Tag Archives: law

The rise and rise of eSports

A briefing on eSports and associated legal issues

2017 has seen eSports continue to grow in Australia and throughout the world. Hardly a week goes by without a new development: from new eSports events to lucrative sponsorships of, or acquisitions of interests in, eSports teams and even suggestions that eSports should become an Olympic event.

This article provides a brief introduction to the eSports industry and identifies and discusses some of the important commercial and legal issues which arise in the industry.

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Essential questions for growing in a disrupted industry

Hall & Wilcox has been an outlier in corporate law over the last four years – the firm has bucked the low-growth trend in professional services and expanded its footprint from being a Melbourne-only firm to having a significant presence in Sydney and a meaningful foothold in Brisbane, Canberra, Perth and Newcastle. Partner numbers and revenue have more than doubled, and the firm’s growth has been strategic, culturally aligned and profitable.

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Clarification of California’s Obscure “Suitable Seating” Wage Rule Likely to Lead to More Employers Providing Seats – and to More Class Actions Against Those Who Don’t

Clarification Of California’s Obscure “Suitable Seating” Wage Rule Likely To Lead To More Employers Providing Seats – And To More Class Actions Against Those Who Don’tWe have written previously about California’s obscure wage rule pertaining to “suitable seating,” which requires that some employers provide some employees with “suitable seating” in some circumstances if the “nature of the work reasonably permits it” – and exposes employers to significant penalties if they do not do so.

Faced with a dearth of guidance on the obscure rule and with a wave of class actions following the discovery of the rule by the plaintiffs’ bar, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals threw up its hands last year and asked the California Supreme Court to answer a few questions relating to the law.

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Employee Fired by Text Wins Tribunal Hearing: A Cautionary Tale of Wage Rates

A Chef, who was dismissed via text message after questioning his rate of pay, has been awarded more than £15,000 after an unfair dismissal finding by an employment tribunal.

Christopher Hillis, a former chef at Glasgow restaurant Cail Bruich, asked the owner of the establishment about his pay being less than the national minimum wage on 19th September of last year after being employed for five months. The following day he called in sick and on 22nd September sent a text to his manager enquiring when his next shift was. The reply he received accused him of inventing his illness, was abusive in nature and resulted in dismissal, concluding with: “We don’t want you back”.

The Tribunal found that Mr. Hillis had been unfairly dismissed and awarded him compensation totalling £15,157 for unfair dismissal, breach of contract and claims under national minimum wage regulations. The tribunal found that the underpayment of wage was substantial, with Mr Hillis’ being paid £134 per week less than he should have received. He was also prevented from taking breaks because the kitchen was too busy, meaning his hourly rate was around £4.

This case highlights several issues critical to the employee-employer relationship, including the operation of the national minimum wage.

National Minimum Wage

The National Minimum Wage (NMW) is the minimum pay per hour almost all workers are entitled to by law. All employers must pay an employee wages, which is broadly calculated according to a worker’s age and whether they are carrying out an apprenticeship.

New National Minimum Wage Regulations 2015 came into force on 6 April 2015 and consolidated and replaced the National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999 and a further 27 other statutory instruments. Responsibility for enforcing the NMW falls to HM Revenue and Customs, which has the ability not only to enforce payments of the NMW but also to impose penalties on employers who flaunt the regulations. The repercussions for non-compliance include:

  • The ability to ‘name and shame’ employers who break NMW regulations, leading to public awareness of their business practice and more extensive media publication;
  • Forcing underpaying employers to pay arrears of wages at the current minimum wage rate and the ability to impose financial penalties of up to £20,000;
  • Serious violations may result in employers facing criminal prosecution.

Employers are permitted 28 days to appeal against a Notice of Underpayment. If no appeal is lodged or the appeal is unsuccessful, the Government will consider taking further action, such as publishing their name under the ‘name and shame’ scheme.

As of the 1st October 2015, the NWM rates will rise to:

  • £6.70 for workers 21 and over
  • £5.30 for 18 – 20 year olds
  • £3.87 for 16-17 year olds (those above school leaving age but under 18)
  • £3.30 for apprentices under 19 or 19 or over who are in the first year of apprenticeship.

Perhaps the most important aspect of the regulations’ changes is the introduction of the compulsory National Living Wage, due to be introduced in April 2016. This will set wage rates at £7.20 per hour for working people aged 25 and over.

There are a number of people who are not entitled to the NMW. These include:

  • Self-employed people;
  • Volunteers or voluntary workers;
  • Family members, or people who live in the family home of the employer who undertake household tasks;
  • Company directors.

All other workers, including flex workers, agency workers, commission workers and part-time workers must receive at least the NMW. It is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that each employee is paid appropriately.

An enquiry by employees regarding these rates should be welcomed with reference to these rates and justifications for that employee’s pay depending on their status.


The workplace environment, particularly in small organisations, can often lead to stressful and emotionally driven responses to incidents. Nevertheless, employers have a statutory responsibility to pay their employees appropriately. Emotional and personally motivated decisions taken in an employment context will likely be looked at very unfavourably by Employment Tribunals and may result in a similar outcome to that in the case of Mr. Hillis.

Contact our Employment Lawyers in Glasgow

If you require legal advice regarding any employment issue our team of employment lawyers can help. To discuss any problems you may have, contact our team today using our online contact form or call us on 0141 530 9164.

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