Tuesday 22 June 1999

New Web site

Employment Law (UK) List - http://danielbarnett.co.uk

I have set up a web site which contains a number of employment law links, assorted articles on aspects of employment law, and 'newsflash' versions of the bulletins which are sent automatically to subscribers to this list.

It also contains information about my practice!

Wednesday 16 June 1999

Age Discrimination Code Published

Age Discrimination Code Published

The government published the long-awaited Code of Practice on Age Diversity on Employment this morning.

The Code is voluntary and (unlike the ACAS Codes of Practice) has no statutory basis. Critics of the code assert that it is toothless and will has no sanctions to encourage bad employers to comply with its provisions.

The Code sets out six areas in which good practice is advocated. These

- Recruitment
- Selection
- Promotion
- Training & development
- Redundancy
- Retirement

Various guidelines are set out under each heading. They are unexciting (such as use objective job criteria, avoid using age limits or age range in job adverts and do not see age as the sole criterion when operating early retirement scheme), particularly in the light of the lengthy and wide consultation period that has been operating since last year.

Tony Blair states, in a Press Release issued this morning, Our country is getting older. Thats not a burden, it is an opportunity. Its our job as a government to seize that opportunity.

The governments refusal to introduce legislation, contrary to its express promise to the House of Commons on 9th February 1996, and its vague promise in the 1997 election manifesto, is to be regretted. There is an analysis of the history of age discrimination legislation and authorities in issue 8 of Employment Lawyer magazine (CCH Editions).

Copies of the Code of Practice are available from the internet on http://www.dfee.gov.uk/agediversity. For a copy of the above age discrimination article, please Email me at dbarnett@2gis.co.uk.

Employment Agency Regulations - Consultation Document

Employment Agencies Regulations Consultation Document

A Consultation Document has been published by the DTI, containing draft Regulations to govern Employment Agencies (the Conduct of Employment Agencies and Employment Businesses Regulations 1999).

The draft Regulations are to be given effect under powers contained in the Employment Rights Bill. Much of the content consolidates the legislation from the Employment Agencies Act 1973 and subsidiary regulations, together with subsequent case-law. This consultation document refers to that legislation and acknowledges that "the industry has changed and expanded enormously since that time."

The new Regulations can be summarised as follows:

• agencies’ details (name and a statement that it is an employment agency) to be set out clearly in all correspondence;
• job-seekers entitled to clear, unambiguous terms making it clear who is employing them and on what basis;
• agencies to check the qualifications of job-seekers who must hold such qualifications to work, eg doctors, pilots;
• agencies to obtain references for applicants for certain jobs, eg working with children or the vulnerable;
• agencies not permitted to send job-seekers to hazardous work outside their experience or competence;
• increased protection for workers to ensure they are paid fully and on-time for work they have done;
• increased protection to safe-guard clients’ money;

Copies of the consultation document can be found at http://www.dti.gov.uk/IR/consultz.htm. Responses are required by 30th September 1999.

Saturday 12 June 1999

ECJ Judgment - Allen v Amalgamated Construction

The ECJ held on 2nd December in Allen v Amalgamated Construction that the Acquired Rights Directive applies to transfers of undertakings between companies which are members of the same group.

A transcript can be obtained from the ECJ web-site (which can be quite slow). Alternatively, there is a direct link from the employment law 'superportal' web page at www.emplaw.co.uk


Please note that the advertisements which have appeared recently at the footer of some of these messages are imposed by the ListBot server (which I use for distributing these bulletins) and do not form part of these bulletins. I am currently arranging to have them removed, but they may continue appearing for the next few weeks.

Friday 11 June 1999

Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 - commencement 2nd July 1999

Employment Law (UK) List - http://employment_law_UK.listbot.com

The Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 will come into force on 2nd July 1999, according to the draft statutory instruments just announced to parliament.

Three draft S.I.s have been laid, which are being published by HMSO on 18th June. They are the Commencement Order (number not yet announced), the Compensation Order (SI 1999/1548) and the Prescribed Persons Order (SI 1999/1549).

The Act renders it unlawful to subject any worker who makes a qualifying disclosure to a detriment.

If such a worker is dismissed, the dismissal is automatically unfair.
There is to be no limit on the compensatory award.

The worker is only protected if the disclosure is made to his/her employer (or a government minister if the worker is a civil servant), a legal adviser, any person nominated by the employer, or any suitable person if the worker believes that disclosure to the employer would result in the evidence being concealed or destroyed. This list is a paraphrase of the categories set out in the legislation.

The information disclosed must fall into one of six categories. These include the commission (or likely commission) of a criminal offence, a failure (or likely failure) to comply with a legal obligation and the endangering (or likely endangering) of an individual's health and safety.

There are fairly strict requirements on the worker: for example, he/she must act in good faith, not be acting for personal gain and reasonably believe the information to be true.

Any attempt to avoid the provisions of the Act (i.e. a 'gagging' clause in a contract) will be void.