Blog Archives

Restrictive Covenants – Exercise Restraint?

Restrictive covenants can be entered into employment contracts to limit the activities of employees when their employment ends. These can useful tools to protect trade secrets, confidential information and customers, particularly where senior or key staff are concerned. However, such covenants must be carefully drafted as they may constitute an impermissible restraint of trade and be held to be unenforceable.

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Marie Macdonald quoted in Evening Times article regarding fitness instructors ‘teaching tax’ dispute

An article published in the Evening Times today discussed freelance gym instructors taking legal action over a £100 “tax” to teach in Glasgow’s network of leisure centres.

Instructors for Glasgow Life, which runs the city’s sports facilities, have been told they must pay the annual charge if they wish to continue teaching classes.

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The Potential Pitfalls of Pregnancy and Maternity Rights

Many employers are at risk of falling foul of legislation designed to protect pregnant women and new mothers, according to new research by the Equality and Human Rights Commission.

The research found that 77% of working mothers surveyed reported potentially discriminatory or negative experiences. However only around a quarter (28%) of these raised the issue with their employer, only 3% went through their employer’s internal grievance procedure, and less than 1% pursued a claim to the employment tribunal.  

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The Living Wage and other Employment Law Changes

As is standard for this time of year, there are a number of legislative changes which will take effect in April 2016 which employers should be aware of. The most publicised of these is the introduction of the National Living Wage.

Living wage

From the 1st April 2016, employers will be required to pay employees over the age of 25 the National Living Wage, which will initially be £7.20. Effectively, this becomes the new minimum wage for such employees. The rate is expected to remain the same when the minimum wage rates are subject to their annual review in October 2016, for younger employees and apprentices.

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The Tribunals (Scotland) Bill: The Death of the Employment Tribunal in Scotland?

Marie MacDonald, Head of Employment at Miller Samuel Hill Brown was recently asked to write an article for the Thomson Reuters Practical Law Employment Blog on the current proposals for devolution of the employment tribunal in Scotland.

Marie discusses the proposed changes and suggests that although at first blush the changes appear to be simply administrative, the proposals could signal the death of the current employment tribunal system in Scotland, with significant consequences.

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Vicarious Liability and Assault by Employees

The Supreme Court recently delivered its decision in a case which will have significant consequences for employers potential liability for the actions of its employees within the workplace. In A Mohamud v WM Morrison Supermarkets plc, an employer was found vicariously liable for an assault by one of their employees on a customer.

Mr Mohamud had entered a petrol station kiosk owned and operated by Morrisons to ask one of its employees if he could print documents on Morrisons office equipment located in the kiosk. The employee to whom this request was made, Mr Khan, responded rudely and with racially offensive language. He subsequently left the kiosk in pursuit of Mr Mohamud, followed him back to his car, opened the passenger door of the vehicle and told Mr Mohamud not to return. Upon being asked to leave Mr Muhamud’s vehicle, matters quickly escalated further when Mr Khan punched Mr Mohamud and then, when Mr Mohamud got out the car to close the passenger door, Mr Khan began punching and kicking him, despite instruction from his supervisor to stop.

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“Ask the Expert” Employment Law Seminar – Wednesday 23rd March 2016

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 Wednesday 23rd March (12.30 start).

The seminar will look at recent developments in discrimination law, with a particular focus on disability discrimination and age discrimination issues. We will look at recent cases where the courts and tribunals have provided useful guidance on matters such as the duty to make reasonable adjustments, discrimination arising from a disability and retirement of employees, which are always thorny issues for HR to deal with.

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HR Director Wins Sexual Harassment Tribunal Case

An employment tribunal has awarded over £800,000 in compensation to a woman who claimed she was sexually harassed by a colleague while employed by an NHS Trust in England, reports the BBC.

Helen Marks worked as HR director for Derbyshire Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and was good friends with the chairman of the Trust. However, he wanted a more intimate relationship and when she rejected his advances he reportedly convinced the Trust’s chief executive to suspend Mrs Marks over allegations that she had bullied staff.

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“Ask the Expert” Employment Law Seminar – Wednesday 23rd March 2016

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 Wednesday 23rd March (12.30 start).

The seminar will look at recent developments in discrimination law, with a particular focus on disability discrimination and age discrimination issues. We will look at recent cases where the courts and tribunals have provided useful guidance on matters such as the duty to make reasonable adjustments, discrimination arising from a disability and retirement of employees, which are always thorny issues for HR to deal with.

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The key to holiday pay: the door remains Locked

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has issued its judgment in the case of British Gas Ltd v Lock. Arguably the most awaited decision of the year thus far, this case involves a salesman for British Gas (Mr Lock) who claimed his holiday pay was underpaid as it reflected only his basic salary and took no account of any commission (which accounted for 60% of his take home earnings) he would have earned had he been at work.

In May 2014, Mr Lock’s case was referred to the European Court of Justice (CJEU) for guidance as to whether commission should be included in statutory holiday pay. It was the opinion of the CJEU that it should and so the matter was referred back to the Leicester Employment Tribunal, which in March 2015 followed the preliminary hearing of the CJEU and held that employers had to take account of performance-based commission payments when calculating holiday pay. 

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