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Employment Law Journal: February 2013

Alice Giner examines the implications of two recent High Court cases on whether employers could rely on business protection provisions in contracts that had not been updated properly

Businesses will usually update employees contracts of employment when they are promoted or their roles otherwise change. Business protection provisions in the form of restrictive covenants may also need to be promptly and effectively updated to reflect the employee’s new role. In two recent cases, the High Court has considered whether employers could rely on their restrictive covenants against former employees where the updating of their written contracts upon promotion was deficient.

Oliver Spratt compares the enforceability of post-termination restrictions in the UK, Europe and the US

It has become increasingly common for multinational companies to try to implement employment policies that apply to all of their employees throughout the world. In recent years, we have also started to notice a trend of clients looking to adopt a ‘one size fits all’ approach to post-termination restrictive covenants. There are difficulties in implementing a global form of restrictive covenants, however, as the rules governing enforceability may vary in the different jurisdictions. This article will briefly examine the basic rules governing enforceability of post-termination restrictions (focusing in particular on non-competition covenants) in the UK, Germany, France, the Netherlands and the US, noting in particular the main similarities and differences in each of these jurisdictions.

Fieldfisher

The government has failed to address many of the concerns highlighted during the consultation on shares for rights, finds James Warren

Unheralded, it was the most radical government proposal for employment law reform of last year. George Osborne’s October 2012 announcement of a new form of employment status, the ‘employee owner’, was a surprise, but it immediately garnered enormous interest. However, the hasty consultation that followed showed that business and employee concerns far outweighed any enthusiasm it might have generated. An overwhelming 92% of respondents had mixed or negative views about the anticipated take-up of employee-owner status and, among others, the submission of the Employment Lawyers Association (ELA) set out a raft of issues that it suggested needed further consideration.

In light of the government’s acceptance of the Nuttall Review recommendations, Robert Postlethwaite looks at the practicalities of how to give employees a stake in their company

Employee share ownership has been much in the news in the past year with a government push to increase its scope. This article looks at recent policy developments, and then considers the main issues for companies considering an employee share plan and how they might address them.

Andrea Finn considers the impact of halving the minimum period for consulting on large-scale redundancies

On 18 December 2012, the UK government published its response to its consultation on reforms to the UK regime on collective redundancies, focusing in particular on the minimum required period of consultation with employee representatives. The government has concluded that the minimum period of consultation for redundancies of 100 or more employees in any establishment, where the relevant period is currently 90 days, will be reduced to 45 days. The change is due to come into effect on 6 April 2013. Draft legislation should be published by early February.

Mark Kaye reviews a recent case on when the exemption for a single specific event or task of short-term duration is triggered

When the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 1981 (TUPE) were amended in 2006, one of the key changes was the introduction of the concept of a service provision change. This was designed to deal specifically with outsourcing-type situations and to create greater certainty about TUPE’s application to such arrangements.

Failing to follow the correct procedure for dismissing an employee can mean that the employment contract continues, with potentially costly consequences, warns Tom Custance

On 19 December 2012 the Supreme Court delivered its judgment in Société Générale, London Branch v Geys. The case highlights a number of important issues on the termination of employment contracts.

An employee who joined a rival firm was not entitled to claim benefits designed to secure his loyalty, reports Gary Freer

The High Court has rejected an attempt to apply the contractual doctrine of penalties to a compromise agreement that allowed a departing employee, subject to conditions, to retain the benefit of unvested bonus units worth approximately £1.7m. The case, Imam-Sadeque v Bluebay Asset Management (Services) Ltd [2012], is also an example of how judges are defining the scope of the contractual duty of fidelity.