Thursday 27 January 2000

Race Relations Bill / new EAT Decisions


1. Race Relations (Amendment) Bill - government announces will include bar on indirect discrimination
2. New EAT decisions
3. Advertisement


The government has announced this afternoon that it will table an amendment to the Race Relations (Amendment) Bill so as to include rendering indirect discrimination by public bodies unlawful (previously only direct discrimination was included). The Bill prevents racial discrimination by public bodies in connection with acts not covered by the RRA 1976, eg the implementation of central and local government's regulatory, economic and social policies as well as law enforcement.

The details of the amendment are likely to be put out to public consultation shortly.


The following cases have recently been placed on the EAT website recently. The transcripts can be downloaded from

Asahi Diamoud Industrial Co v Barrier [HHJ Peter Clark, 21.10.99]: It is possible for an employee to work under two separate contracts of employment - one with a French company, another with an associated English company. If the work performed for the English company is in the UK, the tribunal has jurisdiction on an unfair dismissal claim against that English company, eben if he normally works outside the UK when working for the French company. A rather unexciting decision, except for the upholding of jurisdiction by finding, as a fact, that two separate contracts of employment existed.

Chambers v Cromwell Group (HHJ Wilson, 4.11.99): Mr Chamber's contract of employment provided that both he and his employer would pay 3% of his salary into a pension scheme. He received salary increases in April, but the pension contributions were not altered until September (being the year end for the pension scheme). He claimed that amounted to an unlawful deduction from wages. The employment tribunal found that there was no unlawful deduction (with the exception of one specific month, on its own facts). The employee appealed, and the EAT upheld the ET's decision that basing pension contributions on 3% of the old, not new, salary did not amount to an unlawful deduction.


Issues in Employment Law

CCH.New Law, in association with employment law specialists Victoria von Wachter (Warwick House Chambers) and Andrea Chute (Mitre House Chambers), are holding a free seminar covering the many changes to employment law introduced by the Employment Relations Act 1999.

Date: Monday 28th February 2000
Time: 5:30 - 7:30pm
Venue: Kingsway Hall, Great Queen Street, London, WC2B 5BZ

Topics to be covered include: the changes to maternity leave and the introduction of new family friendly rights together with the changes to individual employment rights and the new trade union recognition rules.

In addition to these interesting and highly informative talks, we will be demonstrating our new Employment Law Service. For more information go to

To book your place contact Steve Wymbs by 18th February on:

Tel: (01869) 872219 Email:

N.B. Places are limited and will be dealt with on a first-come-first-serve basis. CPD accreditation applied for.

Tuesday 25 January 2000

New ACAS Code on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures [autoreply 250199]

Employment Law (UK) List -
ACAS has issued a new draft Code on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures.

It is contained in a consultation document - responses due by 24th March 2000.

You can obtain a copy of the Code by replying to this Email with a blank message (Word document, 227K), alternatively downloading it from . I have not attached the file to this Email because of its size.

The draft Code is much more thorough than the existing Code on disciplinary procedures at work.


Seminar: Avoiding Unfair Dismissal Claims
Speaker: Daniel Barnett, barrister
Organised by BLS Professional Developments

This half-day course assists solicitors in advising employers, prior to dismissals, in how to ensure that staff are dismissed fairly.

Topics covered include:
• steps to take before dismissing
• the decision to dismiss: what to consider (and what not to consider)
• satsifying a tribunal: getting the right evidence
• common pitfalls
• what it things go wrong? Minimising compensation and settling claims cost-effectively
• forthcoming changes in employment law - the next 12 months
• Birmingham: 29th Feb, 27th June, 26th Sept
• Leeds: 17th Feb, 21st June, 20th Sept
• London: 2nd Mar, 28th June, 27th Sept
• Manchester: 24th Feb, 22nd June, 21st Sept
• Newcastle: 16th Feb, 20th June, 19th Sept
Booking Details:
• £150+VAT (incl. refreshments and documentation)
• all courses 2.00pm to 5.15pm - 3 CPD hours
• contact BLS developments on 0161 728 1778 or Email for a booking form

Thursday 20 January 2000

Compensation Increases

With thanks to John Bowers QC of Littleton Chambers for providing this information.

Under section 33 of the Employment Relations Act 1999, the Secretary of State is under a duty to increase or decrease various awards as soon as possible after September, in line with any change in the Retail Price Index since the previous September.

This has now been done for the first time. The changes take effect if the 'relevant date' falls on or after 1st February 2000. The 'relevant date' for unfair dismissal claims is the Effective Date of Termination. Other relevant dates (eg for guarantee pay, insolvency rights, unreasonable exclusion from trade union) are set out in the relevant legislation.

The increases are rounded up to the nearest 10p, £10 or £100 depending on the particular limit being increased.

Some of the important changes are:

Unfair Dismissal Basic Award: Limit on a week's pay has increased from £220 to £230.

Redundancy Pay: Limit on a week's pay has increased from £220 to £230.

Guarantee Pay: Limit on a day's pay during short-time or lay-off has increased from £15.35 to £16.10

The maximum compensatory award remains fixed at £50,000.

