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Greene & Greene is a long established firm of solicitors based in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk. Our lawyers advise individuals and businesses based all over the UK.

We regularly attract new clients who have been using firms in London, but now receive a more cost efficient and more personal service from us here in Bury St Edmunds.

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Entries in Employment Law (31)

Wednesday
Mar062019

Employment Rates & Limits

This year, the increase in rates means that the maximum possible award for an ordinary unfair dismissal now exceeds £100,000 (this comprises of the maximum basic award and the maximum compensation award). However, in many cases employees’ will not satisfy the criteria to be awarded the maximum amount. This may be because they do not have the requisite length of service to receive the maximum basic award or because their annual gross pay may be less than the maximum compensation award.

Another significant change this year is the increase in the maximum penalty an Employment Tribunal can award.  Where an employer is found to have breached an employee’s rights and that breach has one or more aggravating features, an Employment Tribunal can order the employer to pay a financial penalty to the Secretary of State. In December 2018 as part of the Good Work Plan the government announced that it would increase the maximum penalty from £5,000 to £20,000; this change takes effect in April this year.  There have yet to be any reported cases on what amounts to ‘aggravating features’ however the following are likely to be considered to be aggravating features; deliberate breach, action committed with malice or where there are repeated breaches of the employee’s rights.

The new rates take effect where the ‘appropriate date’ for the cause of action (such as the date of termination in an unfair dismissal claim) falls on or after 6 April 2019. Where the appropriate date falls before 6 April, the old limits will still apply, irrespective of the date on which compensation is awarded.

Contact Us

If you have any questions on employment law please contact Selene Holden (seleneholden@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717436), Greg Jones (gregjones@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717446) or Angharad Ellis Owen (aellisowen@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717453).  

For more information on the services offered by Greene & Greene Solicitors please visit www.greene-greene.com and follow on Twitter @GreeneGreeneLaw.

Wednesday
Feb132019

#MeToo: Prevention is better than cure!

The Government has announced that a new statutory code of practice on sexual harassment will be introduced.  The code will be developed by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) so that employers can better understand their legal responsibility to protect staff.

The prevailing view is that prevention is better than cure and, as such, much of the work focuses on how to prevent sexual harassment before it occurs. The new statutory code is therefore aimed at helping employers understand and demonstrate that they have taken ‘all reasonable steps’ to prevent sexual harassment (that being the statutory defence to a discrimination claim).

The Government shied away from introducing a new mandatory duty on employers to protect workers from harassment. However, this has not been ruled out, and will be the subject of future consultation.

Of note is that the Government has chosen not to introduce an uplift in compensation for breaches of the statutory code (as is the case for breach of the Acas code on discipline and grievances), although this will be kept under review.

Given that there is a lack of robust data on the level of sexual harassment in the workplace, a survey will be commissioned to gather regular data on the prevalence and nature of workplace sexual harassment. The survey will be conducted at least every three years and it is expected that the first survey will be launched later this year.

The Government will also be consulting on the following:

  • the use of secrecy clauses;
  • extending the employment tribunal time limits to submit a claim (from 3 months to 6 months); and
  • how to strengthen and clarify the law in relation to employers’ liability for third party harassment (e.g. from members of the public towards employees) at work.

The Government will work with Acas, EHRC and employers to raise awareness of appropriate workplace behaviours and ensure that individuals know their legal rights.

Given the prevalence of sexual harassment in the workplace and future legal developments, it is clear that employers need to be taking more preventative action. Please get in touch to discuss our various training packages including, Workplace Culture and Sexual Harassment, and how we can help ensure your organisation has taken all reasonable steps to prevent sexual harassment from occurring in the first instance. Prevention is better than cure.

Contact Us

If you have any questions on employment law please contact Selene Holden (seleneholden@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717436), Greg Jones (gregjones@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717446) or Angharad Ellis Owen (aellisowen@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717453).  

For more information on the services offered by Greene & Greene Solicitors please visit www.greene-greene.com and follow on Twitter @GreeneGreeneLaw.

Wednesday
Jan162019

Workplace pension: increase in contributions

As of 6 April 2019, the minimum contributions for automatic enrolment pension schemes will increase.

The Pensions Act 2008 provides that it is the employer’s responsibility to ensure that the minimum contributions are paid for all eligible staff that have not opted-out.

Details of the new contributions and the date they are effective from are set out in the table below:

If you have any questions on employment law please contact Selene Holden (seleneholden@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717436), Greg Jones (gregjones@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717446) or Angharad Ellis Owen (aellisowen@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717453).  

For more information on the services offered by Greene & Greene Solicitors please visit www.greene-greene.com and follow on Twitter @GreeneGreeneLaw.

Tuesday
Dec182018

New Partners at Greene & Greene

Greene & Greene Solicitors has appointed Ansa Khan and Greg Jones as Partners, rounding off a year of celebrations for the firm’s 125th anniversary.

