Following the Supreme Court’s judgment on the Scottish Government’s controversial Named Person service, which required changes to the provisions relating to information sharing, the Government has published its Children and Young People (Information Sharing) (Scotland) Bill. Read More
The protection afforded to whistle blowers in the medical profession has been very much in the spotlight recently, after a junior doctor was given permission by the Court of Appeal to proceed with a whistleblowing claim against Health Education England (HEE). Public Interest Disclosures Workers who make a disclosure in the public interest, or ‘blow the whistle’ are protected in certain circumstances under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. The Act provides this protection so that workers feel able to speak out if they are aware of malpractice taking place within an organisation. To quality for protection under the legislation, a disclosure must relate to one of the following: a criminal offence someone’s health and safety is in danger risk or actual damage to the environment a miscarriage of justice the company is breaking the law a belief that someone is covering up wrongdoing Concern over Staffing Levels The case in question involved Dr Chris Day, who became concerned ab
Indirect Discrimination can occur from the policies and procedures of an Organisation, which puts some people at a disadvantage who share protected characteristics, such as age, disability, sex or sexual orientation. In order for a claim of indirect discrimination to held unlawful, it is necessary that the employer can show an ‘objective justification’. This would involve demonstrating a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim, such as the economic needs of the business. Two cases have been recently decided in light of what is required when assessing a disadvantage and they have reinforced that there is no need to evidence the reason why there is a disadvantage caused by a PCP (Provision, Criteria or Practice). It is sufficient enough that a particular group with a protected characteristic is disadvantaged. The grounds for indirect discrimination is focused more on race/age and religion. In the case of Essop v Home Secretary (UK Border Agency) 2017, the Claimants were re
New research has revealed that as many as 79,000 UK businesses (4%) would be unable to repay their debts if interest rates were to rise by even a small amount. This is almost four times the 20,000 businesses that reported being in this situation in September 2016. Read More
The Office for National Statistics (ONS) has recently published an analysis of labour disputes that took place in the UK during 2016. The figures show that in 2016: There were 322,000 working days lost due to labour disputes, which is more than in 2015 (170,000) and the eighth lowest annual total since records began in 1891. The increase in working days lost in 2016, compared with 2015, was partly attributable to a dispute involving junior doctors in the National Health Service in England, which accounted for 129,000 working days lost (around 40% of the total working days lost for 2016). The private sector saw more stoppages, but the public sector once again had more working days lost than the private sector. There were 154,000 workers involved in labour disputes; this figure is higher than the record low figure of 81,000 recorded for 2015 but low compared to historical levels. The main cause of industrial action, in terms of working days lost, was duration and patterns of hours worke
Employers in the so-called ‘gig economy’ have recently found themselves in the spotlight again, after a report from the Work and Pensions Committee criticised them for utilising what the Committee referred to as ‘bogus’ self-employment practices.
The Coalition Government made great play of its banning the use of exclusivity clauses in zero-hours contracts, ensuring that employees with no guaranteed hours are free to do work for other employers. We could debate how meaningful that restriction is, but a recent news story has identified a more fundamental problem with regulating zero-hours contracts. Santander is reported by the Financial Times as employing 371 ‘on-call customer services assistants’ – each with a guarantee of just one hour’s work every month. There is no evidence that the employer is doing this to avoid the ban on exclusivity clauses – they say that it is to allow for appropriate training – but the fact is that such an arrangement does mean that the employees are not classed as employed on zero-hours contracts. It goes to show that regulating ultra-flexible work is no easy task.