A full list of the changes can be found in IDS Brief 653 (Jan 2000).


Whistleblowing - The New Law
by John Bowers QC, Jack Mitchell and Jeremy Lewis

This work examines an important area of employment law, discussing the new Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, along with the impact these changes will have on the rights and duties of employees to disclose the wrongdoing.

It contains a full examination of issues regarding confidentiality, copyright, defamation and unfair dismissal. Consideration is given to the role of informants and the obligation of employees to blow the whistle.

Specific examples are used to clearly state the case for the new legislation, including the 1988 Piper Alpha disaster, the 1998 Clapham Rail disaster, the Barings Bank collapse, plus many others involving child abuse, cancer misdiagnosis and genetically modified foods. Throughout, the practical guidance is set in context and illustrated by case law or example to ensure this is a complete solution for all professionals.

(Sweet & Maxwell, January 2000)

Monday 17 January 2000

Part Time Workers -Consultation Paper

Stephen Byers, Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, has just unveiled the long-awaited consultation paper dealing with part-time workers, pursuant to the EC Directive on Part Time Work (which is due to be implemented by member states by 7th April 2000).

The consultation paper is entitled (imaginatively!) 'Part Time Work Public Consultation'.

It introduces the draft Part-time Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000, which are designed to ensure equal treatment for part timers. They set out requirements that part-timers should:
• receive the same hourly rate as comparable full-time employees;
• receive the same overtime rates as full-time employyes, once they have worked more than the normal full-time hours;
• not be excluded from training simply because they work part-time; and,
• have the same entitlements to annual leave and maternity/parental leave on a pro rata basis as full-timers.
Although many of these rights are currently enforceable by the back-door (via an indirect sex discrimination claim - 80% of the U.K.'s six million part-timers are women), the proposals (once implemented) will give direct rights to part timers.

A copy of the draft Regulations is attached to this bulletin.

Thursday 13 January 2000

Homosexuals in Armed Forces and EAT decisions

1. Homosexuals in the armed forces
2. EAT decisions

1. Homosexuals in the Armed Forces
As reported on 13th December (see bulletin of that date), the government has now published its code of conduct relating to homosexuals in the armed forces.

A copy of the full press release, including the Code, is attached to this bulletin.

2. EAT decisions
Only one decision of interest placed on the EAT website this week (

DSS v Photay [Lindsay J., 24th November 1999]: Appeal against a decision to extend time in an SDA and RRA claim. The EAT held that "the most important issue of all" is "whether or not a trial of the issues can fairly be carried out". Perhaps more controversially, the EAT made its decision to dismiss the claims against four of the five Respondent's conditional upon the remaining Respondent giving certain undertakings to the employee's solicitors within seven days of the EAT decision, failing which the matter should be remitted for further argument before the EAT. It is by no means clear that the EAT has power, under statute, to make such a conditional order.

Saturday 8 January 2000

General news

1) Staff transfers in the public sector
2) Minimum wage frozen
3) Some light relief...
4) Ramesh Maharaj's employment law summary (attached)

1. Staff Transfers in the Public Sector
The Cabinet Office has issued a 26-page Practice Statement dealing with Staff Transfers in the Public Sector. It provides guidance on best practice for implementing TUPE transfers when contracting out, privatising, reorgansing and transferring from one part of the public sector to another and second generation contracting.

More importantly, it states that TUPE principles should be followed when reorganising and transferring within the Civil Service (where TUPE does not apply because there is no change in employer). It states (inter alia) that:
• as a general rule, when functions are transferred from one department to another, staff will be transferred with the work;
• departments should ensure that wherever possible the principles of TUPE are followed. Existing terms and conditions of staff cannot be changed unilaterally, despite different standard terms within different departments;
• staff and unions should be informed at the earliest appropriate stage of the reorganisation and transfer; and,
• over time, the receiving department may aim to move - through negotiation with staff - towards fuller alignment of the terms of transferred staff to those of the main body of the staff.
The full Practice Statement can be downloaded from

2. Minimum Wage Frozen
Those who read the newspapers cannot fail to have missed the leaked 'decision' that the government will not be raising the national minimum wage in line with inflation or the RPI this April. This has attracted a considerable amount of criticism. It is possible that the government may be flying a kite, to gauge the public reaction if there is no change to the minimum wage.

3. Some light relief...
The following report appeared in a recent edition of a Sweet & Maxwell news bulletin:

Solicitor loses sex fantasy claim Times, January 6, 2000, 3

An employment tribunal has rejected a sexual and racial discrimination action by a solicitor who was dismissed for using an office computer to keep an explicit diary of her sexual fantasies. She claimed that writing the diary was a stress relief device and comparable to taking cigarette breaks. The Chairman of the tribunal ruled that, whilst it is accepted practice for employees to use their work computers in the same way in which they use the telephone, the recording of sexual fantasies was not acceptable behaviour from employees.

4. Ramesh Maharaj's Employment Law Summary
Ramesh Maharaj is editor of Concise Law News on the Internet and has contributed to the New Law Journal and the Criminal Lawyer. His book 'Employment Law 2000' is due for release on 21/01/00. He produces a short quarterly summary of employment law developments, which is attached to this bulletin.