Employment Bulletin July 2019

  • Fixed-term and temporary contracts: the benefits and the drawbacks
  • Provision of employee references and ensuring safe recruitment
  • Refusal of transfer was discrimination because of perceived disability - Chief Constable of Norfolk v Coffey
  • Is it discriminatory to suspend a teacher who can only write by hand for a few minutes? Ahmed v The Cardinal Hume Academies
  • Can an award for injury to feelings in a discrimination case be reduced because of contributory negligence? First Greater Western Limited & Linley v Waiyego
  • Voluntary overtime to be calculated in holiday pay if it is regular and settled Flowers v East of England Ambulance Trust
Fixed-term and temporary contracts: the benefits and the drawbacks

There can often be confusion as to when fixed-term or temporary contracts can or should be used, and the differences between them. This article will hopefully provide clarity around this difficult area.

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Provision of employee references and ensuring safe recruitment

There is generally no legal obligation to request a reference for a potential new employee. This may be subject to sector specific recruitment rules if, for example, you work in the education sector, but as a general rule of thumb a new employed is free to use its discretion on whether or not it wishes to request a reference. 

Similarly, there is no legal obligation on an employer to provide a reference for an employee or ex-employee, unless there was a written agreement to do so or they are in a regulated industry such as financial services.

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Can perceived disability constitute direct discrimination?

The Court of Appeal, in Chief Constable of Norfolk v Coffey, has considered for the first time whether refusal of employment as a result of a perception of a progressive condition causing potential future inability to carry out duties can constitute direct discrimination.

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Is it discriminatory to suspend a teacher who can only write by hand for a few minutes? Ahmed v The Cardinal Hume Academies

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (‘EAT’) has held in the case of Ahmed v The Cardinal Hume Academics that it was reasonable for an employer to suspend an employee for his writing difficulty.

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Can an award for injury to feelings in a discrimination case be reduced because of contributory negligence? First Greater Western Limited & Linley v Waiyego

The Employment Appeal Tribunal, (‘EAT’) in the case of First Greater Western Limited & Linley v Waiyego has confirmed that an award for injury to feelings in a discrimination case will rarely be reduced because of contributory negligence, and certainly not on the facts of this particular case.

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Voluntary overtime: to be calculated in holiday pay if it is regular and settled. Flowers v East of England Ambulance Trust

The Court of Appeal (‘CA’) in the case of Flowers v East of England Ambulance Trust has held that voluntary overtime is to be included in the calculation of holiday pay if that overtime is sufficiently regular and settled.

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