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James M. Brown

James Brown is a Knowledge Lawyer in Baker McKenzie, London office.

A dismissal will be automatically unfair if the sole or principal reason for dismissal is that the employee took or sought to take parental leave. In Hilton Foods Solutions v. Wright, the EAT has decided that this protection does not require the employee to have made a formal request. Communications about taking parental leave might reach a stage that could be described as having sought to take the leave. This will be a question of fact for employment tribunals.

The EAT has decided that an employer’s liability for unlawful discrimination does not transfer under TUPE where the discriminator transfers but the victim of the discrimination does not. The position might be different though in relation to vicarious liability for negligent (rather than discriminatory) acts of an employee.

An employer did not breach its duty to make reasonable adjustments for an employee with a stammer when it held internal promotion interviews via video conference. The employee’s stammer made him curtail his answers in the interview, which negatively affected his assessment. However, he had not told his employer that his stammer might have this effect and, on the facts of this case, the employer was reasonable in not realizing it.

The Employment Appeal Tribunal held that a single redundancy required some form of wider workforce consultation, and that this should be the norm for all individual redundancy exercises. Nevertheless, taking into account the facts of this case and long-established case law and rules on collective consultation, we consider that the main point is that consultation takes place with affected employee(s) at a time when it could make a difference.

Several new employment measures have become law, dealing with redundancy protection for mothers and those returning from family leave, as well as creating new rights to carer’s and neonatal leave. There is also a new right to the allocation of tips. However, the rights might not come into force for a year or two, and some of the detail of the rights remains to be confirmed.

Ethnicity pay gap reporting in the UK remains voluntary. For organizations that choose to report this data, the government has now published guidance on how to do so, recommending that they mirror the rules on gender pay gap reporting where possible. The big difference is that ethnicity pay gap reporting involves multiple categories.

The Court of Appeal has confirmed that an Acas-negotiated COT3 settlement agreement covered an individual’s claim that his former employer had knowingly helped a subsidiary unlawfully victimize him when the subsidiary rejected his job application. This situation was covered by the COT3’s express terms settling claims that indirectly arose in connection with his employment.

2022 has seen further case law on the issue of the potential conflict between expressions of gender-critical beliefs in the workplace and proponents of gender identity. There are currently four main cases in this sphere: Forstater v. CGD Europe; Mackereth v. DWP; Higgs v. Farmor’s School; and Bailey v. Garden Court Chambers and Stonewall. There have been decisions in all four cases during 2022.

The UK’s political upheaval and fiscal policy changes are much-publicized. But where do we stand on recently proposed changes to employment law as Rishi Sunak starts his premiership? One of the Truss government’s tax proposals – repealing IR35 changes – might have had a significant effect on contractor workforce planning. However, this was abandoned and the current IR35 rules will remain. Conversely, for the time being, the government is pursuing its plans to limit the disruption caused by strike action in the transport sector. Similarly, the removal of the cap on bankers’ bonuses is still on the agenda. Also on the horizon is the potentially ground-changing proposal to scrap all retained EU law, which in theory could include TUPE.