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Employment Law: Key Update – September 2014

25 September 2014

There have been some interesting developments in the employment field recently. Bhavna Patel shares these together with her thoughts on them.

Use of Religious Orientated Swear Words

The Claimant in the case of M v P Care Homes Ltd & Others [2013] made a claim for religious harassment. She alleged that her manager had regularly used foul language linked to religious references in front of her and her colleagues. Her manager conceded that she swore and it sometimes had a religious overtone. Some of her comments consisted of “oh my f*****g God” and Jesus f*****g Christ”.

The Claimant’s claim failed. The Employment Tribunal surmised that the remarks were not directed at the Claimant, and there was no intention to harass the Claimant personally, as the manager had used the same sort of language when the Claimant was not present. It also concluded it was not reasonable for the Claimant to perceive the language as creating an adverse environment for her, and it was not related to the Claimant’s religion. In any event, the commonly-used words, albeit blasphemous, were not in themselves abusive to any religion.

Despite such a finding the Tribunal did uphold the Claimant’s unfair dismissal claim due to procedural irregularities. This case not only highlights the importance of ensuring due process is applied when dismissing but also the extent in which an employer could be liable for religious harassment.

Injury to Feelings Guidance

Cadogan Hotel Partners Ltd v Ozog [2014] is a useful reminder of how the Vento bands for injury to feelings should be applied. The Employment Appeal Tribunal’s recent ruling confirm as follows:

  • The lower band (for less serious cases, such as where the act of discrimination is an isolated, or one off, occurrence) is between £660 and £6,600
  • The middle band (for cases which are more serious but do not merit coming within the top band) is between £6,600 and £19,800
  • The top band (for the most serious cases such as where there has been a lengthy campaign of harassment) is between £19,800 and £33,000

Guidance on New Father’s Rights

Expectant fathers or the partner of a pregnant woman from 1st October 2014 will be entitled to take unpaid time off work to attend to antenatal appointments with their partner. This new legislation has been driven by the Government’s aim of encouraging both parents to be involved at the earliest stage of pregnancy.

BIS have published a useful guide on the new legal right. It also sets out some guidance for employers. It’s definitely worth a read here: ‘Time off to accompany a pregnant woman to ante-natal appointments: employer guide’.

Shared Parental Leave

BIS has recently highlighted that some 285,000 couples will find out that they will be among the first parents who may be eligible to take advantage of shared parental leave rights. So that you are ahead of the game it’s worth noting that the new right also applies to qualifying adopters. Further, the new rules are due to apply from April 2015.

The shared parental leave rights are designed to give parents and adopters more flexibility in how to care for a child within the first year of birth. Parents in a nutshell will be able to share a pot of leave and can decide when and how they will take leave (this could be together and/or in turns). Since the rules are fairly complex, employers are advised to consider the impact of the change in good time.

Defence Reform Impact

From 1st October 2014 the Defence Reform Act 2014 will be amended. This will mean that there is no minimum qualification period required for an unfair dismissal claim provided the dismissal is or is in anyway connected with the employee’s membership of reserve force. The legislation is not, however, retrospective. It will apply where an employee’s effective date of termination falls on or after 1st October 2014.

There will also be some renaming on 1st October 2014. The Army Reserve will be known as the Regular Reserve and the Territorial Army will be called the Army Reserve. The Secretary of State will also at that point in time have power; (i) to call out reservists for certain non-war activities; and (ii) make additional payments to small or medium sized employers for those who are called out for service.

In case you’re wondering, the changes have come into play due to the Government’s desire to increase the army reservists to 30,000 by 2020.

Bhavna Patel is an employment law specialist. If you would like to speak to her about any aspect of this article or any employment related matter please feel free to call her on 01494 773377 or send her an email to [email protected]

