Big brother is watching

Sarah-Varani-150x150If it came to light that an employee wasn’t at work during work hours, what methods would be considered reasonable to investigate misconduct? The courts examined this issue after an employer used a private investigator to secretly film one of its employees.

Case: City and County of Swansea (CCS) v Gayle (G)

G was employed by CCS. On 2 occasions, G was seen by a colleague at a local sports centre during work hours when he should have been at work.

CCS hired a private investigator who secretly filmed G at the sports centre on 5 other occasions during work hours.

G was dismissed for leaving work for personal reasons and for claiming pay for the time he wasn’t actually working. G brought various claims, including one for unfair dismissal.
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Lost Luggage – Your Rights

Debbie-Haskell-150x150Summer is (finally!) here and it’s time to slip on your holiday shoes and get away from the rat race for a short time. Your bags are packed and the sunscreen’s on but when your feet set down at your perfect holiday destination your bags don’t!

Your airline has lost them and so begins the merry go round. You’ve waited patiently by the carousel for your luggage only to realise that it is not there, then you queue up to a desk to speak to a member of staff to report the loss. There may be forms to fill and you may have to ring them every day to see where they are and your perfect break is ruined. Continue reading Lost Luggage – Your Rights

Compulsory retirement age justified in partner’s case

In April 2011, the government abolished the default retirement age law. This means that forcing an employee to retire will be direct age discrimination, unless it’s justified as a ‘proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim’.

Between 2006 and 2011, however, employers were allowed to legally force their employees to retire at a default retirement age of 65 or over; doing so would not amount to discrimination. But this law applied only to employees and not to partners, as the following case examines.

The case: Seldon (LS) v Clarkson Wright & Jakes (CWJ)

LS worked at CWJ as a partner. In 2006, he turned 65 and was asked to leave. As outlined in his partnership deed, 65 was the firm’s mandatory retirement age.

LS wanted to continue working for CWJ in a self-employed capacity. CWJ, however, rejected his proposal. LS then brought a direct age discrimination claim as CWJ’s objectives weren’t a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim.
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“What is now proven was once only imagined.” Hindsight is a wonderful thing but foresight is better, especially when it comes to saving life, or some pain! – William Blake.

Sarah-Varani-150x150Provisional figures published by the HSE on 3 July show the number of workers fatally injured in 2012/13 is 148, and corresponds to a rate of fatal injury of 0.5 deaths per 100 000 workers. The finalised figure for 2011/12 was 172 worker fatalities, and corresponds to a rate of 0.6 deaths per 100 000 workers.

Breaching health and safety regulations may not just result in a fine and a stern warning. If someone has died as a result of poor workplace safety standards, there is every chance the people responsible for ensuring health and safety rules are adhered to will receive a significant stint in prison. Continue reading “What is now proven was once only imagined.” Hindsight is a wonderful thing but foresight is better, especially when it comes to saving life, or some pain! – William Blake.

“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

Sarah-Varani-150x150However in both instances you can do some forward planning by drawing up a Will and consulting an accountant. In a digital world though, a Will may not be enough to safeguard your treasured digital possessions. There are numerous legal, cultural, and technical issues that could prevent access to these records, and if you don’t take steps to make them available to your nearest and dearest, your digital legacy could be lost forever.

Currently, your personal representatives (executors appointed under your Will or administrators appointed by the court if you were to die intestate) have the legal authority to deal with your affairs. They are obliged amongst other things to collect in and protect any assets including any digital assets you may have, settling any debts and expenses and distributing in accordance with your Will or under the intestacy rules. Digital assets have value, sometimes sentimental, and sometimes an intrinsic monetary one, just like a boxful of jewellery.
Continue reading “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”

Employment tribunal shake up: make sure you’re up-to-date

Debbie-Haskell-150x150The government issued their draft regulations regarding the employment tribunal fees in April 2013 and announced that they expect them to be implemented by the end of July 2013. There will be a two tier approach comprising of an issue fee and then a hearing fee.

The fee has to be paid by the claimant and the amount to be paid depends on the nature of the claim. As the Tribunals Deputy Director explained “The more complex a claim the more judicial and administrative resources are consumed, so two claim types with two different fee levels reflect this.”

The fees are summarised below:
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What’s mine is mine and what’s yours is mine… or is it?

Debbie-Haskell-150x150Family lawyers have been watching the case of Prest v. Prest with keen interest over the last five years but particularly this month when the Supreme Court was asked to intercede between Mrs Prest and Petrodel Resources Limited. This case was unusual, not just because it was a high profile big money case but because it was not the actual division of the marital assets which was in dispute but rather how it was to be paid and from whose assets.

The husband was a man of substantial means, estimated by the court to be in the region of £37.5 million although his wife suggested to the court that he was worth considerably more. On divorce the wife was awarded £17.5 million in addition to £24,000 per annum plus the children’s school fees. As Mr Prest was not co-operative the original judge, Moylan J, concluded that it was unlikely that he would comply with the courts decision, an order was made requiring that several different offshore companies transfer the properties into the ex wife’s name as part payment. This was based on the wife successfully arguing that the properties were in effect wholly owned and controlled by Mr Prest.
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