Frontline: UK Employment Law Update June 2017

Welcome to the June edition of Frontline. This month, Associate Frances Vickery looks at the latest development in the current trend for greater protection of workers' rights.

In our Case Summary we look at a whistleblowing case from the Court of Appeal; an Employment Appeal Tribunal decision which brought into question the territorial jurisdiction of the Employment Tribunal for overseas employees; an Employment Tribunal ruling in favour of ambulance workers which continues the long-running arguments on holiday pay; a ruling in respect of Shared Parental Leave, in which a male employee who was refused full pay during additional paternity leave was found to have been discriminated against; and a High Court decision that found an employee could not avoid his contractual obligations despite objecting to a TUPE transfer.

Our Legal Update takes a brief look at the proposed changes to employment rights under the Conservative Party's manifesto and the uncertainty caused by their minority standing in government following the UK General Election.

We also bring you our 'At-A-Glance' Guide to the Gender Pay Gap Regulations, with all the information you need to carry out the calculations; an Asia-Pacific webinar on legal staffing structures; and highlights from some of our recent events.

Gender Pay Gap Regulations: View our At-A-Glance Guide.

The clock is now ticking to comply with the Gender Pay Gap Regulations, which require companies with 250 employees or more to capture and analyse pay data before the deadline of next April. Please see our at-a-glance guide to the regulations which sets out all the key information you need in order to carry out the calculations, together with some practical pointers.

At-A-Glance-Guide >

Advocate General puts another holiday cat amongst gig economy pigeons

A recent Opinion from the Advocate General of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) points towards greater protection for workers who have not been given the right to take paid annual leave and could create significant liability for past holiday pay. As with recent cases in the Employment Tribunals in which individuals ostensibly engaged on a self-employed basis have had their worker status confirmed, this Opinion follows the current trend for recognition and enforcement of workers' rights.


Case Updates

Whistleblower protected despite employer not believing employee motives

Beatt v Croydon Health Services NHS Trust case [2017] EWCA Civ 401

The Court of Appeal has confirmed an employee may be unfairly dismissed for blowing the whistle, even when an employer does not believe the disclosure relied upon is a "protected disclosure".


Overseas employees may bring UK employment tribunal claims

Green v SIG Trading Ltd UKEAT/0282/16/DA

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has held that an objective test must be applied when determining whether an employee has a strong connection to the UK for the purposes of the employment tribunal's territorial jurisdiction to consider a claim.


Ambulance workers entitled to holiday pay for shift overruns

Flowers and others v East of England Ambulance Trust 3400310/2015

In the latest of a run of cases on employees' pay during annual leave, the Employment Tribunal has ruled that ambulance workers’ compulsory overtime in relation to shift overruns should be included in the calculation of their holiday pay.


Equal pay for parents after compulsory maternity leave

M Ali v Capita Customer Management Limited 1800990/2016

The Employment Tribunal has held that a male employee whose employer refused to pay him full pay during his additional paternity leave was directly discriminated against on the grounds of his sex.


Employee held to restrictions despite objecting to TUPE transfer

ICAP Management Services Ltd v (1) Dean Berry (2) BGC Services (Holdings) LLP [2017] EWHC 1321 (QB)

The High Court held that an employee cannot avoid his contractual obligations to his employer by alleging a TUPE transfer (when his employer was acquired) and then objecting to that transfer.


Legal Updates

Employment rights uncertain after UK election

In the run-up to the UK's general election on 8 June 2017, the Conservative manifesto proposed various changes to employment rights. However, the party's resulting minority standing means it is uncertain which, if any, of these will come to fruition. Watch this space for further updates from Frontline.

Amendments to employment rights proposed in the manifesto include:

  • further employment rights protections for gig economy workers, including a consultation on rights including maternity leave;
  • worker representation on company boards;
  • a legal right to take a year's leave from a job to care for elderly relatives;
  • extending the Equalities Act for those with mental health conditions; and
  • "returnships" for mothers going back to work after a baby.

Event Highlights

Just a Gig or a Hard Day's Night?

On 14 June 2017 we invited David Reade QC (Littleton Chambers) and Jason Galbraith-Marten QC (Cloisters) to deliver a live debate on the gig economy, focusing on whether our employment laws are fit for purpose given the increasing number of people working on a self-employed basis. During the event attendees were able to participate in a live poll, casting their vote on the hot topics which were contested by the QCs.

We hosted the debate in connection with London HR Connection, of whom Bird & Bird are sponsors. You can view video highlights of the debate here.

UK Annual Employment Law Update

On Wednesday 28 June 2017 we welcomed clients and contacts to our London offices to spend an afternoon looking back over some of the key developments in the employment law world over the last 12 months and what these mean for employers and businesses moving forward. Our speakers included Partners Elizabeth Lang and James Froud and Senior Associates Jonathan Goldsworthy and Kate Hurn. Together they provided a case update covering some of the most important decisions regarding redundancies and TUPE, an insight into the tricky question of employee status in light of the growing gig economy and an overview of the Trade Secrets Directive and the importance of protecting business secrets.

The event ended with a panel discussion and an audience Q&A in which our speakers were quizzed on several hot topics, including Brexit and the General Election.

If you have any questions feel free to contact any of the event speakers.

Beyond the UK

Asia-Pacific Webinar - Navigating Legal Staffing Structures

As part of a their 'Right People, Right Place, Right Time' series, on 27 June 2017 our Asia-Pacific team delivered a webinar focusing on legal staffing structures across Asia-Pacific.

You can watch the full webinar here

Latest insights

More Insights

Australian High Court reinforces its pro-arbitration position in European dispute

Jun 07 2023

Read More
Cape Town

The Importance of Intellectual Property for the African Continent & why Brands should be Paying Attention

Jun 07 2023

Read More

UPC Blog Series: Part 4: The UPC and UP: Considerations for SMEs

Jun 06 2023

Read More

Related capabilities