Employment & HR for Business

Can being a vegetarian qualify as a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010?

In the case of Conisbee v Crossley Farms Ltd, the employment tribunal (‘ET’) held that you cannot discriminate against someone because they are vegetarian, as it is not a protected religion or belief.

The Law 

Section 4 of the Equality Act 2010 (‘EA’) prohibits discrimination on the ground of nine protected characteristics, including religion or belief.  Section 10 defines religion as any religion or lack of religion and belief as any religious or philosophical belief and any lack of belief.

Is an unwanted massage given by a manager to a junior employee sexual harassment?

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (‘EAT’) upheld the decision of the employment tribunal (‘ET’) that a massage provided by a team leader did not amount to sexual harassment under the Equality Act.

The Law 

Section 26 of the Equality Act 2010 provides that sexual harassment can occur when A engages in unwanted conduct of a sexual nature, or related to their gender, which has the purpose or effect of either violating B’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for B.

Out-of-hours GP providing services through limited company is a worker rather than self-employed

Last month, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (‘EAT’) upheld the ruling that an out-of-hours GP providing medical services to the NHS through a limited company was a worker, not self-employed.

Importance of identifying the correct employment status 

Under UK employment law there are three main categories of employment, an employee, a worker and a self-employed person.  Each category is entitled to different levels of employment rights.

Whistleblowing: Is reasonable belief that a protected disclosure is in the public interest sufficient?

In the recent case of Okwu v Rise Community Action, The Employment Appeal Tribunal (‘EAT’) held that it is enough for an employee to hold a reasonable belief that a disclosure is in the public interest, even if it may not be, to be legally protected for whistleblowing.

The law

Section 103 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA) provides that an employee will have been unfairly dismissed if the reason for the dismissal is that they made a protected disclosure, also known as whistleblowing.

New Ofsted Education Inspection Framework - an explanation of the inspection criteria relating to staff well-being and staff supervision within schools

The new Ofsted Education Inspection Framework came into force on the 2 September 2019 setting out how Ofsted will inspect maintained schools, academies, non-association independent schools, further education and skills provision and registered early years settings in England.

Of particular note to employers and employees are the principles that apply to an Ofsted inspection relating to how schools consider staff well-being and on staff supervision within schools.

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