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Where there’s an Interested Party ………

there is usually a juicy case and that is no exception in the EAT case of Innospec Ltd and Others v Mr Walker with the Interested Party being the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions.

This is a recently reported EAT sexual orientation discrimination case regarding occupational pensions.  Mr Walker succeeded in his claim at Tribunal on the grounds that a pension scheme which provided survivor’s benefits to spouses but not to those in a civil partnership, insofar as those benefits derived from service prior to the day the Civil Partnership Act 2004 came into force (5 Dec 2005) was discriminatory.

The ET accepted that the Equality Act 2010 appeared to permit this but held those provisions incompatible with European law.  The ET said that civil partners should, therefore, benefit from service at the time before it was unlawful to discriminate on grounds of sexual orientation.

The EAT held the ET was wrong to hold the provisions incompatible and even if it hadn’t been wrong could not have properly interpreted the provisions.  No wonder the DWP were interested …………

 

Posted: Mar 27, 2014 by Olivia in Employment Tribunal

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Bribery Act e-learning

Both employers and employees can face serious penalties for breach of the Bribery Act. Employers can be made to pay an unlimited fine and employees can even go to prison! PJH Law’s Bribery Act e-learning trains employees on their responsibilities under the Bribery Act with a view to raise awareness of what amounts to a bribe and what the potential penalties for bribery are. The course will also help employers establish a defence to prosecution for breach of the Bribery Act – if an employer can demonstrate it has adequate procedures in place to prevent Bribery, it will not be fined.

For only £79 plus VAT per month with unlimited users, PJH Law can provide employers with Bribery Act training as part of its Virtual Arm service. ARM will monitor which employees have passed the course and report to the employer if any employees fail to take or fail to pass the course.

Also included in the £79 plus VAT per month is PJH Law’s learner management system pre-loaded with online learning on Dignity at Work, Display Screen Equipment, Social Media, Computer Use, Manual Handling and more.

If you’d like to know more call Philip or Liam on 01780 757589 or 08448 505805.

Posted: Mar 25, 2014 by liam in E Learning

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Social Media E-learning

Social Media is becoming a hot topic in many businesses. As well as being a valuable business tool for marketing and staff recruitment, social media can present a number of risks – both legal and reputational to organisations when used inappropriately.

Those risks can be mitigated by ensuring all employees understand their employer’s rules on the use of social media – both in work time and outside of work time where the latter impacts on their job. There are numerous examples of dismissals for misuse of social media being found by Employment Tribunals to be unfair because of the employer’s failure to communicate a clear policy on what is and what is not permitted where social media is concerned.

PJH Law’s Virtual ARM service can help by providing an online training course on social media. Employees’ are assessed at the end of the course through a multiple choice quiz and the results of that quiz are logged as evidence that the employee has been told and understands what is expected of them where social media is concerned.

For only £79 plus VAT per month with unlimited users, PJH Law can provide employers with Social Media training as part of its Virtual Arm service. ARM will monitor which employees have passed the course and report to the employer if any employees fail to take or fail to pass the course. All that’s needed to use the ARM service is a computer with an internet connection. A learner management system is not needed as this is provided as part of the Virtual ARM service.

Also included in the £79 plus VAT per month is PJH Law’s learner management system pre-loaded with online learning on Dignity at Work, Display Screen Equipment, Bribery Act, Computer Use, Manual Handling and more.

If you’d like to know more call Philip or Liam on 01780 757589 or 08448 505805 to arrange a free, no obligation, demonstration.

Posted: Mar 11, 2014 by liam in E Learning

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Display Screen Equipment E-learning

Employers are responsible for ensuring their employees know how to use their workstation and display screen equipment safely and can be fined if their employees are injured by defective equipment. Common injuries from defective workstations include RSI, back injuries from faulty or incorrectly setup chairs and desks and eye strain from flickering monitors or incorrect use of monitors.

The risk of all these injuries can be reduced by requiring employees to undertake display screen equipment e-learning which includes the correct setup and use of workstations.

For only £79 plus VAT per month with unlimited users, PJH Law can provide employers with online Display Screen Equipment e-learning for their employees. PJH Law’s system will monitor which employees have passed the course and report to the employer if any employees fail to take or fail to pass the course.

Also included in the £79 plus VAT per month is PJH Law’s learner management system pre-loaded with online learning on Dignity at Work, the Bribery Act, Social Media, Computer Use, Manual Handling and more.

If you’d like to know more call Philip or Liam on 01780 757589 or 08448 505805.

Posted: Feb 28, 2014 by liam in E Learning

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Maximum Unfair Dismissal Award & Redundancy Pay/Basic Award Increase

With effect from 6 April 2014, the maximum unfair dismissal compensatory award will increase from £74,200 to £76,574. Should employers lose sleep? Not really – the 29 July 2013 cap of a year’s pay still applies to those who earn less than £76,574 per year which means the change will only affect claims made by a very small number of highly paid employees.

Of more concern to employers, is the cap on a week’s pay which will increase on 6 April 2014 from the current £450 to £464. This may seem a strange number and strange date to experienced HR practitioners used to nice round numbers – £400, £430, £450 etc. which increase on 1 February each year. This figure is now index linked and reflects the 3.2% rise in the RPI and will in future rise on 6 April rather than 1 February.

