Sex and the City and other legal issues from our Ealing Expert

More developments in Employment Law from Louise Taft

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Louise Taft represents employees and employers in Unfair Dismissal, Discrimination, Whistleblowing and other Employment cases.

She regularly appears in Employment Tribunals and has acted on cases in Employment Appeal Tribunal and Court of Appeal.

She advises on compromise agreements and can help employers with preventative advice on disciplinary and grievance issues and drafting contracts, staff handbooks and policies.

Her hobbies include running, cooking, cinema, music and masochistic support for Oldham Athletic!

JR Jones Solicitors 02085662595

What: departments in Employment, Civil/Commercial Litigation, Dispute Resolution, Personal Injury, Family, Immigration, Claims against Public Authorities, Crime, Landlord/Tenant, Residential/Commercial Property, Wills/Probate
Where: relocated to 58 Uxbridge Road from The Mall in November 2005. Established in West London since 1989.

Who: Tasneem Raza, Armeet Sikh and Minal Popat, 13 assistant solicitors, 11 trainees and paralegals plus support staff
Interesting fact: most high profile case was representing the parents of Stephen Lawrence. Also secured the first successful civil action for murder where there had been no previous criminal proceedings.


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Why even small businesses need to learn from the “Sex and the City” case

The newspapers have been full of salacious details from the Employment Tribunal in a case being dubbed “Sex and the City”. Sales Executive Jordan Wimmer sued Hedge Fund Nomos Capital for sexual harassment. Whilst the amounts of money at stake and the juicy allegations make this case newsworthy, all employers need to take steps to protect themselves from potentially expensive discrimination and harassment claims.
The best way to do this is not only to draft an Equal Opportunities Policy but to implement it properly by training each and every member of staff as to what it means and how it should be applied. Every complaint from a member of staff should be investigated, no matter how informal. Steps should be taken to discipline members of staff found in breach of the Equal Opportunities Policy.

Fathers not taking Paternity Leave

The Equality Commission has published a report identifying that whilst fathers want to spend more time with their children, they aren’t using the Family Friendly rights they do have because of fears it will harm their career.
45% of men fail to take their full 2 weeks’ paternity leave, with many citing cost as the reason (it is paid at a fixed rate of around £120 per week rather than full pay). 40% say they fear asking about flexible working because it would harm their career.
Interestingly, the BBC spin on the report was to suggest that Paternity Leave should be improved, perhaps paying full pay to encourage fathers to take the leave. This seems a stark contrast to efforts to remove the negative effect having children has on women’s careers: it’s rarely suggested that women should be paid in full during Maternity Leave.

A final end to the compulsory retirement age saga?

The High Court has given judgment in the long running saga of Age Concern’s attempt to overturn the Retirement Age exemption.
Age Concern were attempting to suggest that the Government’s lawful compulsory retirement age of 65 did not properly implement European law on Age Discrimination. The final decision is that compulsory retirement ages are justifiable.
This means that provided an employer goes through the proper procedure, an employee can be compulsorily retired at or above the employer’s Normal Retirement Age. That age will be automatically considered justified if it is 65 or over, but must be objectively justified if it is younger. It is considered by many that this will be rare.
But there’s a reason for that question mark. A review of whether 65 is the right default age is due in 2010. The High Court Judge ruling on this case thought that it was unlikely that 65 could still be justified after that review. So whilst all the cases currently stayed in the Employment Tribunal waiting for this judgment can now be dealt with, a change in the law looks likely.

December 2, 2009