Events & News

Everybody knows (or should know) that the Equality Act 2010 protects disabled employees. Disability is a protected characteristic. Employers are required to make reasonable adjustments to ensure that those with a protected characteristic are not placed as a disadvantage by virtue of that characteristic. This is often called the duty to make reasonable adjustments. However when does that duty arise? In the case of Doran -v - Department for Work and Pensions the Employment Appeal Tribunal (in Scotland) helped to clarify this. Miss Doran started working for the Respondent in 2009 but unfortunately developed health problems which culminated in her being signed off work for a long period due to stress related illness.

There has been much talk recently about the rise of zero hours contracts. On the one hand they provide flexibility to both the employer and the employee. On the other it is often said that they make the employee very vulnerable to the need for their services and unable to rely upon a regular income stream.
The case of Southern - v - Britannia Hotels Limited  and Another suggests that employers need to be alert to the fact that Tribunals may take a view that employees working on a zero hours contract are more vulnerable than those working on standard fixed hour contracts.

lucy robinson

Name:        Lucy Robinson
Position:    FCILEx – Charity Team

 

How long have you been practising?
For three years as a chartered Legal Executive.

 


When did you join LLB?
In 1997. Before qualifying I was a legal secretary / paralegal before retraining to qualify as lawyer. Before qualifying I was primarily assisting as a paralegal in the charity team so know my way around charity law well!

As solicitors are so fond of saying this will depend on the facts. In the recent case of McElroy - v - Cambridgeshire Community Services, Mr McElroy was dismissed for attending for work while “smelling of alcohol”. Mr McElroy was suspended and the allegation investigated. Other possible causes and explanations were put forward but at the end of the day the employers concluded that Mr McElroy had indeed attended for work whilst smelling of alcohol and they terminated his employment for gross misconduct. However the Employment Tribunal considered that Mr McElroy had been unfairly dismissed. The reason was that although Mr McElroy attended for work whilst smelling of alcohol there was no proper investigation producing a conclusion that his performance at work was in any way substandard.

Now that there is no statutory retirement age, many people work well into their 60’s and early 70’s and sometimes this creates difficulties.
Take the recent case of an employee whose hearing was deteriorating to such an extent that they were finding it increasingly difficult to continue in their work. The employers knew this and appeared sympathetic and reasonable. Ultimately it was agreed that the employee concerned would simply retire and receive a nominal payment to mark the fact that they had worked loyally for the company concerned for over 30 years. Fortunately the employee concerned took advice.

Do I have to pay tax when I am being made redundant/my employment is being ended?


It is very common for contracts of employment to end by agreement, leading to a termination payment incorporated in a Settlement Agreement. The termination payment might be made up of several different elements including payment in lieu of notice (PILON), compensation for loss of office, statutory redundancy and in certain cases damages. The termination payment will include a payment in relation to any holiday that the employee has accrued and has not taken. It is often thought that all payments made on termination of employment up to £30,000 are free of tax and National Insurance payments. However, that is not the case.

The Court of Appeal has now delivered judgment in the case of Ilott –v- Mitson – which concerns a dispute over a Will.  A mother left her entire estate to the RSPCA and several other charities excluding her daughter – citing that over 30 years ago the daughter eloped with a boyfriend.  The Court ultimately awarded £164,000 to the now adult daughter – who is of limited financial means.

In our view this is not tremendously ground breaking – the statute permitting relatives and dependants to challenge a Will has been in force since 1975.

Perhaps the proper lessons to draw are:-

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