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Employment Law Journal: September 2011

Most employees will not be entitled to a lawyer at disciplinary hearings following an important Supreme Court ruling, reports Laura Kearsley

Employees’ right to be accompanied at formal disciplinary and grievance meetings is well used. The law permits employees to bring a colleague or trade union representative to such meetings, regardless of whether the employee belongs to the union. Failure to reasonably permit an employee to be accompanied could result in them bringing a standalone employment tribunal claim for this worth two weeks’ pay.

Suzanne Horne analyses the key issues for employment lawyers raised by the new protections for agency workers coming into force next month

On 1 October 2011 the Temporary Agency Workers Regulations 2010 will come into force in Great Britain. The Regulations implement the Temporary Agency Workers Directive 2008/104/EC, and their aim is to protect temporary agency workers through the application of the principle of equal treatment, creating so-called ‘flexicurity’.

Kate Barker and Jo Broadbent examine the use of dismissal and re-engagement on less pay as a way of avoiding redundancies

In these troubled economic times employers are continuing to look for ways to cut staff costs without resorting to redundancies. One method of doing so that has attracted press attention recently is to force through a pay cut via termination of employment and re-engagement on new terms and conditions. This practice was thrown into the spotlight this summer by Shropshire County Council’s announcement that it had sent dismissal letters to all 6500 of its employees informing them that they would be re-engaged but only if they accepted new terms and conditions containing a 5.4% pay cut.

Preventing a Muslim employee from leaving a site he was guarding to attend Friday prayers has been found to be a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim, explains Bob Fahy

In Cherfi v G4S Security Service Ltd [2011], a Muslim security guard was required to be on site for eight hours per day, with the result that he was unable to attend congregational prayer at a mosque on Fridays. Mr Cherfi brought a claim against his employer for indirect religious discrimination and, when that claim failed at the employment tribunal, appealed to the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT).

Lewis Silkin

Russell Brimelow, Gemma Chubb and Rachel Rooksby give their tips on how to manage a cross-border workforce successfully

Inevitably, the international labour market has changed significantly since the global financial crisis. Before the crash the trend was towards the internationalisation of trade patterns and migratory labour movements. Now we are seeing increasing numbers of multinational companies closing operations, rationalising their workforces and streamlining their HR operations worldwide.

Caroline Stroud and Lara Zellick show why organisations need to encourage employees to disclose malpractice as part of their anti-corruption procedures

Whistleblowing is once again moving up the corporate agenda in the UK as a result of the Bribery Act 2010. To defend themselves against the new corporate offence of bribery, organisations must have adequate anti-corruption procedures in place, which a robust system for employees to disclose wrongdoing without fear of reprisal will help to demonstrate.

Employers need to take care when monitoring employees or hiring private investigators to gather evidence about their activities, warn David Green and Caroline Buckley

In a recent case, an employment tribunal found an employee had been unfairly dismissed when his employer relied on evidence in the form of surveillance film to dismiss him for gross misconduct. In Pacey v Caterpillar Logistics Services (UK) Ltd [2011], Mr Pacey, a forklift truck driver, had been signed off sick due to a back injury following an accident at work. The company’s insurers arranged for a private investigator to film him as they were suspicious about whether the accident had been genuine. When the footage showed him engaged in various activities such as walking his dog, carrying shopping and driving his car, he was dismissed for gross misconduct for falsely claiming sick pay while being fit for work.