Thursday, 30 October 2014

Tribunal fees judicial review to be heard this month


The new judicial review of the lawfulness of the Government’s introduction of employment tribunal fees will be heard later this month at the High Court.

The Lord Chancellor gave Unison the go-ahead last month to launch fresh proceedings in
the light of consistent statistics from the Ministry of Justice that the number of employment tribunal claims has fallen dramatically since the introduction of upfront fees for claimants.
Prior to the introduction of fees in July 2013, the employment tribunals received, on average, 48,000 new claims per quarter. Figures for April to June 2014 show that there were only 8,540 new claims in this quarter, 81% fewer than the number of claims lodged in the same period in 2013.
         The judicial review will be heard on 21-22 October 2014. Unison general secretary Dave Prentis said: “The High Court’s decision to schedule the judicial review within a month of the union filing its claim shows just how important the issue of tribunal fees is.

“Over the past year we have seen tens of thousands of workers denied access to justice simply because they can no longer afford to bring an employment tribunal claim. If the Government doesn’t abolish these unfair fees it is effectively rolling out the welcome mat to unscrupulous employers, and we must do everything possible not to let that happen.”

Sarah Hogg, associate solicitor at Fasken Martineau, said: “If Unison is successful in its challenge, the Government will have to take steps to adjust the fee regime. However, it is unlikely that the current Government will abolish the fee regime altogether. A more likely outcome would be a reduction to the level of fees, as a compromise between ensuring access to justice and deterring vexatious or speculative claims made in the hope of a settlement. On a more practical level, the Government has undertaken to refund any tribunal fees paid to date in the event that Unison is successful.”
My comment:  I really do think this would be a backward step if they undid this legislation, and would again open the flood gates to spurious claims.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

ACAS PRODUCE HELPFUL GUIDANCE ON SHARED PARENTAL LEAVE.


ACAS PRODUCE HELPFUL GUIDANCE ON SHARED PARENTAL LEAVE.

ACAS has published a detailed guidance note on the new shared parental leave rules, together with
supporting material including standard letters and a policy document. These documents are available for download .    read more    

My Comment:  This issue could prove to be very complex to manage,   as the employer may have to liaise with another employer they don't even know, both  it's your employee who is the mum, or if your employee is the father.  It affects adoptive parents too.    

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Serial litigant who brought 30 employment cases in four years banned from tribunal claims




In DLA Piper’s latest case report, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) granted a restriction of proceedings order preventing the submission of any further claims for an indefinite period against a claimant who brought repeated claims in employment tribunals, most of which were hopeless or vexatious.
Her Majesty’s Attorney General v Iteshi EAT/0435/13
Facts:
Section 33 of the Employment Tribunals Act 1996 enables the Attorney General or Lord Advocate to apply to the EAT for a restriction of proceedings order against a serial vexatious litigant, to prevent him or her making further claims.
An application can be made if a person habitually, persistently and without any reasonable grounds institutes vexatious proceedings (whether or not against the same or different respondents), or makes vexatious applications in proceedings to the tribunal or EAT.
Mr Iteshi had brought a grand total of 30 employment tribunal claims and numerous applications within those claims between 2007 and 2011, none of which were successful. The claims arose from a series of unsuccessful job applications by Mr Iteshi.
Four of the claims were against his own employers, with the remainder against recruitment companies in respect of positions for which he did not have the necessary qualifications. All claims involved direct and indirect race discrimination, most involved sex discrimination and many involved victimisation.
On all occasions, the claims were dismissed or struck out on the grounds that they were either vexatious or had no prospect of success. Costs were awarded against Mr Iteshi in a number of instances.       The EAT estimated that over the course of the 30 claims, the various respondents had incurred legal fees amounting to a six-figure sum
Decision
The EAT made an order preventing Mr Iteshi from bringing any further claims for an indefinite period.
An individual who has conducted unreasonable and vexatious litigation, but who then stops and undertakes not to do so in the future, can avoid a restriction of proceedings order. Mr Iteshi sought to rely on this, but the EAT took the view that there was a realistic possibility that he would bring further vexatious or hopeless claims in the future, given that he did not accept that any of his 30 claims had been unreasonable or vexatious and dismissed the EAT as “crooked individuals hiding behind judicial immunity and their evil cloak of infallibility”.
The EAT acknowledged the predicament of employers and recruitment agencies in a case like this. He pointed out that in an ordinary case where a claim has been brought, it is often possible for the respondent to avoid further litigation by avoiding further contact with the claimant.
My Comment:   This case is a stark warning for serial litigants and should provide comfort for employers and recruitment businesses alike.    our thanks to "Personnel Today" for this piece   read more

