James Mallon, our HR Business Partner, provides an employment law update for February, covering employee dismissals, tribunals and more.
All Covid restrictions will end in England on Thursday and free mass testing will stop from 1 April.
The prime minister told MPs the legal duty to isolate for those who tested positive would be dropped as he unveiled his “living with Covid” plan.
From 1 April the provision of free testing would be targeted to the most vulnerable, Boris Johnson said.
It is up to employers how they want to handle this: they may allow all staff to not isolate if they get Covid, or they may still allow the staff member to stay at home paid or on statutory or Company Sick Pay if they are eligible. They do not have to do so, however.
The Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme will close on 17 March 2022. Employers will no longer be able to claim back Statutory Sick Pay for their employees’ coronavirus-related absences or self-isolation that occur after 17 March 2022.
Employers have until 24 March 2022 to submit any new claims for absence periods up to 17 March 2022 or to amend claims they have already submitted.
After then, there is a return to the normal SSP rules, which means employers should revert to paying SSP from the fourth qualifying day their employee is off work regardless of the reason for their sickness absence.
The government has proposed a new law “as soon as parliamentary time allows” requiring employers to pass all tips to workers.
The legislation will require employers to pass on all tips, gratuities, and service charges to workers without any deductions. Employers will be required to distribute tips in a fair and transparent manner, where employers have control or significant influence over tip distribution.
The proposal also includes a new right for workers to make a request for information relating to an employer’s tipping record, to enable them to bring forward a credible claim to an employment tribunal.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal in Citizens Advice Merton and Lambeth Ltd v Mefful has recently re-confirmed that an Employment Tribunal cannot consider events after a decision to dismiss had been taken when evaluating the fairness of a Disciplinary Officer’s decision. This means that a Disciplinary/Appeal Officer’s decision will be scrutinized according to what they knew at the time they took the decision to dismiss. They are not allowed to point to the subsequent bad behaviour of the employee, or new-found wrongdoing, to subsequently retroactively justify their dismissal decision. This means employers must ensure they have enough facts to dismiss, at the time they dismiss.
A worker who was called an ‘old white man’ by a colleague, whose comments eventually led to him being signed off work with depression, has won his claim for race and age discrimination at an Employment Tribunal.
Mr Moore was awarded more than £22,000 in compensation after he suffered a barrage of abuse from his colleague Mr Owusu during his time working at Sean Pong Tyres in Rotherham.
Moore claimed he was called “old white man”, “gay white man” and was told he was lazy and too old to do his job, which was often physically demanding and involved unloading and grading tyres for export.
Moore resigned from the company in April 2021, stating: “The situation has gotten so bad causing me many days of stress, upset, and sleepless nights and loss of appetite. This situation has also affected my mental health and gave me no choice but to seek medical help.”
This is a reminder to employers that what may be perceived by some as “banter”, can be a costly Tribunal for another.
Managing employee dismissals or discrimination claims can be difficult, taking the wrong course of action, as we have seen, can be costly for your business. Therefore, it is essential your business remains protected. That is why at HPC our dedicated team of consultants can offer you expert advice and guidance to ensure you and your business can take the appropriate and correct action needed to avoid heading to employment tribunals.
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If you require assistance with an issue related to the employment law update discussed or have a query to discuss, get in contact with our team of HR professionals.
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