Employment tribunal judgments set to be placed online

The decision follows the publishing of a number of high profile cases concerning employment tribunals

Following the highly publicised employment tribunal cases brought against Asda and Uber recently, Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service have made a new announcement, stating that all employment tribunal judgments will be placed online in the very near future.

Employment tribunal judgments set to be placed online

© Copyright Colin Smith and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

The new online judgement publishing is set to come into force sometime at the start of the new year, 2017.

The announcement has been made following a number of high-profile cases, in which the judgement concerning the companies involved had been published. Both Asda and Uber were taken to employment tribunals over issues within the workplace and members of staff.

Claimants and lawyers will have complete online access, with the ability to look up employment tribunal judgments against a specific company and topic, making it much more accessible for all.

The online service will be free to use and searches will be available to read instantaneously. No former knowledge of a particular case will prevent the user from searching for a specific judgement.

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Mental health charity in Dundee being taken to employment tribunal

Former employee taking her old firm to employment tribunal over unfair dismissal

A former employee of a mental health charity in Dundee, is taking her old employers to an employment tribunal over claims she was unfairly dismissed.

Christine Costello, aged 53, from Invergowrie, Dundee, worked for her former employers for almost eight years as a mental health advocacy worker. She resigned from the charity, Dundee Independent Advocacy Support (DIAS), last January.

Mental health charity in Dundee being taken to employment tribunal

Former mental health charity worker from Invergowrie, Dundee, takes her old employers to employment tribunal over unfair dismissal © Copyright Jim Bain and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

DIAS are based at Meadow Mill, on West Hendersons Wynd, in Dundee.

Ms Costello’s hearing will be held in Dundee later this month.

According to a spokeswoman at the Dundee Employment Tribunal Service, Ms Costello filed four different claims against her old employers for; unfair dismissal, sex discrimination, sexual orientation discrimination and disability discrimination.

Apparently, Ms Costello resigned from her position at the charity in January last year but had numerous periods of time off before leaving, as a result of alleged incidents.

If Ms Costello wins her employment tribunal case against her former employers, she could receive a five-figure sum.

A DIAS spokeswoman said there would be no comments made about the case whilst it was still ongoing.

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Employment Tribunal win and compensation set for sacked Gran

 

60-year-old Gran sacked by bosses because she had breast cancer set for employment tribunal win

A 60-year-old Gran is set for a £100,000 compensation payout after taking her old bosses to an employment tribunal after she was sacked from her job after 21 years because she had cancer.

Valerie Axon, who has worked for Coral Racing for the past twenty-one years, was sacked by her bosses after informing them she had breast cancer and that she would need some time off for treatment.

Mrs Axon carried on in her role but later on discovered another lump and informed the retail operations manager, Carol Chown-Smith.

60-year-old Gran sacked by Coral bosses after 21 years because she had breast cancer

Mrs Axon worked for Coral for 21 years before being sacked for having cancer © Copyright Paul Gillett and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

The company then wrongly accused Mrs Axon of drinking whilst at work and was suspended from her retail manager role at Romford Greyhound Stadium, east London, which earned her £35,000 per year.

In November 2015, two months after she was suspended, the grandmother-of-five was sacked.

At the employment tribunal, it was heard that Mrs Axon was actually drinking cordial when she had finished her shift. The company was found guilty of disability discrimination and unfair dismissal.

Mrs Axon, of Romford, said whilst giving evidence at the tribunal: “I felt that the real reason for my dismissal was because I had breast cancer, which involved me taking sick leave of around six and a half months.”

Two Coral chiefs and Ms Chown-Smith denied the fact that cancer had played a part in Mrs Axon’s dismissal.

Judge John Goodrich ruled that Mrs Axon was not consuming alcohol whilst at work and that Ms Chown-Smith’s main motivation for Mrs Axon’s sacking was down to the fact that her cancer had returned and would need more time off work.

