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Employment Law Journal: May 2013

The results of a recent survey are revealed by Simon Rice-Birchall

When the Labour government introduced legislation in 2006 prohibiting age discrimination, one of its most controversial decisions was to include a provision that would allow employers to retire employees against their wishes when they reached the age of 65. Immediately, the charity Age UK launched judicial review proceedings, arguing that the default retirement age (DRA), as the exemption had become known, contravened the Equal Treatment Framework Directive 2000/78/EC. Ultimately, Blake J in the High Court found that the DRA was valid (R (on the application of Age UK) v Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills [2009]). But although Age UK had lost the battle, it won the war. For Blake J made it clear that if the government had not recently said it was reviewing the continued existence of the default retirement age, the outcome of the case would have been different, adding: ‘I cannot presently see how 65 could remain as a DRA after the review.’

Jo Broadbent looks at what approach the tribunals are taking to employees’ new-found ability to gather evidence secretly on their smartphones and how employers should respond

Employee monitoring is generally understood to refer to a situation in which an employer is monitoring the activities of its workers. However, with the rise in the number of smartphones and other electronic devices in the workplace, employers are beginning to find that the boot is sometimes on the other foot. It is becoming increasingly common for an employee to make covert recordings of conversations or formal or informal meetings with fellow employees and then seek to rely on such recordings in internal grievance procedures or a tribunal claim.

Dechert LLP

Charles Wynn-Evans reviews the new edition of Corporate Insolvency: Employment and Pension Rights

One of the most rewarding – and sometimes challenging – aspects of employment law is its interdisciplinary nature. This is not just the case in the academic sphere, where labour and employment law scholarship can encompass consideration of issues of economics, politics, industrial relations, management and a variety of separate but related and relevant legal disciplines. It is also true for practising employment lawyers, who will from time to time need to know about a number of legal contexts wider than the substantive statutory and common law of employment. Such areas can be as wide ranging as employment tribunal and civil procedure, company law, human rights law, data protection legislation, taxation law and practice, financial services regulation and pensions.


Richard Kenyon and Louise Fernandes-Owen present a guide to what is happening when in the government’s overhaul of the employment law system

The government’s plan to introduce ‘the most radical reform to the employment law system for decades’ is gathering pace. For those of us who have been tracking the numerous announcements, calls for evidence, consultation papers and responses, the coming months will see many of the key proposals finally come into force.

James Major and Alice Duffy consider the implications of Walker v SITA Information Network Computing Ltd

According to a 2012 study by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the UK is the fattest country in Western Europe, with 26% of all adults in the UK now obese. This means that obesity, which can result in severe health consequences, will increasingly become an issue for employers. Obesity is likely to increase an employee’s sickness absence, but does it also mean that the employee is disabled and therefore protected by disability discrimination law?

An EAT ruling has highlighted that the UK’s discrimination legislation is at odds with EU law, reports Olivia Toulson

In Rowstock Ltd v Jessemey [2013], the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has held that, contrary to EU law, the Equality Act 2010 does not provide protection against post-employment victimisation. The claimant, who was given an unfavourable reference because he had brought prior age discrimination tribunal proceedings, could therefore not succeed in his subsequent claim for post-employment victimisation. This article considers the EAT’s judgment in detail and the practical impact of the case for employers and employees.

With employers divided about the benefits of working from home, Roy Horgan and Rachel Farr discuss what the law has to say on the issue

Developments in technology have drastically changed working styles over the past 20 years. Whether it be checking emails remotely by Blackberry, logging in from a home PC or working from a company laptop on the train while commuting, it is becoming more and more common that employees spend part (or indeed all) of their working time out of the office.