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Employment Law Journal: February 2011

A firm of insurance brokers has failed in its claim against a group of employees who joined a rival firm, reports Gary Freer

In recent years a many reported cases arising out of team moves, whether they concern claims for interim or final restraining orders or for damages, have produced outcomes favourable to the claimant employer from which the team has left or wishes to leave. The decision in Lonmar Global Risks Ltd v West & ors [2010] bucks that trend.

Helena Laughrin and Robin Wolfenden review the key employment-related recommendations in the government’s Equality Strategy

On 2 December 2010 the UK coalition government published The Equality Strategy: Building a Fairer Britain. The Strategy is designed to encompass more than just new legislation; it also serves the wider aim of promoting equality ‘through transparency and behaviour change’. The government intends to work with businesses, local communities, public services and others to promote social mobility, develop a fairer and more flexible labour market, encourage greater participation in public life and change culture and attitudes. A Ministerial Group on Equalities will oversee implementation and report annually on progress.

Mark Levine and Jennifer Millins examine the new rights to which agency workers will be entitled from this October

The Agency Workers Regulations 2010 (AWR) will come into force on 1 October 2011, whether businesses like it or not. Under the AWR, which apply to the relationship between temporary workers (temps), the agency they use to find work and the end user for whom they work (the hirer), temps will be entitled to equal access to facilities at work and offers of permanent employment at the hirer from the first day of each assignment. They will also be entitled to basic working conditions that are no less favourable than those enjoyed by workers hired directly by the hirer after 12 weeks.

The proposed merger of the courts and tribunals could make current dissatisfaction with the service even worse, argues Stephen Levinson

The plan to merge the court and tribunal services was originally announced by the then-justice secretary, Jack Straw, in March 2010. The press release said that a unified service held out the prospect of significant benefits to users.

David von Hagen looks at a recent EAT decision on whether employers can justify dismissing a worker to avoid paying enhanced pension benefits

The recent case of Woodcock v Cumbria Primary Care Trust [2010] considered the issue of whether, in certain circumstances, costs considerations can justify age discrimination.

The surge in the popularity of websites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn has brought with it new risks for employers, warn Andrew Taggart and Sarah Hitchins

What employees say and do online (whether during work hours or in their own time) can create a myriad of problems for employers. Employees may post negative comments or disclose confidential information about their employers on social-networking websites and, in some cases, employers may be found vicariously liable for employees’ online activities. Furthermore, employers may use the broad range of information that job applicants post on social-networking websites to vet candidates.


Keith Corkan summarises the findings of Will Hutton’s interim report on public sector pay

In early December, Will Hutton, the former head of the Work Foundation, issued his interim report on pay in the public sector and whether pay multiples should be introduced that could be applied outside the public sector.


Local authorities are considering an array of methods to cut employment costs following the Comprehensive Spending Review, including some innovative alternatives to mass layoffs, comments Mark Hammerton

Even before the government clarified the extent of planned public sector cutbacks on 20 October last year, it had been clear for many months that drastic measures were pending, but also that the public sector had already been taking major steps in anticipation. Understandably, the fear of job losses has been dominating the headlines (although on 29 November 2010 the Office of Budgetary Responsibility lowered its estimate of the number of public sector jobs to be lost from 490,000 to 330,000). However, a survey by Eversheds LLP last autumn revealed that local government employers had been scrutinising their operations to identify cost-saving opportunities other than redundancies for some time. For example, by October, nearly one third of those who responded to the survey had already imposed a recruitment freeze and a similar proportion had taken steps to change their working practices or terms and conditions of employment, with salaries and staff bonuses being most prominently affected.