“My family and I have been devastated emotionally and financially by my dismissal and it was an ordeal going to the employment tribunal,” said Mrs Axon.

Valerie added how delighted she was to have received justice and hoped that her case would be an inspiration to other employees faced with the same discrimination in the workplace.

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Employment tribunal win for Thomas Cook pilot

Pilot takes employers to employment tribunal after dismissal threat for refusing to fly whilst fatigued

A Thomas Cook airline captain who took his employers to an employment tribunal, has won his case and accepted an apology from the company.

Captain Mike Simkins, who’s from the UK, was suspended for six months by Thomas Cook Airlines and threatened with dismissal for refusing to fly the Boeing 767 due to fatigue.

Mr Simkins took the company to an employment tribunal after being threatened with dismissal and won his case.

Pilot takes employers to employment tribunal after dismissal threat for refusing to fly whilst fatigued

Employment tribunal win for Thomas Cook pilot © Copyright Mike Kirby and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

 

Mr Simkins is a member of the British Airline Pilots’ Association (BALPA), who said that Mr Simkins refused to fly “after three extremely early starts in a row, including one 18-hour day, and what would have been a 19-hour day to follow.”

BALPA said that Thomas Cook’s fatigue monitoring system revealed that due to the number of duties Mr Simkins had already carried out, if he had taken the flight he refused, he would have landed and his performance loss would have been estimated to being something similiar to that of a person four times over the legal alcohol flying limit.

Head of flight safety for BALPA, Rob Hunter, said: “Not only is it reasonable to refuse to fly when fatigued, it is absolutely necessary.”

It is against the law for a pilot to operate an aeroplane whilst suffering from fatigue, or feels that they may become fatigued.

According to Mr Hunter, Captain Simkins ought to have been applauded by Thomas Cook for informing them of his fatigue, rather than disciplined.

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Employment tribunal victory for beauty therapist struggling with childcare arrangements

The woman took her former employees to an employment tribunal over unfair dismissal and sex discrimination

 
A former employee at a fitness centre in Carlise, who took her old firm to an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal following changes made to flexible working hours, has won her case and been awarded over £18,000.

The employment tribunal ruled that Emma Holt, who was a beauty therapist at the Bannatyne Fitness Centre in Carlisle, was unfairly dismissed and suffered sex discrimination, after she was made redundant over a disagreement about childcare arrangements.

The woman took her former employees to an employment tribunal over unfair dismissal and sex discrimination

Employment tribunal victory for beauty therapist struggling with childcare arrangements © Copyright Colin Smith and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Emma had worked at the centre for nearly 10 years and had a flexible working arrangement with her employers. She worked Monday to Friday for childcare reasons and would only work on a weekend if it was to cover for a sick colleague, or for other special circumstances, as she struggled to arrange childcare for her son.

At the start of 2016, Emma was told by senior managers that she had to work weekends but she refused. She did however look into paid childcare options but none were available in her area for weekend care.

The employment tribunal heard that Emma made a formal complaint but no meaningful investigation was carried out by senior managers and she was eventually made redundant.

“Enforcing a change to my work pattern is breaching my flexible work agreement. I do feel this is unfair on the grounds that I have worked continually for the company and with very little absence over the 10 years, for either myself or my child,” Emma told her former employer.

Holt won her tribunal case on the grounds she was unfairly dismissed and suffered sex discrimination but her claim that she was victimised by her former employers was refused.

Holt was awarded £18,399 in total – £10,399 for unfair dismissal and £8,000 for injury to feelings.

Her former employer admitted unfair dismissal but refused to accept the sex discrimination charges.

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Cancer patient takes former employers to employment tribunal

Being sacked from his job led cancer patient to employment tribunal over unfair dismissal

 

Research carried out by the UK charity Macmillan has found that nearly one-fifth (18%) of those with a diagnosis of cancer face discrimination from their employers and colleagues when they go back to work.

A total of 1,009 cancer patients took part in the survey and all of them were in work when diagnosed. 15% said they went back to work before they really felt able to do so and some said they suffered from guilt for having time off work to attend appointments.