Ansa qualified as a Solicitor in 2007 and joined Greene & Greene in 2012.  She has extensive experience in property and development work, acting on all aspects of residential property matters.  Her personal approach leads to regular referrals from fellow professionals and has helped her develop a large client base of developers, investors, landlords and homeowners throughout the region.

Greg qualified as a Solicitor in 2009 and joined Greene & Greene in 2016.  He advises businesses and senior executives on a full range of employment matters and has developed a reputation as a leading HR training provider to management teams and a speaker at seminars, conferences and networking events.  Greg was recently recommended by the 2019 edition of the Legal 500 directory as “knowledgeable, passionate and unflappable”.

Stuart Hughes, Managing Partner at Greene & Greene, said:

“We are delighted to welcome Ansa and Greg into the partnership.  They are extremely popular members of the team with colleagues, clients and fellow professionals, having already made a big impact at the firm over the past few years.  Their extensive experience further enhances the Property and Employment teams and the services that we can offer to our clients”

For more information on the services offered by Greene & Greene Solicitors please visit www.greene-greene.com and follow on Twitter @GreeneGreeneLaw.

Friday
Nov092018

Government considering re-introducing Employment Tribunal Fees

Having recently attended the Employment Tribunal User Forum, we’re aware that claims have more than doubled in the period April to June 2018 (up by 165%) compared to the same period in 2017. The most likely reason for this is due to the Supreme Court’s decision in the case of R (on the application of UNISON) v Lord Chancellor quashing tribunal fees on 26 June 2017. In that case, the Supreme Court concluded that many people found the fees unaffordable and had been denied access to justice. The Court declared that the level of tribunal fees was unlawful and prevented access to justice. 

Tribunals are (understandably) struggling to cope with the increased workload, with an increasing backlog of cases (of up to 8 months in some instances). This has resulted in applications being missed/delayed and hearings being postponed etc. 

Perhaps with an eye to these issues, it is being reported in the Law Society Gazette that the government is considering reintroducing tribunal fees. Whilst no detail is given, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has said it is confident that a fee system can be found which does not deny claimants access to justice. This follows on from a written answer in Hansard in the summer, where the MoJ said it was reviewing how (not whether) it would reintroduce fees. Richard Heaton, permanent secretary at the MoJ stated “We have to get the fee level right. I can see a scheme working that is both progressive and allows people out of paying fees where they can’t afford to.”

Since the fees were quashed, individuals have been able to apply for a refund. In 2017/2018 refund payments totalled £7.1m and since the end of the financial year in April 2018 the MoJ has, on a cumulative basis, made refunds totalling £15.8m.

Whilst there are no immediate plans to re-introduce tribunal fees we will keep you updated as the debate unfolds.

If you have any questions on employment law please contact Selene Holden (seleneholden@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717436), Greg Jones (gregjones@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717446) or Angharad Ellis Owen (mailto:aellisowen@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717453).  

For more information on the services offered by Greene & Greene Solicitors please visit www.greene-greene.com and follow on Twitter @GreeneGreeneLaw.

Thursday
Nov082018

Data breach by rogue employee – are you insured?

Last week the Court of Appeal handed down a significant judgment in the case of WM Morrison Supermarkets plc v Various Claimants.

The Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the High Court that Morrisons was vicariously liable for a data breach caused by a rogue employee.

In 2014, Mr Skelton, a senior IT auditor (who had a grudge against his employer following disciplinary action the year before), published personal and confidential information of almost 100,000 Morrisons employees on the internet; the information was also sent to three newspapers.

Mr Skelton’s role involved the receiving, storing and disclosing of payroll data to auditors. However, the breach occurred when he published personal data from his home, on his personal computer and outside of working hours.

Over 5,500 employees brought claims against Morrisons for damages for misuse of private information and breach of confidence.

The Court of Appeal agreed that what happened was a ”seamless and continuous sequence of events” and was within the field of activities assigned to Mr Skelton by Morrisons.

What is novel about this case is that it is the first reported case in which the motive of the employee was to deliberately harm the employer, rather than for any personal gain.

The Court of Appeal was not persuaded by the argument that a finding of vicarious liability in this case would result in ‘Doomsday’ or ‘Armageddon’ for employers. The Court of Appeal recognised that data breaches may, depending on the circumstances, lead to a large number of claims against companies for potentially ruinous amounts. However, it observed that a solution would be for employers to insure against catastrophes, and losses caused by dishonest or malicious employees.

It is understood that Morrisons intend to seek leave to appeal to the Supreme Court.

Mr Skelton was sentenced to 8 years imprisonment in July 2015 for his actions.

If you have any questions on employment law or data protection please contact Selene Holden (seleneholden@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717436), Greg Jones (gregjones@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717446) or Angharad Ellis Owen (aellisowen@greene-greene.com ~ 01284 717453).  

For more information on the services offered by Greene & Greene Solicitors please visit www.greene-greene.com and follow on Twitter @GreeneGreeneLaw.