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Legal Updates: Legal Updates 2021

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Agreement to attend a late appeal does not mean an agreement to extend a decision period

In the case of Walsh v Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd the UK EAT found that an employee had not agreed to an extension to the normal three month time frame for deciding flexible working requests when he agreed to attend an appeal outside that three month period. The employment tribunal should have considered the merits of the claim.

Article by: Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton | Published: 27 December 2021

Employer wins Court of Appeal case over rights to software created by employee

In the case of Penhallurick v MD5 Ltd Michael Penhallurick lodged a copyright infringement claim at the Intellectual Property Enterprise Court (IPEC) against his former employer, MD5, over its sale of several versions of a tool for forensically examining computers that he had developed. This work was done while Mr Penhallurick was employed by the company MD5 Ltd.

Article by: Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton | Published: 24 December 2021

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Government urged to raise the level of statutory sick pay

The CIPD has published a report examining the SSP reforms that it believes are needed and outlines how public policy and employer practice should work together to support people’s health and employment outcomes. The vulnerability of many workers forced to rely on Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) during COVID-19, or not being able to access it at all, exposed the fault lines in the UK system. 

Article by: Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton | Published: 23 December 2021

New report finds that 42% of employers would terminate an employee’s contract if they were homeless

The national charity for homeless people, Crisis, has published a new report which draws on a survey of 250 UK employers, new analysis of UK government homelessness data and in-depth interviews with people from across Great Britain who have experienced being in-work and homeless in the last two years. 

Article by: Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton | Published: 22 December 2021

Important considerations for employers in this season of office parties

Covid-19 continues to be a real issue for businesses looking to keep their operations going while protecting staff. What should employers consider as work gatherings become more of an issue in the run up to Christmas?

Article by: Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton | Published: 21 December 2021

Appeal court dismisses claimant’s application for anonymity to conceal her disruptive behaviour at preliminary hearing

In the case of Ameyaw v Price Waterhouse Coopers Services Ltd Ms Ameyaw presented three claims containing multiple complaints under the Equality Act 2010, of alleged treatment by the Price Waterhouse Coopers (PWC) during the course of her employment. In the run-up to the Full Merits Hearing, she dis-instructed her solicitors and subsequently retained counsel to represent her at that Hearing on a direct access basis. She made applications to postpone the Hearing, at a Preliminary Hearing twelve days before the first day, and on what was to have been the first day of that Hearing. Both of those applications were refused.

Article by: Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton | Published: 20 December 2021

Employer wins restrictive covenants case against employees setting up rival business

In the case of Richard Baker Harrison v Brooks and Sambrook RBH is a leading distributor of minerals and chemical raw materials which it supplies to manufacturers worldwide. Mark Brooks and Andrew Sambrook were RBH's former employees. Together in their roles with RBH they were responsible for a number of supplier relationships, including a German company called Hoffmann Minerals, a key client of RBH. A year before they resigned, Brooks and Sambrook set up a competitor business called SBS Sourcing Limited, also a mineral sourcing and supply services business. 

Article by: Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton | Published: 17 December 2021

Will the flexible working regime be changing?

"Back in 2019, the government's manifesto firmly committed to encouraging flexible working.  Since then, the pandemic has ushered in wholesale change to working practices and it's impossible to visualise things going back to the way they were.  The expectations of both employees and employers have shifted and agile working has now become a vital tool in attracting and retaining the best talent.  So, whilst it remains to be seen what the government will say in response to the consultation, it appears from our survey that employers are already a few steps ahead and changes to the statutory regime would be welcome." 

Article by: Emma Burrows - Trowers & Hamlins | Published: 16 December 2021

New government ‘passport’ to help disabled graduates get into employment

Hundreds of disabled university students are set to benefit from a new ‘passport’ scheme that will support them as they move into work. The Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP) Access to Work Adjustment Passport will ease the transition from university into employment by reducing the need for repeated health assessments when starting a new job.

Article by: Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton | Published: 16 December 2021

US CEO sacks 900 staff over Zoom

The boss of American mortgage website Better.com has apologised for the way he sacked 900 workers during a Zoom video call, saying he made a blunder and failed to show his employees respect. About 15 per cent of the company’s employees in the US and India were abruptly laid off as part of a cost-cutting exercise. Vishal Garg, the head of Better.com, can be heard saying in the video call:

Article by: Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton | Published: 15 December 2021