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Amy Sansom
Amy Sansom
14:03 04 Dec 19
Rezaul was brilliant at solving a corporate dispute for us and ensured procedure was followed to the letter. He was... always on hand for a quick phone call if needed and kept us up to date on the matter. Thank youread more
Mike Lennon
Mike Lennon
23:01 21 Oct 19
Andrew king from Lennons Solicitors is excellent at what he does. Having conducted research around various firms based... upon expertise and reviews I opted to instruct Lennon's Solicitors. My point of contact was Pauline Barber who took my initial information. I was then referred to Andrew in respect of a sensitive property / probate matter, which was a very stressful situation for my mother. Suffice to say Andrew was personal but professional in his approach, explaining everything in a way you can understand, whilst providing clear options in how to progress matters. He was helpful in resolving any queries and concerns which were raised. This not only helped me tremendously in obtaining the correct information he required but it also made matters stress free and easy for my mother to understand. Pauline assisted in proceedings when Andrew was not available and all messages left received prompt responses by both Pauline and Andrew. Overall Lennon's were selected for their reputation and expertise in the field i required. Suffice to say Lennon's did not fail to deliver and Andrew is a damn good solicitor, who I would recommend 100%.read more
Rachel Moore
Rachel Moore
12:50 16 Oct 19
I've used Todd Bowsher for buying/selling property twice now and both times have been straight forward and stress-free.... It became apparent to me in buying my latest flat the importance of having a good solicitor and I can't recommend Todd, and Lennons, highly enough.read more
Bob Falana
Bob Falana
12:21 14 Oct 19
Dear Todd, having worked with you on a number of property purchases over the last few years, I am delighted to offer my... feedback. You are a pleasure to work with, Always returning my calls and keeping me informed throughout the process. You make what could be a stressful time much easier and calmer, your advice has been valuable and accurate for sticky moments in the process. Thank you for a great service at a great price. Kind regards - Bobread more
Scott Hamilton
Scott Hamilton
10:35 02 Oct 19
Lennons worked on a commercial lease for me. They performed this task quickly and efficiently. Easy to work with.
Martin Nash
Martin Nash
14:50 01 Oct 19
Ros at Lennons recently acted for me with a house purchase. Excellent service, she kept me well informed throughout,... the process, seemed really knowledgeable and chased things along when necessary. Would highly recommend. Competitive fee for a quality service. Thanks Ros.read more
Susan Harris
Susan Harris
11:04 26 Sep 19
I am very pleased that I instructed Rezaul from Lennons in Amersham to undertake some conveyancing work for me in... relation to my business. Rezaul communicated well and always kept me informed about how the process was going, along the way. He was also very easy to get along with and available to answer any questions. I will certainly use him for anything I may have in his expertise in the future!read more
Katie Hughes-Jones
Katie Hughes-Jones
11:23 18 Sep 19
We had a great experience with Todd at Lennons. He did everything he could to move things along as quickly and as... efficiently as possible as well as always been available for advice.read more
Dan Farrell
Dan Farrell
21:16 16 Sep 19
Efficient, diligent and understanding service from Todd and the team. We really appreciated the advice and accurate... conveyancing service.read more
Adam Gibson
Adam Gibson
14:03 05 Aug 19
Ros Nolan was a pleasure to work with on the purchase of our new home. Her expertise and knowledge helped in... maintaining an easy, smooth process. I'd highly recommend Ros' services to any other first time buyers.read more
Heidi Scully
Heidi Scully
18:49 26 Jul 19
I had never sold a house before and didn't know quite what to expect. Roz or Diane were always quick to answer the... phone or emails. The whole process ran smoothly and I was always kept informed along the way how things were going. Thank you very much !read more
Kieran Byrne
Kieran Byrne
14:29 28 Jun 19
I had the pleasure of dealing with Rezaul from Lennons in a couple of recent transactions, both residential and... commercial. I found him to be extremely professional and knowledgeable. He was also tenacious in protecting my interests. Altogether my experience of using Lennons was excellent, I will use them again and recommend them to friends.read more
Alison Chauhan
Alison Chauhan
11:32 25 Jun 19
Lennons Solicitors were highly recommended by 2 lots of friends and Lennons lived up to our expectations when selling a... house in York via probate and some very technical aspects linked to Land Registry - we live in Bucks - and the whole process was very efficient and economic under Ros Nolan who proved to be a very safe pair of hands. We were fully kept in the picture throughout the process with an outcome we were looking for. We will appoint Lennons for legal services in the future and would recommend Lennons to others as well. Alison an Bal Chauhanread more
Sarah Quane
Sarah Quane
11:54 19 Jun 19
We were recommended to use the services of Ros Nolan when selling our house in Chesham. Really grateful that we took... the advice as compared to some of the solictors in the chain, Ros was always readily available to speak to us, replied to emails promptly and gave us really good advice throughout the process. So much so, we have instructed her to act for a purchase on our sons behalf and again, Ros is readily available and gives our son, as a first time buyer, lots of time and reassures him whenever he has a question or query. Top marks for communication which when both buying and selling, is imperative. Highly Recommendread more
Chris Barrett
Chris Barrett
15:31 17 Jun 19
Rezaul dealt with the conveyancing of our residential property. As first time buyers, we were kept informed throughout... the process and exchange and completion were almost seamless. Many thanks for a smooth process, highly recommended.read more
Valerie Gollar
Valerie Gollar
15:53 05 Jun 19
Details of this firm appeared on line when I was researching a Land Registry form. After using their chat line I... received a call back from Mike Wragg and was given the information I required, and which I had been unable to access from the Land Registry site. Excellent advice and would definitely recommend.read more
Early New Business
Early New Business
09:41 22 May 19
Rezaul Haque did a great job for my family, purchasing the Freehold of their property. Rezaul acted in an efficient,... timely fashion, with a very professional manner at all stages of the transactionread more
Dick Tillett
Dick Tillett
14:24 25 Apr 19
Rezaul Haque has been a great help in what has been a difficult time. He has been very quick at returning phone calls... and emails. He handled my commercial property lease efficiently. I would not hesitate to work with him again and I would happily recommend Lennons.read more
Giles Leather
Giles Leather
11:44 15 Apr 19
Rezaul Haque was extremely professional and worked relentlessly to ensure a good result for all concerned. Thank you.
Victor Surana
Victor Surana
20:36 14 Mar 19
Professional service by first class solicitors. Ros Nolan did a fabulous job on sealing the deal for our first... property. She is a thorough professional who exceeded our expectations. It was a very assuring experience as Ros always kept us updated on the progress and proactively completed the paperwork well within the timelines. Overall, thanks to Ros, our expectations were exceeded. Will not hesitate to recommend her for all your legal works.read more
Rich Perfumerie
Rich Perfumerie
13:11 27 Feb 19
Rezaul did a fantastic job with our commercial lease. Wouldn’t hesitate to use him and Lennons again Highly... recommendedread more
Innervision 1
Innervision 1
10:29 11 Feb 19
Rezaul Haque from Lennons dealt with the lease on our new office. He was efficient, thorough and most professional... despite some trying circumstances. He made my job that much easier. Thank you.read more
Matt Crisp
Matt Crisp
17:21 29 Jan 19
Rezaul did a fantastic job on our corporate share holders agreements, great guy, great work, Many Thanks!
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