Here's what's inside this edition of Bytesize Employment:

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Sleeping on the job

The Employment Appeal Tribunal recently decided three conjoined cases on the vexed question of when workers who are required to sleep at work are working, and thus entitled to the national minimum wage. Unfortunately the decision has been summarised by some commentators as ‘it depends’. The advice is that the question is one to be decided by taking multiple factors into account. The most important will include whether the employer is under a statutory obligation to have someone on the premises, what restrictions are placed on the worker’s ability to leave the premises, the degree of responsibility undertaken by the worker and so on. Specific advice should be taken on each case as it arises, particularly given the criminal sanctions which may flow from getting it wrong.

Focus Care Agency Ltd v Roberts


 

Ground breaking Aspergers case

In a recent Employment Appeal Tribunal case the court held that use of a multiple choice recruitment test was discriminatory and put applicants with Aspergers at a significant disadvantage. The case is likely to lead to a review of recruitment processes to ensure that employers do not fall foul of the Equality Act. The applicant had asked to be able to provide short narrative answers as an alternative to the multiple choice responses which her condition made problematic for her, but the employer refused. The Tribunal found that the refusal amounted to a failure to make reasonable adjustments.

GLS v Brookes (UKEAT/0302/16/RN)


 

Employment Tribunals - limits and decisions

Maximum compensatory awards for unfair dismissal awards in the Employment tribunal have risen to £80,541 in April 2017. The amount of a week's pay for redundancy and basic award calculations has risen to £489.

In a new development, Employment tribunal decisions are now available online on the go.uk website.

https://www.gov.uk/employment-tribunal-decisions

The webpage allows the public to search for judgements from England, Wales and Scotland uisng the drop-down menu and search box. A selection of decsions from 2015 to 2017 are available in the page currently.


 

Contrasting decisions on headscarves

The European Court of Justice (CJEU) has recently determined two cases involving the dismissal of women for refusing to remove their headscarves at work.

In the first case, the court ruled that a company’s policy did not amount to discrimination on the grounds of religion because the policy that was in place prohibited the wearing of all religious symbols. The court held that the policy’s aim was to protect the company’s image of neutrality which was a legitimate aim, particularly on the basis that it applied only to customer facing employees.

In the second case, the court ruled that if an employer asks a Muslim employee not to wear a headscarf due to subjective considerations such as customer’s preference rather than a general rule on neutrality as a policy, that is not a ‘genuine and determining occupational requirement’, and is indirectly discriminatory.

When implementing dress policies employers should pay clear attention to the risk of the indirectly discriminatory impact of such a policy. Employers should be able to objectively justify their approach, which involves identifying a legitimate aim.

Achbitav G4S Secure Solutions Nv and Bougnaoui v Micropole Univers


 

Statutory Rate increases now in force

The national living wage which applies to workers aged 25 and over increased on 1 April from £7.20 to £7.50 per hour.

The following changes took place in the national minimum wage:

  • 21 to 24 increased from £6.95 to £7.05 per hour;
  • 18 to 20 increased from £5.55 to £5.60 per hour;
  • 16 to 17 increased from £4.00 to £4.05 per hour;
  • the apprentice rate increased from £3.40 to £3.50 per hour; and
  • the accommodation offset increased from £6.00 to £6.40 a day.

The standard rates of statutory maternity pay, paternity pay, adoption pay and shared parental pay increased from £139.58 to £140.98 per week from 2 April 2017. There was also an increase in the standard rate of statutory sick pay from £88.35 to £89.35 per week from 6 April 2017.

 

This is not legal advice. Information made available on this website in any form is for informational purposes only. It is not, and should not be taken as legal advice. You should not rely on, or take or fail to take any action based upon this information. Never disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking legal advice because of something you have read on this website.

Posted on Wed, 10th May 2017

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Claire Bell

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