UK charity Macmillan has found that nearly one-fifth (18%) of those with a diagnosis of cancer face discrimination from their employers

Macmillan cancer support charity shop © Copyright Brian Chadwick and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

The charity Macmillan, who provide support for those suffering from cancer, warned employers how important it is that they offer better support to their workers dealing with cancer and the right training and skills should be in place within the company.

The survey found that 14% of people diagnosed with cancer either give up work, or are made redundant.

Terry Foster, aged 58, from Southport, said that he was “treated appallingly” by his former employer. In 2010, Mr Foster was diagnosed with lymphoma and told he hadn’t long to live but he defied the odds and started to recover, so planned to go back to his job as a refrigeration engineer.

However, when he turned up at work to meet his manager, he was told he was being sacked because of the cancer as he wouldn’t be able to cope with job stress, even though the stress of losing his job meant he had to worry about telling his wife, supporting a young family and having to pay a mortgage.

Mr Foster received a letter of confirmation from his former employers with a full explanation for his dismissal.

He took the firm to an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal, won and was awarded over £62,000.

Ms Egan, who heads the Working Through Cancer programme at Macmillan Cancer Support, said that many people suffering with cancer “are not aware they have rights under the Equalities Act.”

She also said that many patients wrongfully don’t tell their employers they are suffering from cancer.

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Employment tribunal for CitySprint over freelance workers rights

The company faces an employment tribunal over demands to treat freelance couriers as workers

 

The UK’s leading delivery company CitySprint, are the latest British firm to be taken to an employment tribunal over demands that freelance couriers should be treated the same as workers.

A number of other disputes relating to the growing ‘gig economy’ in the UK have come to light recently, including the UK’s largest sports retailer Sports Direct and the taxi-hailing company Uber, whose drivers won their case.

Employment tribunal for CitySprint over freelance workers rights

CitySprint courier vehicle on Kingsley Close © Copyright Burgess Von Thunen and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

The case against CitySprint has been brought by Mags Dewhurst, who has made deliveries for the courier company for over two years. At the tribunal, her argument will be that she should be granted worker status at the firm along with workers rights, including the national minimum wage and holiday pay.

This case against CitySprint is the first out of four concerning courier firms, all of which will be held in front of the same judge. Cases against Addison Lee, eCourier and Excel are due to be heard in 2017.

Head of the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain (IWGB), Mr Jason Moyer-Lee, who’s backing the riders, says that the cyclists only worked for one firm and were duty-bound to accept the work given to them during the day.

According to Mr Moyer-Lee, independent contractors could send other people to carry out their work but Mags Dewhurst and the other CitySprint riders could not do this.

Mr Moyer-Lee said: “Even though the courier firms say Mags can send a substitute, she can’t really, as there are restrictions that prevent that.”

The whole purpose of the cases, says Moyer-Lee, is to test the workers status within these companies.

CitySprint has 3,500 self-employed couriers. If the employment tribunal finds for the riders, the company may face further claims.

Mags Dewhurst says she is taking action against CitySprint over personal experiences regarding earnings and because she has a number of courier friends who earn less than the national minimum wage. She also said that financial difficulties arise when she wishes to go on holiday.

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TV-chef Michel Roux Jr condemned for failing to pay living wage

An investigation by the Guardian found the celebrity chef was paying some staff just £5.50 per hour

Celebrity chef Michel Roux Jr has admitted to paying some of his restaurant staff less than the national living wage, according to an investigation by the Guardian.

In a statement published by the management team at Michel Roux Jr’s Mayfair restaurant, Le Gavroche, it was confirmed that some employees at the restaurant were being paid just £5.50 per hour; almost £2 under the national living wage of £7.20 for over 25s.

Michel Roux Jr was a judge on BBC’s Masterchef: The Professionals before he left the show in 2014. Patrons dining at his exclusive Michelin-starred restaurant can expect to pay up to £65 for some starter courses, while a tasting meal will cost over £210.

