Employment Bulletin - June 2018

This month’s bulletin includes the following articles​:

  • Supreme Court upholds ruling that plumber is a ‘worker’
  • Disabled teacher’s dismissal constituted unfavourable treatment under the Equality Act 2010
  • Context is important when determining whether a comment amounts to harassment
  • New guidance published to help prevent discrimination in the workplace
  • Dismissal for misconduct without prior warning was reasonable
  • Zero-hour lecturer entitled to use a permanent full-time lecturer as a comparator​
  • Requirement to publish facility time
Supreme Court upholds ruling that plumber is a ‘worker’

Employment status is a hot topic at the moment – there have been several cases in which employment tribunals have decided that self-employed individuals are in fact workers. We have previously reported on the Uber and the Addison Lee cases concerning employment status in our October and December 2017 bulletins. In the case of ‘Pimlico Plumbers’, the Supreme Court has now also considered employment status and delivered a landmark decision, finding in favour of an individual claiming worker status.

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Disabled teacher’s dismissal constituted unfavourable treatment under the Equality Act 2010

The Court of Appeal has recently held in City of York Council v Grosset that the dismissal of a disabled teacher amounted to unfavourable treatment under the Equality Act 2010. This decision has been referred to as “an important landmark in the development of disability discrimination”.

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Context is important when determining whether a comment amounts to harassment

The EAT recently held in Bakkali v GMB (South) Limited that a colleague’s comment, which was directed toward a Moroccan bus driver of Islamic faith, questioning whether the driver was ‘still promoting ISIS’ did not constitute discrimination or harassment on the grounds of race or religion.

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New guidance published to help prevent discrimination in the workplace

The Government Equalities Office has issued guidance on dress codes and sex discrimination in the workplace in response to an inquiry launched by the House of Commons Petitions Committee and the Women and Equalities Committee. Separately, Acas has published guidance aimed to prevent religious and belief discrimination in the workplace. These guidance notes should be reviewed by employers to ensure they fully understand how certain policies or practices may have an adverse and/or discriminatory impact on employees in the workplace.

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Dismissal for misconduct without prior warning was reasonable

In Mbubaegbu v Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust the EAT upheld an employment tribunal's decision that a hospital trust fairly dismissed an employee for a series of misconduct issues despite there being no evidence of gross misconduct or previous wrongdoing.

The Claimant, a Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon, was employed in the Trauma and Orthopaedics department at a hospital trust (the “Respondent”) for 15 years. He had an unblemished disciplinary record with no previous warnings prior to his dismissal for gross misconduct in 2016.

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Zero-hour lecturer entitled to use a permanent full-time lecturer as a comparator

The EAT has recently overturned an employment tribunal’s decision and held that a university lecturer employed under a zero hours contract was, for the purposes of the Part-Time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000 (the “Part-Time Workers Regulations”), working under a contract comparable to that of a full-time university lecturer working under a permanent contract.

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Requirement to publish facility time

We reported on the publishing requirements relating to facility time in the public sector in our March bulletin which can be viewed here. The deadline to publish this information is 31 July 2018 – in the March bulletin we outlined which organisations the regulations apply to; what information needs to be published and where this information must be published.

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The law and practice referred to in this article or webinar has been paraphrased or summarised. It might not be up-to-date with changes in the law and we do not guarantee the accuracy of any information provided at the time of reading. It should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice in relation to a specific set of circumstances.

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