About Me

I’m a Barrister at Atlantic Chambers looking at various aspects of Employment Law including new developments in case law and legislation.

Government Consultation and Employment Tribunal Reform “Resolving Workplace Disputes – Public Consultation”

Background

The Government’s consultation document entitled “Resolving workplace disputes – public consultation” was released on Thursday 27th January 2011. The website describes the consultation as “a significant first step in taking forward the Government’s review of employment law”.

Clearly changes in Governments and political ideologies can bring about major overhauls of the Employment Tribunal system. A case in point is the qualifying service required of an employee to lodge an Employment Tribunal claim for unfair dismissal, which is presently one year. When the statutory claim of unfair dismissal was introduced in 1971 the qualifying period was six months, which was initially increased to one year in 1980 by the Conservative government, further increased to two years in 1985 and ultimately reduced back to one year in 1999 following Labour’s return to power in 1997.

Continue reading Government Consultation and Employment Tribunal Reform “Resolving Workplace Disputes – Public Consultation”

The Reporting of Mrs Carol Hill -v- Essex County Council

The media reporting of Employment Tribunal cases, like any form of Court reporting, at times, can be inaccurate.  This is due not only to the complex and confusing nature of Employment law but due to a variety of other factors, not least increased journalistic workloads.  The manner in which Employment Tribunal cases are heard potentially also poses difficulties to journalists, particularly if witness statements are “taken as read” by the Tribunal, meaning the statements are not read out by the witnesses during the hearing but read in private by the Employment Tribunal.  Even if journalists hear the evidence they may not have access to the documents.

This is noticeable from the case of Mrs Carol Hill, referred to in the press as the “Dinner Lady” who was dismissed from her job at Great Tey Primary School, Essex in September 2009 (I anticipate Mrs Hill’s job title was probably that of Midday Assistant or Lunchtime Supervisor). Continue reading The Reporting of Mrs Carol Hill -v- Essex County Council

COT3s as an alternative to Compromise Agreements - The Section 147 Headache

 

Section 147 and Compromise Agreements

 

The Law Society’s practice note on Compromise Agreements dated 13th January 2011 provides useful assistance to solicitors who advise employees or employers in relation to compromise agreements that contain provisions relating to statutory claims for discrimination within the ambit of the Equality Act 2010 (“the Act”).

As stated in the Law Society’s practice note, Section 147 of the Act sets out the requirements that must be satisfied in order to properly settle claims under the Act by way of compromise agreements. Section 147 is intended to provide a safeguard for employees who may not otherwise understand the full implications of a compromise agreement and crucially, it stipulates that complainants must receive advice from an ‘independent adviser’ about the terms and effect of any compromise agreement. Continue reading COT3s as an alternative to Compromise Agreements – The Section 147 Headache

Equal Pay Claims in the County Court – Mrs Huda Abdulla and Others -v- Birmingham City Council (2010) EWHC 3303 (QB)

In the recently decided case of Mrs Huda Abdulla and Others -v- Birmingham City Council [2010] EWHC 3303 (QB) the High Court rejected the Applicant employer’s application under Part 11 CPR 1998 for a Declaration that the Court had no jurisdiction to hear the claims brought by the employer’s former employees.

Abdulla confirms that claims for equal pay that otherwise would be outside of the Employment Tribunal’s jurisdiction, for example, if presented outside of the Employment Tribunal’s six month limitation period, can be presented in the Civil Courts.
Continue reading Equal Pay Claims in the County Court – Mrs Huda Abdulla and Others -v- Birmingham City Council (2010) EWHC 3303 (QB)