Employment law never stands still, and 2018 was yet another busy year. I thought it would be useful to look back at the developments over the past 12 months by looking at the top 10 most popular stories on our News page. (Please feel free to imagine the Top of the Pops music playing in the background!)
At number 10, we have Marianne’s article about the case of Talon Engineering v Smith, Disciplinary hearings and absent companions – to postpone or not to postpone? The popularity of this article definitely matches with what we are seeing in practice, as several of our clients have seen employees testing the limits of how far employers will be prepared to delay hearings based on a companion’s unavailability.
And up next at number 9 is Peter’s article about the changes which took effect on 6 April 2018, Taxation of termination payments – what’s changing? The changes have already had a significant impact on a number of the Settlement Agreements we have dealt with for both employers and employees since April.
Number 8 for 2018 was Marianne’s article about the case of De Souza v Primark, Employee awarded £47,000 in transgender discrimination case. We have noticed a significant increase in the number of enquiries about gender reassignment over the past few years, and certainly the compensation figure in the De Souza case is a wake-up call for employers to ensure they are aware of their obligations in this complex area.
In at 7 was my March article about the National Minimum Wage – NMW headaches for employers. The NMW also came in at number 6 in our article about the latest case law on sleep-ins, which we covered in July: Latest case – an end to the sleep in crisis?
Making it to number 5 is a case where the highest court in the land had to decide whether someone received their notice when it arrived in the post, or when they actually read it. A simple question on the face of things, but an important one: When does notice take effect?
One of my articles from October came in at number 4 – Can you make someone redundant when they are off sick? It is not surprising that this one struck a chord with many of you, as I wrote it as a result of several clients having similar queries. The short answer is yes, but of course there is always more to it than that!
At third place in the table is Can smaller offences ever ‘add up’ to gross misconduct? Previously, it had tended to be the case that gross misconduct had to be one significant issue, rather than a collection of smaller ones, but although the case of Mbubaegbu v Homerton University Hospital found that was normally right, there were exceptions when smaller matters could be added together to justify summary dismissal.
Number 2 was good old Mr Bump – To bump or not to bump? As we say in the article, bumping is something that we get asked about a lot, and clearly has been a very popular topic in 2018, but it actually is fairly unusual to see it successfully used in practice!
And finally, our number 1 story from 2018 was Repayment of training costs – is it legal? This is obviously a particularly hot topic for both employers and employees – and it is important that employers have proper agreements in place if they want to try and recover training costs from departing employees. Do get in touch if you need help with any issues around training costs.
Thank you to everyone who reads our articles – we get some lovely feedback and it is great to hear that they are useful to you. We’ll continue to keep you all bang up to date with everything 2019 has in store!
If you would like to talk through a situation you are dealing with, or if you need advice on any aspect of employment law, please contact any member of the Pure Employment Law team (01243 836840 or [email protected]).
Please note that this update is not intended to be exhaustive or be a substitute for legal advice. The application of the law in this area will often depend upon the specific facts and you are advised to seek specific advice on any given scenario.