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Employment Law Journal: November 2012

Are quotas imposed by the EU the best way to increase the number of female directors, asks Stephen Levinson

The UK is at war with Europe, again. This time it is about the compulsory presence of women on company boards. Viviane Reding, the EU justice commissioner, has threatened that if voluntary progress is not made to increase the number of women directors of publicly listed companies, she will legislate, or as she put it ‘you can count on my regulatory creativity’. A robust letter from the business secretary, Vince Cable, sent on 14 September, answered this threat. It said that he had no intention of supporting such a directive and that the issue of getting more women on boards, which he agreed needed to be addressed, was subject to the principle of subsidiarity. Eight other member states also signed the letter. Shortly afterwards, Helen Grant MP, undersecretary for women and equalities, called quotas ‘demeaning’ and ‘patronising to women’.

Fieldfisher

Graeme Nuttall and Richard Kenyon analyse the government’s plan for employees to give up certain employment rights in return for shares in the company for which they work

In his party conference speech, the Labour leader, Ed Miliband, unexpectedly championed former conservative prime minister Benjamin Disraeli. Chancellor George Osborne’s tongue-in-cheek riposte, in his own party conference address, was to cite Marx and Engels. ‘Workers of the world unite’, he announced, rounding off his proposal that employees will soon be able to trade employment rights for shares. In a ‘voluntary three-way deal’:

Birketts LLP

Kevin Palmer considers the potential impact of the government’s plans to repeal three key anti-discrimination provisions

Following separate reviews of equality legislation under the Plan for Growth and Red Tape Challenge, the government undertook a consultation process from May to October of this year focusing on the deregulation of the employer-employee relationship. The government has since confirmed its intention to repeal three key aspects of the Equality Act 2010: discrimination questionnaires, tribunal powers to make wider recommendations in discrimination cases, and third-party harassment claims against the employer. The proposed amendments to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill (Enterprise Bill) have faced strong criticism from the Law Society and other commentators. This article will assess the substance of the opposition and look at the practical effects of these changes on employers and employees alike.

The Court of Appeal has held that LLP members lose employment rights but an independent contractor surgeon is ‘a worker’, reports David Ludlow

Employment lawyers and tribunals regularly deal with cases in which the status of the claimant is not entirely clear. Different employment rights are conferred on certain categories of labour providers, with the result that significant time and resources are spent, as the Court of Appeal put it recently, ‘taxonomising borderline cases’. Unfair dismissal rights are limited to ‘employees’. Other rights, such as protection from unlawful deduction of wages, the minimum wage, working time limits, protection for part-time workers and the right to be protected from suffering a detriment for whistleblowing, are extended to the wider category of ‘workers’, which includes, but is not limited to, employees.

Olswang

Catherine Taylor and Dominic Holmes look at some important lessons to be learned from a recent decision on team moves

There have been several reported cases on employee competition and team moves in recent months. This article focuses on one such decision, CEF Holdings Ltd v Mundey [2012], in which the High Court took the opportunity to apply key principles on:

Lewis Silkin

Companies investigating fraud in both the UK and US need to be aware of key differences in local legislation, explain Ellen Temperton, James Storke and Jim Hart

According to the International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) Commission on Anti-Corruption:

Lewis Silkin

Christopher Hitchins and Kathryn Pickard examine the government’s scheme to encourage more workers to save for their retirement

This October marked the start of mandatory pensions auto-enrolment for the UK’s largest employers. Some employment lawyers may be tempted to think this is an area they can largely skip over, but there are important aspects they need to know about.