Employers faced with an unfair dismissal claim may be able to argue any award made should be reduced on grounds the employee’s conduct leading to the dismissal was blameworthy or culpable – it need not satisfy the more stringent test that it was gross misconduct.
Employers considering whether to dismiss an employee should ensure the relevant decision-maker enquires into the background to the proposed dismissal, particularly whether the reason adopted by the decision-maker is (unknown to the employer) an invented reason hiding the real reason for dismissal – for example, because they are a ‘whistleblower’ who made a protected disclosure.
Employers allowing workers to offer other individuals the option to take over a ‘shift’ should consider whether that means the worker can substitute someone else to do their work, as this affects whether the individual is a ‘worker’ enjoying certain employment rights - or a self-employed contractor who does not.
Employers should consider what adjustments to make to sickness and other policies to reduce disadvantages to disabled employees, and avoid withdrawing reasonable adjustments already made - unless a change in circumstances justifies them doing so or they implement more effective adjustments - or risk claims for unfair dismissal.
Employers settling claims by pregnant employees who want the settlement agreement to cover statutory maternity pay (SMP) must expressly mention it in the agreement, otherwise it will not be covered and the employee will be able to claim it separately.
Businesses or individuals registering a design in the EU or in the UK should note that submitting images in colour will limit the scope of protection given by the registration to products in that colour, and should therefore avoid using Computer Assisted Design (CAD) software that automatically renders images in a particular colour.
Parties negotiating an agreement should ensure that provisions in non-binding ‘subject to contract’ heads of terms are incorporated into the final contract - or risk them remaining non-binding.
Businesses buying equipment/goods on hire purchase, having no direct contract with the supplier of the equipment/goods, should consider what happens if they buy in reliance on supplier’s statements that turn out to be false. This is because they may not always have a remedy against the supplier in those circumstances, a ruling makes clear.
Businesses involved in a ‘service provision change’ under TUPE, such as where a client replaces one contractor with another, should consider whether workers – as well as employees from the first contractor - are protected by the TUPE rules, so that the second contractor must take them on and preserve their existing employment rights.
Landlords with unlet unoccupied commercial properties will welcome a High Court ruling that a scheme allowing them to avoid paying business rates on them is not unlawful on grounds of public interest.