26 February 2010

Employment news: The employment team's pick of the key UK employment law developments of 2009

Stephen Ross
Partner | UK
  • An end to the statutory dispute resolution procedures and a new ACAS Code to replace them with a regime that is less prescriptive, but not without its own complexities.
  • Cases confirming that:
    … if you are on sick leave you can take holiday (Stringer and Schultz-Hoff)
    … if you are on holiday and fall sick you may be able to take holiday later (Pereda)
    … if your employer has tried to prevent you from doing either of these things you may be owed a tidy sum at the end of your employment (Stringer again).
  • A definition of philosophical belief that is wide enough to encompass a strongly held belief in climate change, and hence confer the protection of discrimination law on people holding a wide variety of non-religious and quasi-political beliefs (Nicholson v Grainger plc).
  • A temporary reprieve for the statutory default retirement age of 65 (Age Concern v BIS) followed by a government consultation about whether to raise the retirement age or abolish it altogether.

A suggestion that in some cases an over-generous compromise agreement might be ultra-vires and unenforceable (Gibb v Maidstone). This may have far reaching implications in the public sector and other regulated sectors such as charities and, conceivably, the financial services sector.

An indication that the courts will not be quick to find that an employee with strongly held religious beliefs has been treated in a particular way because of those beliefs rather than for a reason unconnected to religious belief such as the refusal to carry out the requirements of the job (Ladele v London Borough of Islington).

Category: Article