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Annabel Mackay

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Annabel Mackay has extensive experience of advising employers and employees on a range of complex employment issues. She has been ranked in Legal 500 and Chambers & Partners since 2015. Chambers & Partners 2019 report that clients describe Annabel as: "supremely impressive and technically brilliant while also being commercially astute and incredibly bright."

The practice of ‘fire and rehire’, where an employer dismisses a worker and then re-engages them on different (sometimes perceived as less favorable) terms, is a current hot topic in UK employment law. The government has, to date, declined to legislate on the issue, although it stressed that the practice should only be used as a last resort. On 29 March 2022, the government announced that it would introduce a new statutory code on the practice, which will also detail how employers should hold fair, transparent and meaningful consultations on proposed changes to terms of employment.

The European Whistleblowing Directive is to be implemented by the European Union’s 27 member states by no later than 17 December 2021 and will impact employers with operations in those jurisdictions. With most of the Member States yet to pass their implementing legislation, employers will face a period of intense activity in the coming months.

A supervisor tasked with implementing a safe system of work had been automatically unfairly dismissed for the friction generated with colleagues by his “over-zealous” implementation of the system and the demoralising effect upon the workforce. The reaction to his health and safety activities could not be properly separated from the activities themselves.

The COVID-19 crisis has brought into focus the obligations of service providers towards customers with disabilities. In particular, there were reports of some retailers failing to recognise legitimate exceptions to rules regarding wearing face coverings and/or handling enquiries about exemptions with a lack of sensitivity. The issue of “hidden disabilities” became particularly significant in that context. Heavy reliance on online service channels highlighted the importance of ensuring that those services were fully accessible to customers with a range of disabilities, particularly as those channels were tested by a sudden uptick in demand. Older customers and customers with disabilities who relied on online shopping and in-store assistance found that they could not access the same level of support. Reconfiguration of store access to facilitate social distancing required retailers to re-assess whether those arrangements created difficulties for those with mobility and other impairments. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) issued some helpful guidance to retailers in response to some of the issues that had arisen.