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Employment Law Journal: September 2013
Keystone Law

Stephen Levinson considers the fallout from the EAT’s decision in the Woolworths litigation

As has been widely publicised, the law on collective redundancies has been reshaped in radical fashion. In USDAW v WW Realisation 1 Ltd [2013], the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), presided over by HHJ McMullen QC, held that a collective redundancy requiring consultation was any dismissal involving 20 or more dismissals within 90 days (now of course changed to 45 days) irrespective of where the workers were employed. The words ‘at any one establishment’ in s188(1) of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 were therefore to be ignored, the EAT said. This article considers whether that decision was correct and also its implications for employers and employees.

The ECJ has finally put an end to uncertainty about whether transferred employees can benefit from ongoing changes to historic collective agreements, write Emma Burrows and Anna Scott

It has been unclear for some time now whether collective agreements transfer under TUPE (the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006). Essentially, it will depend on whether such agreements have been incorporated into individual employees’ contracts. Assuming that they have been, the key question which arises in the context of a TUPE transfer is whether the employee will be able to benefit from ongoing changes under the agreement post-transfer. In other words, do those changes have a ‘dynamic effect’, meaning that the transferee is bound to accept terms contained in collective agreements entered into after the transfer, or a ‘static effect’, meaning that post-transfer changes to collective agreements will not apply.

Peter Frost examines the impact on employment lawyers of the latest attempt to make civil litigation cheaper

The Jackson reforms can be seen as a continuation of a process that started with Lord Woolf’s review of the civil litigation process in the 1990s. Litigation was then seen as too lengthy, complex and costly. Lord Woolf brought in a number of changes that were embodied in the new Civil Procedure Rules in 1999, chiefly the introduction of judicial case management. However, while cases now run faster (in fact considerably faster than a number in the employment tribunals), the consensus is that they have not become much cheaper. Jackson LJ was therefore appointed in November 2008 to ‘have another go’ at achieving this, with the avowed objective of promoting access to justice at ‘proportionate’ cost.

Dominic Holmes explores issues facing employers who wish to require employees to stay away from work

Most employment lawyers would agree that they are operating in an increasingly complex area of law. Yet the fundamental basis of the employment relationship remains fairly simple – the employer has work for the employee to do and, in exchange for an agreed level of remuneration, the employee performs that work. This ‘mutuality of obligation’ is well established as one of the key indicators of an individual’s employment status.

A recent case brought by a dismissed golf club secretary has reaffirmed how difficult it is to argue that a tribunal’s ruling was perverse, explains Declan Bradley

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has recently held that if a tribunal could have correctly decided either way on the facts whether there was a genuine redundancy or not, its decision will not be perverse so long as it considers the opposing contentions adequately.

Rebecca McGuirk discusses whether government funding schemes designed to encourage young people into work are unfair to people in other age brackets

Apprenticeships have been around since the middle ages but in recent years there has been a resurgence in their use. This has been predominantly due to the government (past and present) launching a number of initiatives that have given employers incentives. One such scheme is the Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE) 16 to 24.

Anthony Sakrouge contemplates the sometimes fine line between workplace bullying and robust performance management

In a recent survey carried out by the Unison trade union, 15% of the 1,300 respondents at Sutton Council considered that they had been bullied by colleagues. This statistic will come as no surprise to employment lawyers, as bullying allegations are increasingly common in employment litigation. So why does bullying appear to be on the increase, despite all the efforts to eradicate it, what are the flashpoints in the workplace, and what more can be done to prevent it?

Following a string of high-profile scandals, interest in whistleblowing looks set to remain high, suggests Fudia Smartt

On 2 July 1999, the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA) was introduced, to protect workers from detrimental treatment and victimisation for having ‘blown the whistle’ on malpractice. It became law, by way of a private members’ bill, following a series of disasters and financial scandals, including the misappropriation of the Maxwell pension fund, the collapse of Barings Bank and the capsizing of the Herald of Free Enterprise off Zeebrugge.