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Weekly Issue 117 - December 2006

Labour & European Law Review Download issue

In the news

Stress is still the biggest problem facing UK workplaces, with excessive workloads, job cuts and rapid change the most common triggers for rising stress levels among employees, according to new research published by the TUC.

Dismissal rights for ministers

Until recently, ministers of religion have been regarded by the courts as appointees to a holy office and not as employees of a church. That meant they could not claim unfair dismissal, among other rights.

Equal pay

Article 141 of the EC Treaty says that member states must ensure the principle of equal pay for men and women doing equal work or work of equal value. The law also says that, if employers indirectly discriminate against one or more of their employees, they have to justify it.

ETO reason

Regulation 8 of the Transfer of Undertakings Regulations (TUPE) 1981 states that if an employee is dismissed for a reason connected with the transfer, the dismissal will be unfair.

The only exception is for an economic, technical or organisational (ETO) reason entailing changes in the workforce.

Fixed term contracts

The expiry of a fixed term contract constitutes a dismissal. But what happens if the person is dismissed before that date, and then reinstated after it?

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) in Prakash -v- Wolverhampton City Council has said that it just reinstates the original contract.

Mr Prakash’s union, the GMB, instructed Thompsons to act on his behalf.

Handling redundancies

Section 188 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 states that employers have to consult "in good time" with their workforce before making redundancies.

Judicial review proceedings

The law says that public bodies can act as private landowners and exclude individuals from their premises

However, in R (on the application of Montgomery) -v- Hertfordshire County Council (2006, IRLR 787), the High Court has said that they must act fairly and follow the proper procedures.

Ms Montgomery’s union, UNISON, instructed Thompsons to act on her behalf.

Know your rights

It is perfectly legitimate for employers to tell their employees to dress in a certain way at work. However, if they dismiss someone for not complying with the code, the employee may be able to bring a claim against them.