Thursday, 1 December 2016


My periodic newsletter on all things employment law related that I think you should be aware of.
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Hello  readers and colleagues ,

   Well here we are again, December issue as we approach the festive period.  What a year,  in a shock result we voted to leave the EU,  within a couple of days the Prime Minister resigned, Boris was stabbed in the back by M.Gove, and all the candidates for the leadership gave up before the finishing post and Therese May parachuted in.  The Labour party tried to get rid of its' own leader and couldn't 'cos the membership wanted him,  and then.............. just a few weeks ago, America voted Donald Trump as their next president.........!
(Jeffrey Archer couldn't have got this published as a work of fiction!) 
It makes my list of employment law issues seem quite tame!

On a personal note, I would like to thank you for being one of my readers, and for sticking with me, you are valued!    And, whatever your belief,  I wish you a happy and peaceful festive period for you and your family  and a prosperous new year. 

                      Read on for details, and, as always, call me or mail me if you have any concerns or need more information about this edition's content.     

Kind regards,     Paul    


First The News: 

The ten most significant employment law news stories this year.

This is quite a long read,  grab a coffee and a mince pie and put your feet up,    it includes UBER (yawn!).......  Dismissal for pulling a "sickie" (zzzzzz!)...........courts choosing to ignore ACAS code of practice (  snore !) ..........childcare vouchers during maternity leave  (zzzmumblezzz)    It goes on (and on)  read the full piece though at my blog page,  and keep yourself informed read more


Fair dismissal for refusing to work Christmas:

 An employment tribunal held that a food company employee was fairly dismissed after she refused to do overtime in the run-up to Christmas and complained about being asked to work extra hours, causing discontent among colleagues. Stephen Simpson rounds up recent tribunal decisions.
In Edwards v Bramble Foods Ltd, the tribunal held that an employer fairly dismissed an employee who refused to do overtime and whose protests at being asked to do so threatened to disrupt the business.
A small food company’s busiest period is the eight weeks from mid-September, when it produces and packs goods such as gifts and hampers for Christmas.
Employees’ contracts of employment include a clause requiring them to work extra hours when the business requires.
The company decided to formalise its overtime arrangements, which involved asking employees to choose between four and eight Saturday mornings they could work in September and October.
While the rest of the workforce agreed to work some Saturdays, Mrs Edwards refused to work on Saturday mornings.
read the full story

And finally tonight ! 

Can an employment tribunal make an order for unreasonable conduct costs against a litigant in person?

Yes, held the EAT in Liddington v 2gether NHS Trust.

The Claimant complained that having made a safeguarding referral she suffered detriment and was eventually unfairly dismissed. A total of three Employment Judges told her that her claims were not adequately particularised (a failure to provide dates was particularly significant since it appeared that some of the alleged acts of detriment actually pre-dated her safeguarding referral).

The Judge accepted that the Claimant was a litigant in person and so should not be held to the standards of a lawyer; however, given the number of earlier hearings at which detailed particulars were sought, her continued inability to provide proper particulars amounted to unreasonable conduct which justified a costs award against her. The Judge specifically considered whether her inability to particularise her case was caused by stress, anxiety or illness, and decided it  was not.

    A case on its own peculiar facts, but it does emphasise that being a litigant in person does not give a 'free pass' when it comes to the risk of being ordered to pay costs.
My Thanks to the ever informative Daniel Barnett site for their material  see them at

To all who take the time to read my offering, to those who mail in with your questions, and to all my clients and chums who bother to tell me they actually read this stuff,  and find it useful,   my heartfelt thanks !
      May  I wish you a contented and peaceful festive holiday with your families.

Merry Christmas and my very best wishes:

Paul Murray


In you need further in depth help working out what exactly counts as minimum wage,  the DBIS has produced this 55 page guide,
"Calculating the minimum wage"      

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Health& Safety Myths

A light hearted look at some of the idiotic things we hear.


The enquirer was in a DIY store and asked for some advice on which spotlights to buy as her electrician had given her a connection block size and she wanted to know where to look for the connection box. She also wanted some general advice on what the difference was between various spotlights on the shelf. The store assistant said he could not give any advice due to health and safety because if he did and then the enquirer relied on it and something went wrong he would be liable.

Panel opinion

Nothing in health and safety at work regulations prevents shop assistants providing product information. This company has a general policy that staff do not give detailed advice on matters that they feel are technical in nature unless they are trained to do so – but they do employ an electrician part-time in store to do this. Instead of explaining this policy or involving the electrician, the assistant gave the less than illuminating excuse of ‘health and safety’.


A sign on the outside of a card shop read "No Trolleys. Due to health and safety and the size of the store we are unable to allow for trolleys. Sorry for the inconvenience."

Panel opinion

The notice makes clear that the real reason for not allowing trolleys is because of space restrictions – they should have stuck to this clear and simple explanation rather than calling on "health and safety" presumably thinking this would add weight to their argument. The sign is also confusing in that it is only about trolleys – does the same "rule" apply to pushchairs and wheel chairs?