Frontline: UK Employment Law Update - August 2016

By Ian Hunter, Pattie Walsh, Elizabeth Lang, James Froud, Warren Wayne


Welcome to Frontline, the freshly updated newsletter from Bird & Bird's UK employment law team, offering legal analysis and practical advice on current trends and hot issues, as well as case updates, team news and upcoming events. 

This month, Jonathan Goldsworthy considers the implications of the Immigration Act 2016; discrimination, Tier 2 sponsor licences and enforcement injunctions are the subject of our monthly case updates; and we bring you highlights from our recent post-acquisition restructuring seminar. You can also read some of our latest press articles and find out how to sign up to our Global Mobility Seminar, taking place this September. 

Illegal working and the Immigration Act 2016 - What do Employers need to know?

The Immigration Act 2016 (the "IA") came into force last month, introducing a new criminal offence of "illegal working" for individuals and amending the existing criminal offence for employers who employ those without the right to work in the UK.

The maximum penalty for employers found guilty of the amended offence has increased to five years imprisonment and an unlimited fine. The IA also gives greater powers for Immigration Officers to investigate and for the Home Office to impose sanctions.

In this article, Jonathan Goldsworthy summarises the recent developments and identifies common pitfalls that employers should be aware of to avoid falling foul of the law.

Read the full article >

Case updates

Mistreatment of migrant workers not direct race discrimination

Taiwo v Olaigbe (Supreme Court) affirmed that while it is "clearly wrong" for an employer to mistreat migrant workers due to vulnerabilities associated with their immigration status, such treatment is not "direct race discrimination" under UK law.

Read more about this case >

Victims of discrimination can bring claims directly against work placement providers

Blackwood v Birmingham & Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust (Court of Appeal) confirmed that where discrimination is suffered during work placements, university students may bring employment tribunal claims directly against the placement provider. 

Read more about this case >

Home Office has broad powers to revoke Tier 2 Sponsor Licences 

R. (on the application of Raj and Knoll Ltd) v Secretary of State for the Home Department (Court of Appeal) confirmed that the Home Office was entitled to revoke a Tier 2 sponsor licence where an employer had not complied with its record-keeping and reporting obligations, failed to adequately address the residence labour market test while recruiting and did not provide requested documents within a specified timeframe. 

Read more about this case >

Employee fairly dismissed for failure to disclose relationship with sex offender 

A v B and another (Court of Appeal)
The CA confirmed that a head teacher had been fairly dismissed for gross misconduct where she had failed to notify her school's governing body of her (non-sexual) relationship with a convicted sex offender.

Read more about this case >

Injunction to enforce restrictive covenant refused where intentionally timed to injure 

Legends Live v Harrison (Queens Bench Division)
This serves as a reminder that even where a restrictive covenant is lawful and reasonable, an injunction to enforce it may be refused where action is delayed for the principal purpose of causing avoidable disruption to a competitor.

Read more about this case >

In the Press
Banning Brexit at work
Partner, Elizabeth Lang has provided commentary to People Management on employers banning Brexit discussions in the work place and the potential legal implications of doing so. Read full article > 

As the political situation evolves in the wake of Brexit, we will provide you with a "Brexit in Brief" feature to help you keep updated on the latest developments and possible employment law implications on the UK's choice to leave the European Union, including what this could mean for your organisation.

Working hours in Asia
Partner, Pattie Walsh has spoken to People Management Asia on the need for employers in the Asia-Pacific region to understand the legal framework in place to prevent employees from working dangerously long hours.

Read full article >

Making your acquisition a success - video highlights

We recently welcomed clients for a day of presentations and panel discussions looking at the European employment legal landscape in the context of acquisitions and restructuring. You can watch the highlights here

Firm news and upcoming events

Global Mobility Seminar

On 21 September 2016 we will be hosting a Global Mobility seminar in our new London office. The seminar willpresent a case study, leading you through all stages of a successful relocation. We will also explore the importance and current state of Global Mobility as it transcends in to the world of Global Agility.

Read more and RSVP >


16:00 - 16:30 Registration
16:30 - 18:00 Seminar
18:00 - 20:00 Networking drinks and canapés

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