Weekly issue 91 - July 2004

Labour & European Law Review Download issue

In the news

When asked to name the top ten lawyers whose work should be familiar to all students, the Professor of Law at the Open University included William Henry Thompson, the founder of Thompsons, in his list.

Fixed time

According to regulations introduced in 2002, fixed-term workers cannot be treated less favourably than permanent workers, unless the employer can justify the difference.

Equality rules OK

In December last year, the Government introduced the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 outlawing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

We're all going on a summer holiday

Until 1998, workers in this country had no statutory right to paid holiday. Since the introduction of the Working Time Regulations (WTR), they have been entitled to a minimum of four weeks every year. A solicitor from Thompsons' Employment Rights Unit in London, summarises the law and answers some commonly asked questions.

Drunk and disputed

The behaviour of people hearing a case (whether in the workplace or in a tribunal) can be crucial to the outcome. In this case - Stansbury v Datapulse plc and anor (2004, IRLR 466) - Mr Stansbury successfully argued at the Court of Appeal that he had been denied a fair hearing because one of the panel members fell asleep.

Unreasonable costs

Unlike other courts, it is very unusual for employment tribunals to order the losing party to pay the other side's costs. But that's exactly what the tribunal did in McPherson v BNP Paribas, when it ordered Mr McPherson to pay almost £91,000. The Court of Appeal has just upheld this decision, but reduced the amount that he had to pay.

Notice of compensation

It is a well-established legal principle that workers cannot be compensated twice for any loss that they incur. This has been confirmed in Hardy v Polk (Leeds) Ltd (2004, IRLR 420), in which the employment appeal tribunal (EAT) said that Ms Hardy was not entitled to be compensated for the full seven weeks of her notice period, as she was only out of work for four of them.

Willing volunteers?

Until October this year, employers with fewer than 15 employees remain exempt from the provisions of Part ll of the Disability Discrimination Act. In the case of South East Sheffield Citizens Advice Bureau v Grayson (2004, IRLR 353), the employment appeal tribunal (EAT) decided that because the bureau's volunteers did not count as employees, it was exempt from the legislation.