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Employment Law Journal: June 2015

Christopher Tutton welcomes a new decision enabling tribunals to exclude evidence from discrimination cases if it is of only marginal relevance

The Court of Appeal recently gave judgment in Brighton and Sussex University Hospital NHS Trust v Kalu [2015]. The decision provides much needed appellate-level authority on the power of an employment tribunal to exclude background evidence when hearing discrimination cases, even though that evidence is ostensibly relevant to the issues in the case.

An employment tribunal has recently determined that it is necessary to add words into the Working Time Regulations 1998 to resolve a conflict over holiday pay in EU and domestic law. Rebecca McGuirk discusses the case

The cost of paid holiday is set to increase for employers following recent court decisions on what components of pay are to be included. The courts in a number of cases have looked at the issue of holiday pay and have ruled that it cannot be based on basic salary but rather must correspond to ‘normal remuneration’. If such items as commission and non-guaranteed payments are not taken into account then workers will be financially disadvantaged when taking holiday, as they will not earn such payments during the holiday period. In addition, workers may be reluctant to take the leave due to the drop in salary, which would be contrary to the Working Time Directive’s purpose.

David von Hagen reviews a recent case interpreting the amendments made two years ago to the law on public interest disclosures

The recent case of Chesterton Global Ltd t/a Chestertons v Mr M Nurmohamed [2015] revolved around the meaning of ‘in the public interest’ as it applies to protected disclosures in whistleblowing claims.

When should employers involve third-party organisations in workplace issues, ask Gwynneth Tan and Alex Newborough

Most employers have staff handbooks containing a range of employment policies which set out their internal procedures for dealing with workplace issues. Some organisations will also include guidelines on their approach to employees’ conduct outside the workplace and working hours where this is relevant to them. Generally, however, employment policies are inward looking and intended to regulate the relationship between employer and employee. As a result, employers are often troubled by the question of whether or when they need to involve third parties such as regulators or the police when certain conduct takes place, or come to light, in the work environment. Employers are often also unsure whether the nature or seriousness of a matter means that they must involve third-party organisations.

The decision in the long-running Woolworths case is good news for multi-site employers looking to restructure, writes Lydia Christie

In a return to previously established case law, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has confirmed that, for the purposes of collective redundancy consultation, an ‘establishment’ is the unit where workers are assigned to carry out their duties. The decision means that UK collective redundancy consultation obligations will not be triggered at employment units with fewer than 20 employees, even if 20 or more employees are being proposed as redundant across several sites of that business.

The High Court has established that the scope of collective bargaining in cases of compulsory trade union recognition is limited to core contractual terms on pay, hours and holidays, report Elizabeth Lang and Julian Bohm

In the United Kingdom, some employers are receptive to union involvement in their businesses and have voluntary agreements for collective bargaining on a wide range of matters. In the recent case of British Airline Pilots‘ Association v Jet2.com Ltd [2015], the issue for the High Court was to determine the scope of collective bargaining rights for a union where the statutory method was imposed in the absence of a voluntary agreement.

Fieldfisher

Richard Kenyon and Catherine Meredith analyse the impact of new legislation and recent developments in employment case law on preventing forced labour

On 25 March 1807, the Abolition of the Slave Trade Act entered the statute book, passed by a majority of 41 votes to 20 in the Lords and a majority of 114 to 15 in the Commons. That was a good start but in the 208 years since that date, slavery, servitude, forced or compulsory labour and human trafficking have, unfortunately, not been eradicated.