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Employment Law Journal: November 2014

Following the main political party conferences, Richard Kenyon considers on some of the employment-related policies we can expect to see debated as the 2015 general election approaches

The Fixed-Term Parliaments Act 2011 provides for general elections to be held on the first Thursday in May every five years. An earlier general election can occur where either:

Oliver Spratt discusses a government review aimed at clarifying and potentially strengthening workers’ rights

As Peter Clark J commented in the Employment Appeal Tribunal earlier this summer in Windle v Secretary of State for Justice [2014]:


Two recent decisions which have helped to clarify which employees have a sufficiently strong connection with Great Britain to qualify for unfair dismissal protection, explains Sarah Ozanne

The Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA) contains many key statutory employment rights, including the right not to be unfairly dismissed, but is silent on the issue of territorial scope. Interpreting ERA literally, it applies to any individual who works under a contract of employment anywhere in the world, but this would give it a breadth of scope that it would not appear was ever intended. Originally, the ERA applied only to employees who ordinarily work in Great Britain. This position was, however, amended by the removal of the relevant provision in 1999. The ERA now contains no clarification on what connection, if any, the employee or their employment must have with Great Britain in order to benefit from its provisions. This left the issue to be determined by case law, with the key case in this area being Lawson v Serco [2006].

Mark Kaye highlights a rare reported decision on liability for failure to give an agency worker equal pay after 12 weeks

The Agency Workers Regulations 2010 came into force on 1 October 2011. Emanating from the EU Temporary Workers Directive, they seek to protect workers who are assigned to hirers on a short-term basis via work agencies.

Gary Freer examines a recent case in which the court awarded gain-based damages for breach of employees’ restrictive covenants

In claims for damages for breach of restrictive covenants in employment contracts, claimants routinely plead, as an alternative case, for ‘gain-based’, ‘release payment’ or ‘Wrotham Park’ damages. One Step (Support) Ltd v Morris-Gardner [2014] is a recent and interesting example of a case in which such damages were ordered to be paid – indeed, the trial judge, Phillips J, described it as ‘a prime example of a case in which they should be awarded’.

The government’s proposals to recover public sector exit payments are commendable but flawed, argues Maeve Vickery

The government consultation paper, Recovery of public sector exit payments, was published on 25 June 2014 by HM Treasury. The paper sets out a series of proposals intended to allow recoupment of exit payments from high earners returning to the same part of the public sector within 12 months of leaving. The intention is that the Small Business Enterprise and Employment Bill will include legislative provisions to this effect.

Stefan Martin and Lizzi Hodgkinson take a detailed look at the recent introduction of tribunal orders requiring employers to carry out equal pay audits

From 1 October 2014, an employer will be ordered to carry out an equal pay audit if it loses a claim for equal pay or sex discrimination related to pay. What exactly is an equal pay audit, why have they been introduced and what impact will they have? This article addresses these questions and explores whether employers should carry out their own audits to identify problems before they end up on the wrong side of such an order.