August 2012 Archive

Are your recruitment practices putting you at risk of a race discrimination claim?

Employers who, as a matter of company policy, refuse to consider job applications from individuals requiring work authorisation for the UK should be aware that such practices could expose them to claims of race discrimination. The employment appeal tribunal judgment in the case of Purohit v Osborne Clarke Services (2009) is a clear warning against the use of potentially discriminatory recruitment practices. Employers need to exercise caution when recruiting.

Protected conversations

How far will the proposed "protected conversations" go to prevent discussions between employers and employees being used against them in subsequent tribunals? The government has published an amendment to the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill which will insert a new section 111A into the Employment Rights Act 1996. In effect, where a claimant brings a claim against their employer for unfair dismissal, the claimant would not be able to bring to the employment tribunal’s attention any discussions held with their employer with a view to terminating the employee’s contract on agreed terms.

The benefits of shared service models in local authorities

The Local Government Association (LGA) has issued a report on the benefits of shared service models adopted by some local authorities. The report paints a positive picture highlighting a range of benefits achieved by local authorities through sharing services. The report will be of interest to both public bodies and to businesses that provide services to the public sector.

Know your employee rights - paid annual leave

If employees are sick before or during annual leave, are they still entitled to claim the annual leave? Senior European policymakers have implemented a significant change to the continent's employment law system. Under the terms of a new European Court of Justice ruling, workers in the European Union who are sick during their annual leave will be entitled to take paid holiday in lieu at a later date. Unlike some areas of EU legislation, the UK does not have an opt-out clause with regard to labour market rulings, meaning professionals in Britain are set to benefit from this alteration.

An expired contract – but no one’s noticed!

Where do you stand if the contract has “expired” but the services carry on nonetheless? Service contracts are often entered into for a fixed period of time. Usually towards the end of the period the parties will either discuss an extension, a new contract or simply agree that upon expiry they will go their separate ways. However, it can happen that a fixed period contract may simply expire without the parties noticing with the services continuing accordingly.

Software licensing and copyright protection

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) rules that the form and not the functionality of the software is protected under the Software Directive. In the recent case of SAS Institute Inc v World Programming Ltd, the ECJ held that the copyright available to computer programs under the Software Directive (2009/24/EC) does not protect the functionality of a computer program, its programming language, or its data file format.

Dismissing employees

It is important that you take advice before dismissing an employee, because, if not handled correctly, an employee may bring a claim against you. Broadly, in order to be able to make a claim for unfair dismissal, an employee must have at least 2 years continuous service with the company if employed on or after 6 April 2012 (or 1 years’ service prior to this date) and be an employee working in the UK. There are some exceptions to this requirement meaning that in some cases, employees with less than the requisite service can make a claim.

CML’s repossessions forecast defended

The CML has failed to revise its repossession forecast downwards despite the continued steady quarterly fall. In response to press commentary questioning why its forecast of total repossessions of 45,000 for 2012 had not fallen, the CML gave a more detailed commentary on the position.
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