2017 has widely been held as a year of uncertainty in the UK; from the surprise announcement of a snap election to the unforeseen subsequent impact of the same on Theresa May’s majority in the House of Commons, and from the glacial progress of Brexit negotiations to the unpredictable nature of the leader of one of the UK’s biggest allies (and his Twitter feed), the humble UK resident can barely have felt more unsure of the country’s future. So will 2018 provide the stability and certainty that has been so lacking for the past year?
The story of a powerful film producer who uses his position to manipulate or abuse aspiring actresses into sexual activities would be seen by most filmmakers to be a bit clichéd and unlikely to win them an Oscar for Best Original Screenplay; but the extent to which the allegations of rape, sexual harassment and bullying have mounted against Harvey Weinstein, one of the most influential movie producers in America, is certainly something that has not been seen before in Hollywood.
The Supreme Court has today ruled that the Employment Tribunal fees introduced in 2013, which led to a 70% reduction in the number of claims being submitted, are unlawful.
In its judgment, the Supreme Court compared the fees in Employment Tribunals to the small claims court and noted that it was far cheaper to bring a claim for a small sum of money. The Supreme Court determined that employment rights are granted by statute created by Parliament and that prescribed fees interfered unjustifiably with the right of access to justice at common law.
Due to President Trump’s attempts to restrict travel to the US for nationals of certain countries, the issue of racism is at the forefront of political and social discussions. An executive order imposing a temporary ban in respect of seven Muslim-majority countries came into force on 27 January but was subsequently halted by a federal judge. The 9th US Circuit Court of Appeals determined that the ban should not be reinstated, but “The Donald” has instead issued a new, slightly revised ban, removing one of the countries and amending a few of the particularly problematic restrictions.
It may be a bit of an understatement, but 2016 can safely be called a year of surprises. A businessman who had never held political office was elected the next President of the United States of America; Leicester City won the Premier League at odds of 5,000/1; Team GB won even more medals at the Rio Olympics than they had in London four years prior; and, of course, the British public surprised the pollsters by voting in favour of the United Kingdom leaving the European Union.
Anyone who has ever spent more than five minutes talking with an employment solicitor is likely to have heard the term “settlement agreement” crop up. This may be in the context of an employment tribunal claim, a possible redundancy or even the sale of a business. But what is a settlement agreement, and why is it important?
What is a settlement agreement?
An Employment Tribunal was recently tasked with determining whether drivers for the mobile taxi-hailing service Uber were “workers” (within the meaning of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA 1996)) or were self-employed contractors. Ultimately, the Tribunal determined that, for employment law purposes, Uber drivers were workers and as such were entitled to certain rights. The case attracted a high level of media interest, not least due to the huge cost implications to Uber in providing all drivers with annual leave and minimum wage.
Sam Allardyce recently became the reluctant record holder for shortest reign in the England football manager post, at just 67 days. His departure followed an exposé by the Telegraph in which they had recorded “Big Sam” in conversation with undercover reporters, posing as businessmen representing a fictitious firm, telling them how rules regarding third party ownership of players, prohibited by Allardyce’s own employer, the Football Association (FA), could be circumvented.
In the early hours of Friday 24 June 2016, it was confirmed that 52% of the Great British public had voted in favour of leaving the European Union. The impact was felt immediately, with the FTSE falling and Sterling weakening to its lowest point in over 30 years. The Prime Minister resigned. European nationals living in the UK were understandably concerned, with many not knowing what this meant for their future in the UK.
There are certain questions that people working in particular professions will always get asked. When someone reveals they are a teacher, the response is almost universally “primary or secondary?”; tell people you are a physiotherapist, and they are suddenly keen to discuss their bad back. It is the same for employment solicitors. When employers approach us to discuss a problem employee, a few questions regularly pop up. Below are the answers to some of the most common questions asked about dismissing employees.