Blog Archives

Holidays Accrued on Sick Leave

There has been much litigation on the issue of whether an employee is entitled to carry over holidays which they have been unable to take due to being off sick. In previous cases, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) has ruled that workers continue to accrue holiday entitlement while they are on long term sick leave. The ECJ has also stated that workers should be given the opportunity to choose either to take paid annual leave during a period of sick leave, or take the leave on their return to work, potentially in the next holiday year.

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“Ask the Expert” Employment Law Seminar Tuesday 30th August – 12:30pm start

Miller Samuel Hill Brown LLP and Syme Drummond would be delighted if you could join us at our next “Ask the Expert” employment law seminar, which is taking place at 29, Royal Exchange Square on Tuesday 30th August 2016 (1230 start).

As always, we welcome any questions you may have on any employment law/ HR topics (which can be emailed in advance to or asked on the day) and will do our best to answer all queries received.

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Discrimination for wearing Islamic headscarf (re Bougnaoui v Micropole SA)

We recently posted a blog on the case of Achbita v G4S (which can be found here), in which the Advocate General gave the opinion that a ban on all religious, political and philosophical symbols did not amount to direct discrimination against a Muslim woman who wished to wear a headscarf. She noted that it could be indirectly discriminatory but was objectively justified.

A different Advocate General has now given a contrasting opinion in the similar case of Bougnaoui v Micropole SA, concluding that dismissing an employee for wearing an Islamic headscarf at work, in breach of an instruction not to, was directly discriminatory. This opens up further debate on the wearing of religious clothing and symbols in the workplace.

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Admissibility of settlement discussions in court

Section 111A of the Employment Rights Act 1996 was introduced in 2013 and gives protection to the confidentiality of certain pre-termination negotiations. The section allows for “any offer made or discussions held” with a view to negotiating agreed terms for termination of an employee’s employment will not be admissible as evidence in a subsequent ordinary claim of unfair dismissal.

The privilege provided by section 111A is therefore more limited than that provided by ‘without prejudice’ discussions, the scope of which is wider. Without prejudice discussions can be used to resolve a much wider range of employment claims, not just unfair dismissal.

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Mannai Investment Co Ltd v Eagle Star Assurance Co Ltd

Two recent (at time of writing) cases have provided a reminder of the importance of getting basic details correct in leases and formal notices relating to leases, and underlined the ongoing relevance of the House of Lords judgment Mannai Investment Co Ltd v Eagle Star Assurance Co Ltd [1997] AC 749.

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Brexit: What next for minimum alcohol pricing?

On 24 June the United Kingdom woke up to an unprecedented political hangover following the referendum decision to leave the European Union – a result that poses intriguing questions as to the future of the Scottish Government’s flagship minimum pricing policy.

The Alcohol (Minimum Pricing) (Scotland) Act 2012 provides for an alcohol floor price using the formula: MUP (minimum unit price) x strength (ABV) x volume in litres x 100. At the currently proposed MUP of 50p, a bottle of wine with an ABV of 13% would cost no less than £4.88. For a bottle of spirits, (70% ABV), the floor price would be £14.00, representing a significant hike for own-label products and pushing the cost towards that of premium spirits.

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When the ACAS Code applies

The Acas Code on Discipline and Grievance provides guidance for employers on procedures to follow when dealing with employee grievances or discipline. Failure to follow the Code can result in a successful Claimant receiving an uplift of up to 25% on the compensation they receive at Employment Tribunal. The Acas Code applies where employees are disciplined for misconduct or poor performance and does not apply to redundancy procedure. However, there remained uncertainty as to the other types of case in which the Acas Code should be followed. Two recent cases shed some light on this.

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Report Reveals Increase in Fatal Road Traffic Accidents

Two new reports from the European Transport Safety Council (ETSC) have suggested that declines in the level of police enforcement of traffic offences are contributing to Europe’s failure to cut the numbers dying in road collisions.

More than 26,000 people died on EU roads last year, the first increase since 2001 according to the ETSC. Exceeding speed limits, drink or distracted driving and a failure to wear a seat belt are apparently still the leading causes of death and serious injury on the roads across Europe.

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The Impact of Employment Tribunal Fees

The House of Commons Justice Committee recently carried out an inquiry regarding, among other things, fees in the Employment Tribunal (ET). Part of this inquiry was to consider the effect the introduction of ET fees has had on access to justice and how it has affected the volume and quality of cases brought. They have now published their report.

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Litigation in Scotland: New Simple Procedure Rules

Scotland’s civil courts are currently going through a period of historic reform aimed at modernising the civil justice system to make it more efficient and less expensive. As part of this on-going process, new simple procedure rules were recently published that will replace the current small claims procedure for cases that value £5,000 or less.

Here we provide a brief overview of the background to these reforms and the new simple procedure rules. We also take a look at the Scottish Civil Justice Council’s recently published Annual Report, highlighting some of the other key changes that have been and are taking place. For more information, please call our specialist litigators.

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