Judges take a tough line against health and safety breaches at work and are intent on sending out a message to employers that laxity will not be tolerated. In one recent case, a packaging company was hit with a six-figure fine after a worker’s toes were amputated by an industrial machine.
When workers are dismissed for poor performance, it is understandable that some employers might wish to soften the blow by giving some other reason. However, as one case showed, there is a duty not to mislead employees and such deviations from the truth can cause a host of difficulties.
It is all very well leaving all your legal affairs in the hands of a loved one you trust but, as one Court of Appeal case strikingly showed, taking independent legal advice is always a good idea, particularly when it comes to property transactions.
After losing its case in the Employment Appeal Tribunal, which found that Uber drivers are workers and thus have the right to be paid the National Minimum Wage or the National Living Wage and to receive holiday pay (Uber B.V. and Others v Aslam and Others), Uber disputed the finding and continues to insist that its drivers are self-employed and value the fact that they can choose if, when and where to drive.
Those who work with children or vulnerable adults are required to have extended criminal record certificates (ECRCs) so that prospective employers can judge whether they are fit to perform such sensitive roles. However, as one Court of Appeal case showed, a careful balance has to be struck between disclosure of information and the serious blight that might cause to an individual’s career.
The annual Christmas party gives employers the opportunity to thank members of staff for their contribution over the past year and is a chance for everyone to relax and enjoy the holiday season. However, it is easy to forget that an employer owes its employees certain obligations, even outside work, when the event has been organised by the employer, and that employees’ conduct during it should comply with normal standards and should not breach workplace equal treatment and anti-harassment policies.
Rule number one of civil litigation is to make sure that you sue the right defendant. As one case showed, however, the complexity of modern corporate structures means that professional advice is needed to select the correct target.
Companies’ reputations matter to them and, when they are publicly smeared, the law is far from powerless to protect them. In one case, a company that was on the receiving end of an online campaign of vilification won £10,000 in libel damages.
Disregarding health and safety rules can put your liberty, as well as the welfare of your staff and customers, in jeopardy. The owner of a restaurant that served a peanut allergy sufferer with a fatal dish found that out to his cost.
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