A full list of the increases can be seen in the Increase in Limits Order 2014.

 

Posted: Feb 26, 2014 by liam in Employment Tribunal, Redundancy

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Harassment

It’s all very well amending, reviewing, replacing (etc etc) the law on harassment (Equality Act and third party harassment provisions) to deal with this in the workplace but if discriminatory taunts/jibes, jests are run of the mill outside of the workplace, particularly in places where our children may be, then can we ever expect to rid the workplace of such behaviours?  This comes in light of a report today by the Kick It Out Organisation that reports of racial and homophobic abuse and discrimination at football matches are up by 43 per cent this season.  Just like in the workplace, abuse via social media such as Twitter and Facebook has become a serious problem in the game.

There is a debate tonight on this on Radio 5 Live.

And I’m not just bitter that the Magpies lost 4-0 to Spurs last night ……………………….

Posted: Feb 13, 2014 by Olivia in Employment Tribunal

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Data Protection E learning

All businesses are subject to the data protection act.

Does your business have a data protection policy?

Does your business train data processors in data protection?

If you have answered no to any of those questions then PJH Law will be able to help you:

1. Devise an appropriate data protection policy for your business.

2. Train your employees  by way of an e-learning course that tracks and monitors each employee’s progress through the course.

Contact Liam or Philip at PJH law to discuss your requirements further.

 

Posted: Feb 12, 2014 by admin in E Learning

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Tax and NI on Legal Costs in Settlement Agreements

It is very standard practice (although strictly not a legal requirement) for an employer to pay the employee’s legal costs in relation to legal advice about a Settlement Agreement.

If the employer pays the legal costs directly to the employee who then pays his solicitors, the payment is subject to tax as it is treated by HMRC as a taxable benefit.

However, there is an extra statutory concession that allows for the legal costs to be paid to the solicitor without it costing the employee a penny in tax. However, for this to apply, certain conditions must be met:

1. The money must be paid by the employer to the solicitor (not by the employer to the employee who in turn pays the solicitor).

2. The legal costs must be in relation to advice on the termination of the employee’s employment.

3. The Settlement Agreement must contain a clause providing for the payment of legal costs by the employer.

If these conditions aren’t met, money is given away unnecessarily to HMRC.

See this link from HMRC for more information: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/manuals/eimanual/eim13740.htm or contact PJH Law for Settlement Agreement Legal Advice.

Posted: Jan 27, 2014 by liam in Settlement Agreements

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Display Screen Equipment Regulations

The Display Screen Equipment Regulations have been in force over twenty years. Display screen equipment covers computers, laptops and pretty much any work device with a screen.

It is good practice to train your employees in how to use display screen equipment in a safe way. There are some unsafe ways of using DSE which can be easily avoided by risk assessments and training.

PJH Law has come up with an e-learning solution that will enable employers to train their staff in a cost effective way.

 

A screenshot of the course is shown below:

Untitled

 

Unlike other e-learning providers, our charging structure is an one-off annual subscription which will enable you to train as many staff as you wish within the year.

 

Contact philip@pjhlaw.co.uk or liam@pjhlaw.co.uk for further details.

Posted: Jan 24, 2014 by admin in E Learning

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TUPE January 2014 Changes

The TUPE January 2014 changes have been talked about for a while now. Although the regulations to amend the TUPE Regulations 2006 have yet to receive royal assent, the draft regulations have been published here.

It is anticipated that the 2014 changes to TUPE Regulations 2006 will take place later this month (January 2014).

The key changes are:

1. Collective consultation about post transfer redundancies will be able to commence pre-transfer with the transferor’s consent.

2. Reference to activities in the service provision changeover rules will be able to be read as references to activities which are fundamentally the same as the activities carried out previously. This broadly confirms the case law which has been working its way through the Courts since 2006 and leaves scope for argument about whether TUPE applies or not depending on whether the “activity” is fundamentally the same or sufficiently different to not amount to the transfer of an activity at all.

3. A change to the employee’s workplace can now be an ETO reason entailing changes in the workforce. A dismissal as a result of a change in workplace is therefore not automatically unfair, although employers must be mindful of the normal requirements for a fair redundancy dismissal still, as these continue to apply.

4. Changes to collective agreements made after a transfer that occurs on or after the date on which the new regulations take effect won’t bind the transferee.

5. Dismissals for a reason connected with the transfer are no longer automatically unfair as long as notice is given and the dismissal takes effect on or after the new regulations come into force or where no notice is given, where the dismissal takes effect on or after the new regulations come into force.

6. Employee liability information must be provided 28 days before the transfer instead of 14.

7. Where an employer with 9 employees or fewer does not have appropriate representatives in place, it can consult employees individually (currently consulting employees individually technically breaches the information and consultation requirements of TUPE). Note that this applies to employers with 9 employees or fewer, not for the number of employees transferring to be 9 or fewer. Accordingly small scale transfers by large employers will still engage collective consultation.

Posted: Jan 13, 2014 by liam in TUPE

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