Labour & European Law Review
03 November 2004
A recent report by the charity Citizens Advice, called Empty Justice, says that being awarded compensation by an employment tribunal can end up as a hollow victory for workers.
In unfair dismissal cases, employers do not have to prove that an employee is guilty. They just have to show that it was reasonable to have believed they were, and that they carried out a fair and proper investigation.
Although employees can take time off to attend to practical matters after the death of a dependant, they do not have the right to time off to deal with their grief.
Employers have no right to compel their employees to take a drugs test unless there is a clause in the contract that lets them. If there isn't and they force someone to undergo a test, that would constitute a criminal offence.
In claims of sex discrimination, once the woman has shown that her treatment was, on the face of it discriminatory, it is then up to the employer to prove that there was some other reason for it.
Under the Sex Discrimination Act, workers have the right not to be treated less favourably by their employer if they bring a claim under the Equal Pay Act.
In October 2002, legislation was introduced giving specific protection to fixed term workers. As a result, employers were no longer allowed to treat them less favourably than comparable, permanent employees unless they could justify the difference.
The law clearly states that employees over the age of 65 do not have the right to claim unfair dismissal or redundancy pay. Five years ago, however, John Rutherford and Samuel Bentley decided to challenge these provisions on the basis that they indirectly discriminated against men.