Down Arrow

23 January 2024
The protected characteristics in the Equality Act 2010 are the result of a consolidation of piecemeal legislation which developed to respond to the needs of those facing race, sex and disability discrimination, among others. There has been increasing interest in the notion of class discrimination, which raises the question: should class be protected under the Equality Act? The case for action is strong: social mobility in the UK is decreasing, and those from lower-class backgrounds suffer disadvantage in all areas of life, including education and work. From an employment perspective, access to ‘elite’ occupations such as law and medicine has…

18 January 2024
MPs have passed legislation removing a minimum wage exemption which many have criticised as exploitative. Contained within the National Minimum Wage Regulations 2015, this exemption applies to workers who live in the family home of their employer and who are treated as a member of the family in the context of accommodation, meals, tasks and leisure activities. It has been removed by the National Minimum Wage (Amendment) (No.2) Regulations 2023, meaning that such individuals are entitled to the minimum wage from 1 April 2024 when the new minimum wage will also come into force. The ‘family and domestic worker’ exemption…

04 January 2024
The EAT has found that an employee who was dismissed for failing to follow reasonable management instructions was unfairly dismissed. This case illustrates the importance of adequately communicating changes in workplace policy and following a fair disciplinary procedure in cases of misconduct. The claimant in Butler v Synergy Health UK Limited had worked for his employer, who sterilises and decontaminates medical equipment, for almost a decade. For 8 years, he had changed out of his PPE just before the end of his shifts. During a year-long absence, his employer changed policy so that staff were required to change out of…

19 December 2023
The line between private and public life is becoming more blurred. Never has this been clearer than during our current period of political turmoil, in which people are anxious to express their views on divisive issues, most often on social media, but also by attending protests and speaking publicly. In the wake of the most recent developments between Israel and Palestine, we have observed an increasing confusion about when it is appropriate for employers to intervene and discipline or dismiss employees for expressions of political views. It is not only in recent months that we have seen this confusion, however…

14 December 2023
Non-compete clauses, otherwise known as post-termination restrictions, are a common part of the majority of UK employment contracts, particularly in the corporate sector. They are aimed at providing businesses with certainty that an employee will not, upon leaving, be able to use key insider information gained while working within the business to disadvantage it elsewhere. In essence, non-compete clauses, which are almost unique in the fact that – alongside confidentiality obligations – they survive termination of employment, mean that an employee cannot work for a competitor of their previous employer for a specified period of time. This period is often…

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