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

OCTOBER EDITION, EMPLOYMENT LAW NEWS

My periodic newsletter on all things employment law related that I think you should be aware of.
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Hello  << Test First Name >> ,
  
  October traditionally marks the beginning of autumn and here we are already,  Halloween stuff in my local supermarket . (just a bit further up than the Christmas crackers!).  October also marks the increase in NMW, this year quite a jump. Also for the first time I've actually had enquiries from clients who have staff  who are military reservists and have been put on standby. So I've included a note about this. Sad reflection of our times.    As employment rights march on,  as of today, expectant fathers and partners have the right to time off, to attend antenatal appointments and no service required for this right.      Read on for details, and, as always, call me if you have any concerns about this edition's content.

Kind regards,     Paul 
 

First The News:   Expectant fathers and partners to have the right to time off for antenatal appointments

As of today, 1st October sees the introduction of brand new antenatal rights for fathers and partners to take time off to accompany a pregnant woman to see a midwife or obstetrician .

My Comment:    this is the inevitable march of employment rights,  and should come as no surprise, what next I wonder?       read full details
 


Newsflash:   Minimum wage goes up as of today

The annual increment in national minimum wage rates goes up as of today.  The national minimum wage will increase by 19p an hour to £6.50, the government has announced.
The new rates will be implemented as today 1st October and will benefit a million workers.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said he had accepted a recommendation from the Low Pay Commission that the minimum wage should increase by 3%.It is the first time in six years that the rise will be higher than inflationThe rate for 18 to 20-year-olds will go up by 10p to £5.13 an hour, a 2% increase.The rate for those aged 16 and 17 will rise by 7p to £3.79, also a 2% increase.                       

My Comment:    This happens every October so no surprise, and I believe a manageable amount.      read more    
 
 

 

Do you have any Military reservists on your workforce?  
 
The Reserve Forces (Payments to Employers and Partners) Regulations 2014 have been published coming in to force today, the 1st October 2014. At present. when called up, military reservists are paid directly by the ministry of defence, and employers can expenses in respect of additional costs incurred whilst replacing the reservist (to a maximum of £110.00 per day) .

My Comment:  I've included this as I've had one or two enquiries on this topic,    troubled times!        read more
 
 
Tribunal applications down for successive quarter.

Employment tribunal receipts continue to record a dramatic year-on-year decline, according to the latest round of quarterly statistics from the Ministry of Justice.
 The number of single tribunal claims received in April to June 2014 was 3,792 – 70% fewer year on year and one-third down on the previous quarter.  The number of multiple claims also fell, down by 85% year on year.

My Comment   As I 've opined previously,  this is basically good news as it means the frivolous and vexatious cases won't be getting through,  but,  expect challenges in the new year!     read more 

And finally tonight ! 

Tribunal Member Appears Asleep

 If a member of an Employment Tribunal is apparently sleeping for around 15-20 seconds, having been observed to be drooling by the Employment Judge, is that a material procedural irregularity to permit a judgment to be overturned?    (ans. = No!)
 
My wife’s pregnant, but I’m off work with morning sickness!
A father-to-be has been signed off work and claims he has been diagnosed with sympathetic pregnancy after going to his GP complaining of weight gain, exhaustion and food cravings. read more
 
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Health& Safety Myths

A light hearted look at some of the idiotic things we hear.
CASE 312   Chips cannot be served in a paper cone! 
When ordering chips from a chip shop to take away, enquirer's wife asked for her chips to be just put in paper and wrapped in a cone rather than have them served in the normal plastic type tray so they would be easier to eat and carry as they walked round the shops. However, she was told by the lady serving behind the counter... "We can't do that, it's against health and safety, in case you burn yourself on the chips". She was then advised that once they served them to her, she is more than welcome to remove the tray and wrap them up herself.
 
