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Employment Law Journal: May 2016

Phil Allen looks at a recent EAT case on when disciplinary action over an employee’s religious discussion can be lawful

Some employees will feel that they need to tell others about their faith, as part of their religious belief. This can cause considerable difficulty for employers, particularly where other employees object to such issues being raised with them. It can on occasion cause a clash between:

A Court of Appeal ruling highlights the difficulties employers face in asserting absolute discretion over commission or bonus awards. Stephen Ravenscroft and Jo Bennett report

Disputes about remuneration often involve an employee challenging their employer’s decisions on bonus and commission awards. In the most recent case in this area, Hills v Niksun Inc [2016], the Court of Appeal unanimously decided that an employee was entitled to a higher commission payment than the amount he had been originally awarded. In doing so, it gave a highly purposive construction to the detailed commission plan documentation despite broad statements of the employer’s discretion.

Lewis Silkin

Richard Berry discusses the main considerations for employers dealing with cases of off-duty misconduct that have a criminal element

The case of ex-Sunderland AFC footballer Adam Johnson provides a recent, high-profile example of how criminal prosecutions and employers’ internal disciplinary procedures may interact. After being found guilty of sexual activity with a girl aged 15, and having previously admitted two other counts, Johnson was sentenced to a six-year prison term, a sanction against which the footballer has subsequently appealed.

Laura Garner offers some tips for employers when dealing with sickness absence and reviews recent case law developments

There is no doubt that sickness absence is a headache for employers. Research published by Personnel Today in October 2015 showed that absenteeism costs UK businesses an astonishing £16bn per year, with British employees taking an average of 6.5 days’ sick leave a year.

The wording of an employer’s policy meant it was merely obliged to provide PHI, not to ensure the employee actually received payments, write Helen Roberts and Rebecca Harding-Hill

As a result of age discrimination legislation which came into force nearly ten years ago, a number of employers now run two permanent health insurance (PHI) schemes. Under their current scheme, they offer cover to employees up to the age of 65 but there are still some employees claiming under a previous scheme with a lower age limit. This is usually because such employees were already off sick and receiving benefit when the employer entered into the current scheme and were not eligible to join it.

Tabitha Georghiou and Matthew Ramsey examine the impact of two cases on the existing tests to establish employers’ liability for acts committed by employees or other individuals

In two judgments delivered in March 2016, the Supreme Court has taken a fresh look at the law of vicarious liability. The last comprehensive survey of vicarious liability was in 2012 in the context of the abuse of children in religious institutions – the Christian Brothers litigation. In that case, the Supreme Court imposed liability in order to give the victims an effective remedy.

Gowling WLG

The EAT is at odds with HMRC over whether women on maternity leave should continue to receive childcare vouchers, explain Connie Cliff and Liz Wood

Many employers operate childcare voucher schemes as a benefit to their employees, usually by way of a salary sacrifice arrangement. Whether the childcare vouchers are classed as ‘remuneration’ or a ‘non-cash benefit’ has important implications for employees on maternity leave.

Jo Broadbent and Sarah Parkin round up recent case law and developments affecting employers and their advisers

Payment for covenant did not make it enforceable