely on cost to justify age discrimination, an argument traditionally rejected in relation to other protected characteristics.

Nicola Bartholomew and Heather Shallow explore how far the duty of fidelity extends when an employee is preparing to compete

As the economic recovery slowly takes hold, it remains vital that employers are able to protect their legitimate business interests. This can be an issue of particular importance when it comes to competing businesses and departing employees. While the express terms of an employee’s contract will play a large part, employers will also often look to rely on implied contractual terms to protect their business. In this regard, the duty of fidelity is arguably the most important.

Mark Kaye considers a recent EAT decision on an employer’s ability to impose conditions on the right to be accompanied

Section 10 of the Employment Relations Act 1999 (the Act) provides workers with the right to be accompanied at a disciplinary or grievance hearing by a trade union representative or a colleague. The Act also prescribes in some detail what is meant by a trade union representative.

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.

Alex MacMahon provides an overview of the activities business visitors are permitted to carry out, the restrictions placed on them and the consequences of non-compliance with the legal regimes

In recent months, those entering the UK as business visitors appear to have faced an increased level of scrutiny by the UK immigration authorities. With the civil penalty for illegal working in the UK expected to increase in early 2014 to £20,000 per illegal worker, it is more important than ever for UK employers to be mindful of the distinction between a business visit and ‘work’ to avoid civil and/or criminal penalties for illegal employment.