Employers should treat all workers’ lawful beliefs with equal respect at work to avoid grievances or claims for constructive dismissal, but need not be concerned about discrimination claims based solely on a worker’s belief in vegetarianism.
Legal Alert - November 2019
A monthly checklist from Atom Content Marketing highlighting new and pending laws, regulations, codes of practice and rulings that could have an impact on your business.
Case law: Potentially defamatory comments on social media will be interpreted differently from same comments in other media
Individuals about whom derogatory comments are posted on social media should take legal advice before claiming defamation, as the courts will interpret such comments differently than if they were made elsewhere, such as in newspapers or on TV, according to a Supreme Court ruling.
Case law: Pre-ticked consent boxes on websites are not sufficient consent to use of personal data under EU laws
Website owners and operators must ensure that consent to the collection and use of personal data of their site visitors, required under EU data protection laws, are specific and express and given in relation to each relevant activity. Pre-ticked consent boxes do not amount to lawful consent, according to a recent ruling.
Case law: Tribunal clarifies when worker has refused to work because of breach of working time rules
Employers should note a recent ruling clarifying when a worker has ‘refused’ to comply with a requirement that breaches the working time rules - for example, the worker walks off a shift or does not turn up for work – because of the risk the employer may face a claim for detriment and/or unfair dismissal.
Case law: Landlords opposing renewal of business tenancy on grounds of doing substantial works do not have to start work immediately
A landlord proposing to oppose a business tenant’s renewal of the lease on grounds it intends to do substantial works on the premises ‘on the termination of the current tenancy’ must be able to show it intends to carry out the works within a reasonable time - given the circumstances – and not the day after the lease ends, a recent ruling makes clear.
Employers should avoid giving false reasons for dismissal or other sanctions, even if they do so with good intentions, otherwise they risk a discrimination claim and costs penalty, a ruling makes clear.
Case law: Landlords benefit from clarification of when tenant’s company voluntary arrangement is unfairly prejudicial
Landlords faced with a looming company voluntary arrangement (CVA) should review the proposed terms for potential unfair prejudice by comparing the expected outcome with that of available alternatives, and assessing whether they are being treated unfairly and unjustifiably compared to other classes of creditor.
Case law: Unfairly prejudicial conduct at subsidiary level can result in successful claim by shareholder of parent company
Shareholders/directors in group situations should note that unfairly prejudicial conduct in relation to the affairs of a subsidiary company in a group may also amount to unfairly prejudicial conduct of the parent company’s affairs; and the subsidiary and parent may also be part of a quasi-partnership - widening the scope for an unfair prejudice claim.
Case law: Giving attorneys power under a lasting power of attorney to make gifts could invalidate it
Donors making lasting powers of attorney (LPAs) should take great care when giving powers to their attorney to make gifts out of their estate, because if the power cannot be lawfully exercised the LPA may be invalid.
Case law: Court changes test for deciding if a contract is ‘relational’ so an implied duty to act in good faith applies
Parties negotiating a proposed agreement need to be aware that a different test will apply when deciding whether it is a ‘relational contract’, so that a duty to act in good faith will be implied, following a recent ruling.
Disclaimer: These publications from Atom Content Marketing are for general guidance only, for businesses in the United Kingdom governed by the laws of England. Atom Content Marketing, expert contributors and ICAEW (as distributor) disclaim all liability for any errors or omissions.