- HR Bulletin - October 2019
HR Bulletin – October 2019
HR Bulletin - October 201901 Oct 2019
Case Law Update
Mr Conisbee v Crossley Farms Ltd and others – Are vegetarians protected by our discrimination laws?
“No”, held the Employment Tribunal. The judge held that being a vegetarian does not amount to a ‘philosophical belief’, which would be protected from discrimination by the Equality Act 2010.
However, the judge commented that veganism could be considered a ‘philosophical belief’ because individuals’ reasons for being a vegan are largely the same, whereas there could be a large number of reasons why a person chooses to be a vegetarian. This legal question has yet to be determined by a tribunal.
Komeng v Creative Support Limited – How should an employee’s successful discrimination claim be valued?
Discrimination awards, referred to as an ‘injury to feelings’ awards, are assessed according to three bands. The bands (which increase every year) range from between £900 to £44,000, with awards in exceptional circumstances being made in excess of £44,000. The Employment Appeals Tribunal has given guidance to say when assessing which band to place an award in, the Tribunal should have regard to the impact of the conduct on the employee, rather than the severity of the employer’s conduct.
Employers should be aware of this when training their employees on what is and is not acceptable conduct in the workplace. It will not be a defence to say that the conduct was ‘banter’ and the employee is being too sensitive about it.
Upton-Hansen Architects Limited v Gyftaki – Is it always acceptable to suspend an employee who is facing allegations of gross misconduct?
“No”, held the Employment Appeals Tribunal. Employees should only be suspended when there is a real risk that they: 1) could influence witnesses during the disciplinary investigation procedure; or 2) pose a threat to any other employees. In this case, neither of these situations applied and so Ms Gyftaki was entitled to resign and claim constructive dismissal on the basis that her suspension on full pay was a fundamental breach of her contract of employment.
Employers should consider whether suspension is necessary before immediately suspending an employee.
IR35 – new ‘off payroll’ rules
The new rules come into force in April 2020. In brief, if an individual is providing services to your business through a limited company, but HMRC deem that they are actually an employee of your business and should be paying income tax through PAYE, then you will be liable to pay the income tax, national insurance contributions and any fines, rather than the individual (the latter being the current position). HMRC can issue fines up to 100% of the unpaid tax liability.
If you need any advice regarding the new rules, then please get in touch with us.
What we have been focusing on in September:
• HR Breakfast Club: We held our latest quarterly HR Breakfast seminar on the 5th September. We presented a case law update and an explanation of the ‘off payroll rules’ referred to above. We were joined by guest speaker and criminal solicitor Daniel Berke of 3D Solicitors. Daniel, who has acted in a number of this country’s highest profile criminal trials, focussed on issues that HR managers need to be aware of when an employee is under suspicion of a crime. To attend our next free HR breakfast seminar on the 5th December, please sign up here.
• Presenting at Manchester’s Pub and Club network: Claire Treacy presented on the ‘Good Work Plan:’, which sets out a number of legislative changes which will impact many industries, but in particular the hospitality industry. Should you need any guidance about the impact of the ‘Good Work Plan’, please contact us.