Welcome to the April edition of Frontline. This month, Associate Naveen Qureshi takes us through a five-step roadmap to conducting effective employee investigations and explores how taking note of practical considerations can help to limit liability and avoid litigation risk.
In our Case Summary we review a Supreme Court ruling which has revised the legal test for indirect discrimination; an Employment Appeal Tribunal decision that brings clarity to the Acas Early Conciliation procedure in respect of extensions of time; and, an Employment Tribunal ruling on the employment status of a cycle courier, confirming that the spotlight on 'gig economy' isn't fading fast.
Our Legal Updates include an update on the Immigration Skills Charge Regulations and the requirement for UK companies with at least 250 employees to publish data in relation to gender pay gaps.
We also bring you news from Beyond the UK with articles from our Finnish and Dutch teams on occupational health care and Stock Appreciation Rights (SARs) respectively.
Employee investigations: a five-step guide
Thorough and complete employee investigations can be an effective risk management tool and critical to an employer's defence in contentious proceedings. They also serve as an important mechanism to ensure that potential wrongdoing is caught early and appropriate measures are taken to limit liability and exposure.
Click here for our five-step roadmap to conducting employee investigations and explores some key practical considerations.
Explanation for disadvantage no longer required to prove indirect discrimination
Essop and others v Home Office (UK Border Agency); Naeem v Secretary of State for Justice  UKSC 27 (conjoined cases)
The Supreme Court has revised the legal test for indirect discrimination, holding that a claimant does not need to establish the reason that the treatment in question discriminated against them. The decisions reversed those of the Court of Appeal in two cases, which had stated that a claimant must be able to provide an explanation for their disadvantage in such claims.
Out of time: only one extension of time limit possible under Acas conciliation
Commissioners for HM Revenue and Customs v Serra Garau UKEAT/0348/16
The EAT has held that a second early conciliation (EC) certificate issued for the same matter as the first will not extend a claimant's time limit for instituting tribunal proceedings.
Gig economy still a hot topic as worker status established once again
Boxer v Excel Group Services Ltd ET/3200365/2016
The ET has confirmed that a cycle courier was a worker entitled to holiday pay; a decision which follows highly-publicised cases over the last six months involving Uber, Citysprint and Pimlico Plumbers.
The Immigration Skills Charge Regulations 2017
From 6 April 2017, employers are to pay £1,000 per certificate as an Immigration Skills Charge for any skilled worker they sponsor who falls into Tier 2 categories.
Employers must be able to show a paper-trail of evidence that the correct checks have taken place to prove their employees have the right to work in the UK.
UK companies must declare gender pay gaps
UK companies with 250 employees or more are now required to publish data in relation to their gender pay gap.
From 6 April 2017, large private sector employers must publish their gender pay gap figures; with public bodies having to comply from 31 March 2017. Such regulations will result in over 9,000 employers in the public, private and voluntary sector firms disclosing mean and median average hourly pay for men and women, including any bonuses awarded.
A final version of guidance on the new legislation has been published jointly by Acas and the Government Equalities Office, though its recommendations are not mandatory.
Beyond the UK
Finland: Obligation to provide occupational health care to employees
Following recent legal reforms, Maisa Nikkola, Partner, and Lotta Kumpuniemi, Associate, review the extended employer obligations relating to occupational health care. You can read their article here.
The Netherlands: Incentivising employees in start-ups through Stock Appreciation Rights (SARs)
Pauline Vos, Partner, and Mark Huizenga, Associate, both based in our office in the Hague, discuss the ways employees can attract and retain talented employees in start-ups through the use of Stock Appreciation Rights (SARs). Read their article here.