Sick Pay, Maternity Pay, Unfair Dismissal 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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Annual Rise in SSP and SMP rates

The figures for the annual rise in SSP and SMP rates have been announced.
The earnings threshold to qualify for benefits rises from £95 to £97 per week.
Maternity, Adoption and Paternity pay will rise from £123.06 to £124.88 but SSP will stay at £79.15. The changes are likely to take effect in April 2010.

Cap on Unfair Dismissal Compensation to fall

Rather unusually, the statutory cap on the amount of compensation recoverable in Unfair Dismissal awards is to fall from £66,200 to £65,300 from 1 February 2010. The new figure will apply to dismissals that take place on or after 1 February. The statutory cap does not apply to losses recovered as a result of discrimination claims.
The cap applies to the Compensatory Award. In addition, employees recover a Basic Award determined by the number of years they have been in employment and their weekly pay. The cap on weekly pay recently rose to £380.

Appeal Tribunal clarifies employers’ duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled employees

The Appeal Tribunal has provided a useful checklist to consider when an employer has a duty to make reasonable adjustments for a disabled employee.
Firstly: did the employer know or be reasonably expected to know that the employee has a disability?
Secondly: did the employer know or be reasonably expected to know that either a physical feature of the employer’s premises or a “provision, criterion or practice” put the employee at a “substantial disadvantage” because of the effects of the disability?
If the answer to either of these questions is no, there is no duty to make reasonable adjustments.
A provision, criterion or practice and mean almost anything, e.g. a requirement to work particular hours or a ban on homeworking. The key questions the employer must ask themselves are:
1) Might my employee have a disability?
2) Might the effects of that disability affect the employee’s ability to conform with my usual work practices?
If the answer to either question is yes, it’s worth taking further advice as to whether reasonable adjustments might be necessary.


Appeal Tribunal criticises dismissals for “loss of trust and confidence”

In a case primarily about discrimination on grounds of religion, the Employment Appeal Tribunal has deprecated the increasing tendency of employers to dismiss for “loss of trust and confidence”, pointing out that this is a concept best used by employees in constructive dismissal cases.
In this case, a relationship counsellor was dismissed because he did not want to counsel same sex couples because he said it conflicted with his Christian beliefs. Following a similar case involving a Registrar who did not want to register same sex relationships, the EAT found that dismissing the counsellor was not discrimination on
grounds of his religion and that a dismissal was either on grounds of conduct or “some other substantial reason”, but criticising the employer’s approach of dismissing because of a breakdown in trust and confidence.
This is a reminder that the Employment Rights Act prescribes 6 potentially fair reasons for dismissal: conduct, capability, redundancy, retirement, illegality and “some other substantial reason”. A loss of trust and confidence does not easily fit within any of those reasons, but often what is said by the employer to result in a loss of trust and confidence might either be misconduct or some other substantial reason. The case should remind employers that it is important to get advice before dismissing an employee, to make sure that the reason falls within the potentially fair reasons prescribed by the Employment Rights Act.

December 23, 2009