Employers should take action now to ensure they comply with employment law changes coming into force in April 2020.
Legal Alert - February 2020
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.
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.
Case law: Belief that a person’s sex cannot change is not a ‘philosophical belief’, protected under discrimination law, but belief in ethical veganism can be
Employers will welcome clarification from the courts on what amounts to a protected ‘philosophical belief’. Treating an employee or job candidate less favourably because of their belief that a person’s sex cannot be changed is not discriminatory under employment law, but treating them unfavourably because they are ethical vegans can be.
Will-makers who want to leave property to a foreign charity, but previously decided not to on grounds the usual UK exemption from inheritance tax (IHT) for charitable bequests only applies to UK charities, may now be able to do so, following a recent Supreme Court ruling that bequests to foreign charities are exempt too.
Employers should beware blanket bans on beards (or other aspects of a person’s appearance arising from their religious beliefs) unless they can show the ban is proportionate – for example, there is no other way to comply with customers’ preferences in a non-discriminatory way - or they risk an indirect discrimination claim.
Employers considering a dismissal (or other disciplinary action) should assess whether or not holding a separate investigatory hearing is required in order for the procedure to be fair. A recent legal ruling confirms that such a hearing is only required if it would be reasonable to hold one in all the circumstances.