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News 15 - 20 February 2019

Published 22 February 2019

The pendulum swings back once more to the inevitable battlefield that is Brexit.  This week we saw MP’s from both sides the House, break ranks and eventually threaten to stand as Independent’s and are now even discussing the possibility of creating a third force in British Politics.  As the prospects of a deal with the European Union now seemingly as distant as they were shortly after the referendum of 2016 HR Departments across the land begin to try to prepare for ‘the new landscape’ of a no deal Britain.(1)  What will this look like?  It could look pretty bleak…possibly, though the truth is, we are literally carving the mould.  So our best guess is as good as it gets.

It’s not as if we don’t already have misery aplenty to consider.  This week on Tuesday the High Court began to hear a case under the Modern Slavery legislation regarding 4 Lithuanian worker’s who were allegedly trafficked to the UK to catch chickens.(2)  Their story at times sounds more like something from a Dickens novel than a 21st Century developed country, and this is before things go sour because of Brexit!  Continuing in the vein modern slavery this week the Supreme Court gave permission for the appeal of care workers to proceed against last July’s judgment which declared ‘sleep-over’s’ paid at the National Minimum Wage unlawful.(3)  Given the shocking levels of existing ‘understaffing’ in the care sector the decision has enormous implications for private care providers, we will be following this case with eager eyes.  Underlining the inherent financial difficulties faced by this sector the Carers Federation published a report on 5 February, into the difficulties faced by carers trying to avoid private care provision by managing the matter themselves.(4)  The outlook on both fronts does not bode well.

When should an employer reasonably be expected to know an employee has a disability?  This is fundamental question for employers addressing disability discrimination in the workplace and is enshrined in s.15 (2) of the Equality Act 2010.(5)  This was the question the EAT addressed in the case of Lamb v Garrard Academy in considering whether the employer should’ve made reasonable adjustments.(6) The original Employment Tribunal decision was overturned underlining the need for the employer not to rely on referred medical assessments to supply ‘constructive knowledge’ of an employee’s disability.  In stark contrast to this decision, East of England Ambulance Services Trust entirely disregarded an employee’s explicit declaration of suicidal tendencies and instead dismissed him…after threatening him with legal action for his disclosure.(7) He understandably won his discrimination and unfair dismissal claim.

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For free employment law advice or if you are affected or want information and support by any of the issues in this article please give us a call. 0333 772 0611

A reputation built on success

For employment law advice or if you are affected or want information and support by any of the issues in this article please give us a call. 

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