Employment Matters August 2016 - DAC Beachcroft

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Employment Matters August 2016

Published On: 2 August 2016

This month, employment law has been much in the news. The Uber case, already heralded as the "case of the year", looks at whether 19 Uber drivers should be recognised as workers, and therefore entitled to workers' rights, including National Minimum Wage, paid holiday, and whistleblowing protection. Sports Direct has been in the spotlight, with a report published by the BIS Committee, referring to it has having treated its workers as "commodities rather than as human beings with rights, responsibilities and aspirations". 

As of 12 July, employers will face tougher penalties for illegal working – please see here for more information.

Another new Advocate General's Opinion states that an employee's dismissal for wearing an Islamic headscarf at work, in breach of a direct instruction, was directly discriminatory on grounds of religion or belief. This is at odds with the Advocate General's Opinion on which we reported last month. Neither of the opinions is binding law, and we will report on these cases when they reach the ECJ.

Sickness during annual leave: is the worker entitled to carry forward unused holiday to the next holiday year?

Unfair dismissal: can you hold a disciplinary hearing without the employee?

In this case, the ECJ confirmed that workers who are prevented from taking scheduled annual leave because they are on sick leave are entitled to carry the annual leave over into the next leave year.

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In this case, the EAT overturned a decision that it had been reasonable to hold a disciplinary hearing in the employee's absence.

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Whistleblowing: a worker can sue both the end user, as well as their employer, if the end user also determines the terms of an engagement.


In this case the EAT clarified the meaning of the extended definition of "worker" in section 43K of the Employment Rights Act 1996, which applies to protected disclosures made by workers.

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