Employers should note that they are entitled to take an employee’s private life into account when the employee is undergoing disciplinary proceedings, provided it is proportionate to do so.
An employer making a one-off decision or carrying out an act which disadvantages a disabled employee may not be indirectly discriminating against the employee, because their decision or act may not be a ‘provision, criterion or practice’ - provided it is genuinely one-off – a recent legal ruling confirms.
Employers should plan and budget for changes to the way holiday pay is calculated for workers who do not work fixed hours, such as casual workers, from 6 April 2020.
Parties negotiating a proposed agreement need to be aware that previous legal rulings that a duty to act in good faith will automatically be implied into their agreement if it is ‘relational’ have been watered down in recent court decisions.
Employers responding to a whistleblower’s allegations should be careful about what they say in their defence, as their statements could amount to an unlawful detriment against the whistleblower.
Businesses should ensure that employees – particularly those with titles such as ‘Buyer’ that imply they are authorised to negotiate and conclude contracts with suppliers – are aware of the limitations on their authority to do so, and the procedures they must follow. Otherwise a business risks being bound by contracts the employee did not have authority to make - including those made by email.
Businesses should take their responsibilities under data protection law seriously, ensure old records are dealt with lawfully and respond promptly to questions legally asked by the Information Commissioner’s Office, or risk significant fines.
Employers will welcome guidance from Acas to help them decide what steps they may need to take in relation to their employees because of the coronavirus, given their statutory duty to safeguard their health and safety.
Employers should ensure that it is made clear to employees involved in a disciplinary procedure that they are to pass on all relevant facts of which they become aware to the person making the decision whether to dismiss or not. Otherwise a dismissal risks being found to be procedurally unfair, following a recent legal ruling.
Owners of copyright and other intellectual property rights in online digital content such as e-books, video games, etc can now prevent their unauthorised sale as ‘second-hand’ items by third parties as this is a breach of their rights, the European Court has made clear.