We round up what caught Tribunal Watch's eye on Twitter in the week beginning 6 May 2013, during which the Queen's Speech included an announcement that the Deregulation Bill will make provision for the removal of the power in the Equality Act 2010 that allows employment tribunals to issue recommendations relating to the employer's whole workforce.
Recently in Discrimination: sexual orientation Category
A round-up of links to stories about employment tribunal rulings reported in the week beginning 22 April 2013, including a tribunal finding that six parking enforcement workers who were made redundant when the services they provided were outsourced to a private company and their jobs relocated from Barnet to Croydon and Lancing.
Unison wins unfair dismissal claim for workers transferred from Barnet to Croydon or Lancing (on the Unison website) Unison has won unfair dismissal claims in Besagni and others v NSL and RR Donnelly for six parking enforcement workers who were made redundant when the services they provided were sold off to a private company and their jobs relocated from Barnet to Croydon or Lancing.
Employment tribunal decisions reported on XpertHR (see also Podcast: Illegality-related dismissals)
Fair dismissal of foreign worker who could not prove right to work in the UK Employment tribunal case Winful v Whitbread Group plc arose from a situation in which the employer felt that it had no option but to dismiss a foreign worker who lost her right to work in the UK.
Fair dismissal of security supervisor who did not hold required security licence In Cook v Wilson James Ltd, a private security contractor, which needed most employees by law to hold a security licence, fairly dismissed an employee who did not have the required documentation.
The news that Kent youth PCC Paris Brown has resigned after a Twitter row and two police employees resigned in 2012 for misuse of Facebook (on the BBC website) suggests that employers are still having issues with employees' social media activities. We round up ten employment cases involving Facebook.
Facebook entry and YouTube video led to amateur model's dismissal
Gill v SAS Ground Services UK Limited ET/2705021/09
Employers can use entries on websites such as Facebook and YouTube as evidence in disciplinary proceedings, as this case demonstrates.
Facebook page criticising employer did not justify dismissal
Stephens v Halfords plc ET/1700796/10
Employees' entries on social media critical that are of their employer will not always justify dismissal, as this case demonstrates.
Abusive Facebook comments led to pub shift manager's dismissal
Preece v JD Wetherspoons plc ET/2104806/10
In this case, an employee's inappropriate use of Facebook after a workplace incident led to her summary dismissal.
Employee who commented on Facebook that she worked "in a nursery" was unfairly dismissed
Whitham v Club 24 Ltd t/a Ventura ET/1810462/10
An increasing number of tribunal cases involve employees making work-related comments on Facebook. This case shows that derogatory comments will by no means always justify dismissal.
Apple's dismissal of employee for adverse Facebook comments not unfair or breach of human rights
Crisp v Apple Retail (UK) Ltd ET/1500258/11
In this case, one of the world's most prominent consumer technology companies, Apple, used its policies and procedures to dismiss fairly an employee who had made several Facebook posts that it considered could damage its reputation.
Without wanting to be a killjoy, Red Nose Day on Friday 15 March is a good time to remind employers of two employment tribunal decisions drawn from the XpertHR case law archive suggesting that employees and line managers sometimes get the tone wrong during themed charity days in the workplace.
Sexual orientation harassment against gay man during charity fancy-dress day
X v Y ET/1605521/09
In this case, the employment tribunal found that a gay employee was harassed at a workplace fancy-dress event that he could not opt out of and that lent itself to banter of a sexual nature that could easily offend.
Irish claimant discriminated against during Red Nose Day
Neylan v Royal Berkshire Fire Authority ET/2701259/03
In this case, the employment tribunal found that an Irish employee was discriminated against as a result of a one-off incident during Red Nose Day. As part of a list of "sins" to raise money for Red Nose Day, "being Irish £1" was written on the whiteboard in the employer's control room.
Of course, as the Employment Appeal Tribunal in Heafield v Times Newspaper Ltd EAT/1305/12 reminded us, the context of actions or remarks can often be critical when assessing whether or not they constituted harassment. Tribunals are likely, but not guaranteed, to take a more lenient view if the alleged actions (if not too serious) were due to hijinks or over-excitement during a themed day at work.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal decision in Heafield v Times Newspaper Ltd highlights again that the context of a remark can often be critical when assessing whether or not it constituted harassment. We look at 10 examples of employment tribunals considering the context in which alleged harassment has taken place.
Age discrimination: "joke" email from manager costs employer £1,500
Growcott v Home Office NIFET/85/09
A manager's joke about the claimant's age that might have been acceptable during a friendly chat was viewed very differently by the tribunal because it was made during a recruitment process.
"Ironside" nickname for wheelchair user was harassment
Davies v Remploy Ltd ET/2407487/09
This case is a good reminder of the difference between remarks that constitute unlawful harassment, and mere offensive language.
Discriminatory comments not directed at claimant were racial harassment
Morgan v Halls of Gloucester ET/1400498/09
A series of inappropriate comments about race by blue-collar workers, not necessarily directed at the claimant, were harassment, held this employment tribunal.
Manager's "sexual favours" remark was not sexual harassment
Dos Santos v Preview Services Ltd ET/2700170/10
In this case, the employment tribunal found that a manager's single remark, despite being of a sexual nature, was intended as a joke and did not amount to sexual harassment.
A round-up of links to news items on employment tribunal rulings in the week beginning 28 January 2013, including a tribunal providing guidance on the use of the "Swedish derogation" model, under which agency workers can sign a type of employment contract with their agency that means they give up the right to pay parity with direct recruits in return for some guaranteed pay between assignments.
Tribunal provides guidance on agency workers and Swedish derogation (on the Personnel Today website) An employment tribunal has provided guidance on the use of the "Swedish derogation" model, under which agency workers can sign a type of employment contract with their agency that means they give up the right to pay parity with direct recruits - to which they would normally be entitled after 12 weeks in an assignment - in return for some guaranteed pay between assignments.
A round-up of links to news items on employment tribunal rulings in the week beginning 21 January 2013, including an employment tribunal's criticism of the Financial Times editor over the unfair dismissal of a journalist.
Financial Times editor criticised by tribunal over unfair dismissal (on the Guardian website) The Financial Times editor, Lionel Barber, has been criticised by an employment tribunal judge over the unfair dismissal of an award-winning journalist at the title.
A round-up of links to news items on employment tribunal rulings in the week beginning 26 November 2012, including an award of £7,000 to a heterosexual employee who was found to have been subjected to sexual orientation harassment.
Flower society ordered to pay £7,000 damages to heterosexual employee after he was sacked for complaining about treasurer "who groped him and insisted that he must be gay" (on the Daily Mail website) Officials of a flower society have been sued by a 22-year-old man after they suggested he was gay. The chairman, treasurer and secretary of the organisation, which is a member of the Royal Horticultural Society, now face a bill of more than £7,000 in damages.
We round up what caught Tribunal Watch's eye on Twitter in the week beginning 15 October 2012, during which there have been interesting decisions on: collective redundancy consultation; holiday pay for pilots; TUPE and service provision changes; the enforceability of restrictive covenants in unsigned contracts of employment; and sexual orientation discrimination in goods and services.
We round up what caught Tribunal Watch's eye on Twitter in the week beginning 17 September 2012, including the Ministry of Justice publishing details of compensation awards for successful unfair dismissal and discrimination claims in employment tribunals from 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012.