CASE 317   Store would not provide plastic knives for take-out food.
Enquirer called into a high street store to purchase some lunch and asked if they had any plastic knives and forks for sale. The assistant said yes they had forks but due to Health & Safety were not allowed to provide plastic knives.!
 

 The information contained in these pages is an HR overview and not intended to be comprehensive legal advice, always seek specific qualified advice before taking any action that could lead to litigation.   Equally, were we have provided links to external web pages, we are not responsible for the content of other sites.

Copyright © 2014 paul murray HR consultant, All rights reserved.
I send this to all my valued clients, colleagues and people I've actually spoken to, if you find this an intrusion, my apologies, please just unsubscribe.

New Minimum Wage Rates Announced For October


stack-of-cash-risingThe national minimum wage will increase by 19p an hour to £6.50, the government has announced.
The new rates will be implemented in October and will benefit a million workers.

Business Secretary Vince Cable said he had accepted a recommendation from the Low Pay Commission that the minimum wage should increase by 3%.It is the first time in six years that the rise will be higher than inflationThe rate for 18 to 20-year-olds will go up by 10p to £5.13 an hour, a 2% increase.The rate for those aged 16 and 17 will rise by 7p to £3.79, also a 2% rise.Apprentices will earn an extra 5p an hour, taking their wages to at least £2.73.The consumer prices index (CPI) rate of inflation is currently 1.9%.”The recommendations I have accepted today mean that low-paid workers will enjoy the biggest cash increase in their take-home pay since 2008,” said Mr Cable.

 

Employment tribunal applications decline


Employment tribunal receipts continue to record a dramatic year-on-year decline, according to the latest round of quarterly statistics from the Ministry of Justice.

The number of single tribunal claims received in April to June 2014 was 3,792 – 70% fewer
year-on-year and one-third down on the previous quarter. The number of multiple claims also fell, down 85% year-on-year.
The decline will continue to be correlated with the introduction in July 2013 of employment tribunal fees, but the introduction in April 2014 of the Acas early conciliation scheme is also now a significant contributing factor to the fall.
The decrease in employment tribunal claims will lend weight to Unison’s Court of Appeal hearing next week, in which it is challenging the introduction of fees.
Sex discrimination claims have fallen by the largest margin with only 591 claims in April to June 2014 versus 6,310 in the same period in 2013, a fall of 91%.

TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady said: “Early conciliation through Acas is a welcome step that is helping in some cases when things go wrong at work, but it can’t explain such a large fall in the number of employment tribunals. The fees system is a victory for Britain’s bad bosses who are getting away with harassment and abuse of workers.       “Tribunal fees are pricing workers out of justice and have created a barrier to basic rights at work. The Government has put Britain in a race to the bottom that is creating an economy based on zero hours jobs and zero rights for workers.”                            Fergal Dowling, partner at law firm Irwin Mitchell, said: “These figures come as no surprise and reflect a downwards trend in employment tribunal numbers.                “Many will attribute the fall to the introduction of early conciliation in April, but Unison, which is currently involved in a legal challenge about the impact on fees, will no doubt believe it adds weight to its argument that fees indirectly discriminate against protected groups such as women, ethnic minorities and disabled people and are unlawful.
“Recent calls for the scrapping of employment tribunal fees by the Labour Party need to be balanced by the needs of business, but we believe the time is right to review the systems and ensure it is operating in a fair way for all.”
Earlier this week the Labour party said it would scrap the current “unfair” employment tribunal system.

My Comment: Whilst this is generally good news for business, as the chances are that the vexatious claims are being filtered out, (remember it was called "the chancers charter!") do keep an eye on Unison and opposition politics as they are making noises to challenge the fee system.    Be careful what you wish for!       see this on webpage