Celebrity chef admits to paying less than the national living wage

La Gavroche is situated in the upmarket area of Mayfair, London. © Copyright David Hallam-Jones

Some La Gavroche employees said they were receiving as little as £375 per week, despite working 68 hours. Speaking to the Guardian, one La Gavroche staff member said: “It is clear exploitation and inexcusable.”

The president of the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA), Raymond Blanc, a fellow TV-chef, said the findings of the Guardian investigation were like “a massive own goal” for the restaurant industry and that paying staff less than the national living wage is “simply not acceptable”.

Since the investigation went public, La Gavroche has said it will be increasing all wages in line with the national living wage and the national minimum wage “with immediate effect”.

The current national living/minimum wage rates in the UK are:

  • Living Wage: Ages 25 and over: £7.20
  • Minimum wage: 21 to 24: £6.95
  • Minimum wage: 18 to 20: £5.55
  • Minimum wage : Under 18: £4.00

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Prison officers striking on health and safety grounds forced back to work

Under current laws, it is illegal for prison officers to strike or for anyone to induce striking action

A 24-hour protest staged by the nation’s prison officers on account of health and safety concerns, was cut short by the High Court after the justice secretary, Elizabeth Truss, took legal action to prevent the issue from spiralling out of control.

The prison officers involved in the protest were encouraged to strike by the Prison Officers’ Association (POA), which has said that the prison system in England and Wales is going through a “meltdown” process amid rising violence, which is creating health and safety issues.

Government council said POA was using the striking action to “impose their own limited regime” on the prison system in direct opposition to the Prison Service.

Health and safety fuelled striking action stopped following High Court legal action

Prison officers staged protests outside their jails. Photo: © Copyright Ian S

On Tuesday last week, Mr Justice Kerr granted the government an injunction to prevent any further strike action, which the justice secretary labelled “unlawful”, as she denounced POA for their “disgraceful” behaviour.

Under the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, it is illegal for prison officers to carry out industrial striking action and for anyone to induce prison officers into industrial striking action.

Following the High Court ruling, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Justice said: “The injunction prevents the POA and any of its officials including local officials from inducing, authorising or supporting any form of industrial action by any prison officer which would disrupt the normal running of the prison service in England and Wales.”

During the 24-hour strike, prisoners were locked in their cells while striking prison officers protested outside their jails. Michael Spurr, chief executive of the National Offender Management Service, said this can lead to a “dangerous” environment.

Court proceedings in England and Wales were abandoned due to a lack of security, including that of Thomas Mair who is charged with the murder of MP Jo Cox.

Bob Neill, from the Justice Select Committee, joined Truss in her condemnation of POA, but he said that Truss should accept that there are problems within the prison system, including severe understaffing, which need to be addressed as a matter of urgency.

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Number of employment tribunal cases fall by 73%

Slump blamed on introduction of employment tribunal fees of up to £1,200

A new study has revealed that the number of employees taking claims out for discrimination or unfair dismissal to employment tribunals, has fallen by 73% since the introduction of charges were put in place.

According to the Trades Union Congress (TUC), there’s been a massive reduction in cases of discrimination; on grounds of sex (71%), race (58%) and disability (54%), since the introduction of charges of up to £1,200.

In 2012-13, the number of employees taking claims to an employment tribunal was around 16,000 per month, falling drastically to just 7,000 over the past year.

Frances O’Grady, TUC general secretary, said: “These figures show a huge drop in workers seeking justice when they’ve been unfairly treated. Now bosses know they can get away with it, discrimination at work can flourish unchecked and people can be sacked without good reason.”

Ms O’Grady added that the evidence was in front of all of us. Fees of up to £1,200, for all workers, not matter what they earn, meant that many employees were being priced out of taking their case to a tribunal.

She said that employment tribunal fees should be abolished, so that workers treated unfairly by their employers can take them to court.

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