Blog Archives

“Brexit” – Implications for Employment Law

With the referendum on the UK’s EU membership only days away, there has been much discussion of the effect a “Brexit” could have in numerous areas. Here, we look at the possible implications leaving the EU could have for employment law.

A significant amount of UK employment law comes from the EU, including discrimination laws, laws on the transfer of undertakings (TUPE), rights to family leave and the Working Time Regulations, which provide for holidays and rest breaks.

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Neighbours take High Hedge Dispute to Scottish Government

The High Hedges (Scotland) Act has been brought into use to help resolve a dispute between neighbours over the height of a hedge, reports the Telegraph.

The dispute is over a 34-ft hedge that belongs to Mr and Mrs MacRae, and divides their garden in Ballachuilish from that of their neighbours, Mr and Mrs MacLeod.

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Shared Parental Leave – One Year On

Last year, the new scheme of Shared Parental Leave (SPL) was introduced for parents of children born on or after 5th April 2015 (see our previous blog for further information on this scheme). The aims were to allow more flexibility for parents and to allow more fathers to take extended leave on the birth of their child. One year on, what has the impact of the scheme been?

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Chelsea’s Team Doctor Settles Tribunal Claim

Eva Carneiro, the former doctor for Chelsea FC’s first team, has reached a private settlement in her employment tribunal claim against the football club, reports the BBC.

Dr Carneiro claimed that she had been constructively dismissed by the club. She also brought a separate legal claim of sex discrimination against Mr Mourinho following an incident where she ran on to the football pitch during a match to treat a player. The player had to leave the pitch, leaving Chelsea temporarily with only nine players. Dr Carneiro alleges that Jose Mourinho shouted a derogatory, sex related phrase at her. Following this incident, Dr Carneiro was removed from first team duties and she then resigned.

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Personal Injury Litigation in Scotland: Time-bar in historic child abuse cases

Over recent years, there has been an increased acknowledgement that the time-bar on seeking damages for historic abuse is restricting access to civil justice, particularly in those cases where abuse may have been facilitated by the systemic failures of bodies and institutions legally responsible for the care of children.

In Scotland, these issues and more are being investigated by the Scottish Child Abuse Inquiry. The Scottish Government has also introduced the Limitation (Childhood Abuse) (Scotland) Bill which seeks to lift the three-year time-bar on claiming damages for historic child abuse and sets out the circumstances for cases to be raised again when they were originally struck out because of time-bar.

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Religious Symbols in the Workplace

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) recently heard the case of Achbita v G4S Secure Solutions, a Belgian case concerning a Muslim woman who was dismissed for refusing to remove her headscarf at work. She claimed unfair dismissal and discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief.

This is the first such case of religious discrimination which has reached the ECJ and has been widely reported due to the sensitive and topical issues raised. Last week the Advocate General gave her opinion which, while not the decision of the court, may give an indication of how the court may find.

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Government Proposes Shake-up of Insolvency Regime

The UK Government has launched a consultation over proposed changes to the UK insolvency regime.

The consultation looks at four broad areas for reform to improve the efficiency of the rescue and restructuring tools available to companies in the UK, which are:

  • introducing a moratorium for distressed businesses to benefit from protection against legal action while considering their options for rescue,
  • widening the definition of essential supplies, with appropriate safeguards for suppliers, to assist distressed businesses,
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The Immigration Act 2016 comes into force

Earlier this month, the UK Government passed the Immigration Act 2016. It introduces changes to the law on various aspects of immigration, some of which are relevant to employment. The rationale behind the Act is that migrant workers are particularly vulnerable to exploitation in the labour market, and that such exploitation is an increasingly organised criminal activity, necessitating measures to tackle this as well as tackling illegal immigration.  Regulations passed last week provide that three relevant provisions will come into force on the 12th July this year:

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Protecting Workers Against Occupational Cancer

In a move that aims to provide better protection for workers, the European Commission has proposed a number of changes to the Carcinogens and Mutagens Directive that will limit exposure to 13 cancer-causing chemicals at work.

According to the World Health Organisation, cancer is the second largest cause of death in most developed countries – and in the European Union cancer is the first cause of work-related deaths. Around 53% of annual work-related deaths are due to cancer, compared to 28% for circulatory diseases and 6% for respiratory diseases.

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Trade Secrets

The European Parliament has recently approved a new Trade Secrets Directive, which is expected to come into force following approval by the European Council when they vote in May.

The rationale behind the new Directive is that current protection of trade secrets varies widely across the EU and this poses a risk to cross border investment. In a consultation on the proposed Directive in 2013, it was found that companies considered trade secrets highly important for development and competitiveness and a significant majority had concerns about current protections, such as the risks of operating in Member States with weaker protection and the costs of preventative measures. The EU press release regarding the Directive states that 1 out of 5 companies is a victim of theft of trade secrets every year. 

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