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Legal Updates: Legal Updates 2022

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Government announces changes to industrial action rules

A change in the law enabling businesses to supply skilled agency workers to plug staffing gaps during industrial action has been unveiled by the government. Under current trade union laws employment businesses are restricted from supplying temporary agency workers to fill duties by employees who are taking part in strikes.

Article by: Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton | Published: 7 July 2022

London bus driver caught using phone at the wheel loses racism claim after being dismissed

In the case of Mr C K Aninkorah v Arriva London North Ltd a London bus driver has lost his claim against unfair dismissal at an employment tribunal held in Watford. CK Aninkorah was summarily dismissed by Arriva London North in May 2021 for gross misconduct after he was caught on CCTV on his mobile phone whilst driving one of their buses. He then brought a legal challenge against the bus operator on the grounds of racial discrimination, unfair dismissal and unlawful reductions – all of which were dismissed by the court.

Article by: Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton | Published: 6 July 2022

Bar worker fired after exposing ‘creepy’ boss wins unfair dismissal claim

In Miss D Trench v Performance Bar Limited Damaris Trench liked and shared comments about how ‘creepy’ owner Himesh Patel allegedly asked a colleague for a ‘threesome’, bought underage girls drinks and tried to kiss female staff.

Article by: Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton | Published: 5 July 2022

Christian factory worker wins religious discrimination claim after being fired for refusing to take off crucifix necklace

In the case of Mr J Kovalkovs v 2 Sisters Food Group Limited Mr Kovalkovs was employed as a quality inspector in a chicken processing factory. Mr Kovalkovs is a Christian who follows the Russian Orthodox Church. His belief is that a crucifix necklace should be worn close to the chest to signify his commitment to his belief. He therefore wore a necklace every day. He underwent an induction training course at the start of his employment which included training on the Foreign Body Control policy. This outlined that “jewellery must not be worn in the production areas on site, with the exception of a single plan band ring”. A further exception was made for religious jewellery, subject to a risk assessment but such an assessment was never carried out by Kovalkovs' supervisor during his induction.

Article by: Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton | Published: 4 July 2022

Shop worker wins disability discrimination claim after suffering paralysing migraine at work and being told ‘tough’ by boss

In Miss M Doran v Pearl Holdings NW Limited Mary Doran has, since 2003, suffered from intermittent chronic migraines. A letter from her consultant neurologist confirms this diagnosis and how her condition has been gradually deteriorating over the last 10 years. Her symptoms include visual disturbance and numbness from the shoulders down giving rise to her collapsing. An attack also affects her ability to speak and she becomes uncoordinated and confused. Miss Doran takes medication to control this condition, but still suffers attacks approximately once a week.

Article by: Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton | Published: 1 July 2022

In landmark ruling caretaker successfully claims that ‘long COVID is a disability’

In the case of Mr T Burke v Turning Point Scotland Mr Burke was employed by Turning Point in the role of caretaker/security in the period from 23 April 2001 until his employment was terminated on 13 August 2021. The reason for his dismissal related to Mr Burke’s continuing absence from work.

Article by: Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton | Published: 29 June 2022

Financial advisor loses age discrimination claim after being told he was ‘not getting any younger’ in bid for CEO role

In Mr C Rowan v DWFS Services Limited, an experienced financial adviser has lost an age discrimination case after he was overlooked for a CEO role and told he was "not getting any younger". Managing director David Wylde explained to 58-year-old Paul Rowan he had instead decided to appoint Daniel Tylerman, who was in his mid-40s, because he was "younger and more energetic", an employment tribunal heard.

Article by: Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton | Published: 28 June 2022

Cleaner wins unfair dismissal claim after making protected disclosures about working conditions

In Mr P Hernandez v Swiftclean Ltd Mr Hernandez was employed by Swiftclean Ltd as a cleaning operative from 4 September 2018 until his dismissal (with effect from 21 September 2020). At the time of his dismissal, he earned £9 per hour and worked 48 hours per week. He was dismissed on grounds of poor performance but claimed not to have been warned about poor performance prior to his dismissal and maintains that no process was followed in dismissing him.

Article by: Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton | Published: 27 June 2022

New Look shop assistant wins unfair dismissal claim after being berated for wearing ‘horrid orange Nikes’

In the case of Ms S Jackson v New Look Retailers Ltd Samantha Jackson told a tribunal she felt bullied by line manager Kirsty Sherburn, who knew she had a knee condition and needed to wear comfortable footwear. Ms Jackson had been wearing Nike trainers to her job on the shop floor, but after publicly criticising her for another issue Mrs Sherburn then told her not to come in again wearing those ‘horrid orange things’ and told her the footwear she had on was inappropriate and she should be wearing 'more fashionable' brands like Converse or Vans.

Article by: Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton | Published: 24 June 2022

New statutory code to prevent unscrupulous employers using fire and rehire tactics

The practice of ‘fire and rehire’ refers to when an employer dismisses a worker and rehires them on new, less-favourable terms. A statutory code on the practice of ‘fire and rehire’ will clamp down on controversial tactics used by employers who fail to engage in meaningful consultations with employees. The new Statutory Code of Practice will detail how businesses must hold fair, transparent and meaningful consultations on proposed changes to employment terms.

Article by: Makbool Javaid, Partner - Simons Muirhead & Burton | Published: 23 June 2022