New Recruits

First: Alex. Alex is our trainee and joined the firm in September 2020. He is currently assisting the solicitors with the management of cases and writing the firm’s external communications including this newsletter. He is also currently studying for the Solicitors Qualifying Exam, and is enjoying the hands-on employment law experience.

You can view Alex’s profile here.

Second (and most importantly): Dylan. Dylan is our new morale officer and has overall responsibility for maintaining employee enthusiasm and guarding the premises. He joined in 2020 and looks forward to a long and prosperous career with PJH. He hopes one day to make partner.

You can view Dylan’s profile  here.

 

 

 

 

Affordable Risk Management

 

The firm’s new Affordable Risk Management cloud based HR software is set to be released soon. The software is modular and includes:

  1. HRM Database (personnel records and data management) with an Employee Portal and login for e-learning and booking holiday.
  2. Document management which includes a Legal Doc library and creating and editing Contracts, Letters, and Handbooks.
  3. A Learner Management System and suite of E-Leaning courses and training which has a range of professionally authored E-Learning courses, including Bullying & Harassment, Dignity at Work, and GDPR, that will educate your employees about appropriate workplace behaviour, ultimately reducing the likelihood that your business will be subject to and liable for litigation.
  4. Holiday and absence management which allows you to book, review and monitor holidays and absences at a click of a button.

 

Channel 4 and Monzo Issue New Miscarriage Policy

Channel 4 and Monzo have made headlines recently for becoming among the first businesses to adopt a specific miscarriage policy.

By law, employees only become entitled to maternity/paternity leave if their child is stillborn (when their child dies after the 24th week of pregnancy or during birth). There is no legal entitlement to maternity/paternity leave if they have a miscarriage (when their child dies within the first 24 weeks of pregnancy).

However, Channel 4 and Monzo have adopted their own miscarriage policy, allowing for a full (paid) 2 weeks off work in the event of a miscarriage. The policies also cover employees using a surrogate mother.

We say this is a step in the right direction. It is obvious that miscarriage is a terribly traumatic event, and employees cannot be expected to perform at work after such an event. Perhaps the law is in need of reform in this area.

 

Lighter Side of the News

 

 

One from the tabloids:

Tesco employee makes slightly informal tannoy announcement. You can view the full news article here.

To be honest, we think it’s better than the normal ones (although his manager probably disagrees).

 

 

 

Wisbey v Commissioner of the City of London Police & Anr 

Can an award for injury to feelings be made even if the discrimination was indirect and unintentional? The short answer is yes. However, section 124 of the Equality Act 2010 stipulates that a tribunal cannot make such an award before considering making a declaration (a statement as to the rights of the parties) or a recommendation (advice as to how to avoid future discrimination). If, after such a consideration and irrespective of its decision, the tribunal can make an award for injury to feelings.

In Wisbey v Commissioner of the City of London Police & Anr [2021] EWCA Civ 650, the Claimant was a policeman who was suspended from advanced driving duties because of his defective colour vision. Around 8% of men and only 0.25% of women suffer from colour vision defects. The Claimant brought a case alleging indirect sex discrimination.

The ET found in his favour. However, they refused to award injury to feelings. Instead, they made a declaration. The EAT agreed with the ET and the Claimant appealed to the court of appeal.

He alleged that Section 124 of the Equality Act 2010 was incompatible with EU law (as the case was originally brought during those heady days of EU membership), in that it discouraged a tribunal from making an award for injury to feelings in unintentional indirect discrimination cases.

The Court of Appeal dismissed his claim. They said that Section 124 did not itself dissuade a tribunal from making an award of compensation for injury to feelings: the absence of such a remedy in this case was fact specific.

Takeaway Point

Although this case turned on an EU law point, it will remain relevant in the future. Just because indirect discrimination is unintentional, it does not mean the Claimant cannot receive injury to feelings. However, the ET is obliged to consider the abovementioned remedies first.

There is another interesting discrimination case in the Court of Appeal at the moment: Steer v Strormsure. This concerns whether the absence of interim relief for discrimination claims is contrary to the Human Rights Act. We look forward to the Court’s judgment and consider the possibility of an appeal to the Supreme Court.