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Employment Law Journal: October 2017

Mark Kaye rounds up recent case law and developments affecting employers and their advisers

Ben Daniel and Louise Singh consider the fallout from the decision to scrap fees for bringing an employment tribunal claim

On 26 July 2017, the Supreme Court handed down its judgment in R (on the application of Unison) v Lord Chancellor [2017], the challenge to the employment tribunal fee regime mounted by the trade union Unison.

Laura Daniels reviews a recent case on whether monitoring an employee’s personal communications breached his human rights

The European Court of Human Rights has decided in Barbulescu v Romania [2017] that monitoring an employee’s emails was a breach of his right to respect for his private life and correspondence.

A High Court decision has significantly extended the scope of employers’ potential liability for the actions of individuals whom they do not formally employ, explain Kate Bain and Luke Green

The High Court recently handed down its ruling in Various Claimants v Barclays Bank plc [2017], which greatly extends the scope of an employer’s vicarious liability so that it can cover quasi-employees and independent contractors working under the employer’s direction. It represents a worrying development for employers who engage independent contractors to provide their employees with services on their behalf, such as occupational health support or eyesight, hearing or other medical testing. It could also result in businesses that use gig economy workers being held liable for their wrongdoing.

Colin Godfrey and Michael Chattle share their tips on how to manage the competing rights to privacy of employees who bring a grievance, colleagues they make an allegation against and witnesses

Handling employee grievances can be tricky. By its very nature, a grievance will involve matters personal to the employee. This will make the management of confidentiality a significant and challenging part of the grievance process.

Paul Griffin, Amanda Sanders and Johanna Chattle examine the government’s proposals to require companies to publish the ratio of executive to worker pay and give employees a bigger say in their business

On 29 August 2017, the government published what it described as a ‘world-leading package of corporate governance reforms’ that would enhance the public’s trust in business. In particular, its report, Corporate Governance Reform: government response, considers the publication of pay ratios between bosses and workers and new measures to ensure that the ‘employee’s voice’ is heard in the boardroom.

The courts take a markedly different approach to enforcing covenants in sale-and-purchase and investor agreements compared to those in employment contracts, reports Sam Whitaker

Restrictive covenants in employment contracts are familiar territory for most private-practice and in-house employment lawyers but they may be less familiar with covenants in sale-and-purchase agreements (SPAs) and shareholder or investment agreements. Often, in a transactional context (and particularly in private equity (PE) transactions), it is useful for employment lawyers to have a basic understanding of the legal issues relating to the enforceability of such covenants and how they interrelate with each other. This article looks at the basic enforceability issues with such covenants.