Welcome to the Employment Law Update for the UK.
In this edition we look at recent developments involving employer's liability, disability discrimination, redundancy, and aggravated damages for injury to feelings. Please click on the title to view any article.
As always, please do not hesitate to contact any member of the Employment Group if you have any queries on the issues covered in the Update or any other matters.
When is an employer liable for assult?
In Weddall v Barchester Healthacre Ltd and Wallbank v Wallbank Fox Designs Ltd the Court of Appeal Court considered two cases of serious assault.
Making an exception may not be enough
In Roberts v North West Ambulance Service the EAT considered a case where a shift worker who suffered from an anxiety disorder had been excused from the practice of 'hot-desking' i.e. having to sit wherever there was a vacant work station. The employer had taken pro-active steps to try to ensure that the employee's preferred desk was always vacant when he came on shift. If, on occasion, other employees were sitting at 'his' desk, they were asked to move. The employee resigned complaining that hot-desking was a discriminatory 'provision criterion or practice'. The employer argued that it was not liable as the practice of hot-desking had not been applied to this particular employee. The EAT disagreed and said that the test was not whether it had been applied to him but whether he had been affected by it, which he had.
What is 'suitable alternative employment'?
An employee whose post is redundant may not be entitled to a redundancy payment if the employer has offered him or her suitable alternative employment.
Aggravated damages are for injury to feelings
Employer's motive and conduct may increase compensation award
In Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis v Shaw the EAT has set out the rules that should apply when an employment tribunal is considering an award of aggravated damages.