This post is from our legal expert Philip Landau, as he looks at the serious and often delicate subject of harassment and bullying in the workplace. What behaviour fits the description, and what can you do about it?
“People may not automatically think of a football pitch as a workplace, however Luis Suarez’ recent violent conduct against an opposition Chelsea player in a Premier league game was “workplace violence” at its worse. Suarez received a 10 match ban for his conduct, the equivalent of a workplace suspension.
Whilst this is an extreme example of what many will have experienced as an employee, it is important to note that violence does not only amount to physical assault. There are other behaviours in the workplace such as bullying and harassment, which are still considered to be violence against a person, namely: Continue reading “Workplace Violence – it isn’t always Physical, so what can you do about Bullying and Harassment?” »
There are a lot of employment law changes coming into force this year.
Many of the changes are as a result of the implementation of The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill (the “Bill”), which has been championed by business secretary, Vince Cable and expected to be in force by this summer. The government’s aim was to “remove unnecessary business burdens and obstacles to growth”. So, how have they gone about this?
We asked our legal expert Philip Landau to tell us more about the changes…
The Bill will provide that an employer, who commences a conversation with an employee with a view to terminating his or her employment under a settlement agreement, can do so without the employee being able to rely on the details of the conversation as evidence in an unfair dismissal claim. So, your employer will be able to take you to one side and “out of the blue” have an open discussion with you in which you are offered a sum to leave – and it is that discussion that becomes “protected” and not able to be used in future tribunal proceedings. It is different to the present position in that such protection only applies where a formal dispute has already arisen (such as a prior performance improvement plan, or disciplinary proceedings).
The aim of the new legislation is clear; it is to help employers facilitate an early exit of under-performing staff without the necessity of going through a lengthy process.
The provision will be limited to standard unfair dismissal claims only; it will not apply, for example, to discrimination cases or other types of claim. Continue reading “It’s all Change for Employment Law in 2013, But How Will You be Affected?” »
It is usual for employers to insert clauses (especially into senior employees’ contracts) which seek to restrict an ex-employee’s conduct post-termination. It is also, however, becoming more and more common for employers to put these into the contracts of junior employees. But what are they?
We asked our legal expert Philip Landau to explain…
“The types of post termination restrictive covenants which you may find in your employment contract are:
In order to be enforceable, the restrictive covenants will need to prevent you from one of the above activities for a set period of time after termination of your employment (usually 6, but sometimes 3 or 12 months).
Whether such clauses are actually enforceable against you will depend upon the particular circumstances of the case. However, the following principles will usually be taken into account:
If you do have restrictive covenants in your contract, your options post-termination can be severely limited. This could leave you unable to start work with a new employer for the period of time set out in the agreement. This is usually six months but can sometimes be for a period of up to 12 months.
You may decide to ignore the restrictions when you leave and go and work for the employer of your choice, and taking your clients and contacts with you. You would, however, run the risk of your old employer issuing legal proceedings against you to enforce the restrictive covenants. They could even have grounds for seeking an injunction restraining both you and your new employer from being in breach of the covenant.
Such applications are rare, but you should nevertheless not recklessly breach your covenants without first taking professional advice. It could otherwise prove very costly.”
Jobsite have partnered with specialist employment law solicitor Philip Landau, to bring you expert advice on your rights in all key areas of your working life. As a Jobsite user you are also entitled to receive a free initial consultation on all employment law issues from Philip. Philip can help with a number of legal problems; perhaps you feel your employer isn’t following their legal responsibilities, you believe you have been dismissed unfairly or you are unsure about clauses in your contract. Once he knows your specific situation he can let you know what your rights are and what action you can take. To get in touch with Philip, click the link below and he will contact you to discuss your situation in more detail. Philip Landau is a solicitor and partner, specialising in employment law, in the London legal firm Landau Zeffertt Weir.
The information and any commentary on the law on this web site is provided free of charge for information purposes only. Every reasonable effort is made to make the information and commentary accurate and up to date, but no responsibility for its accuracy and correctness, or for any consequences of relying upon it, is assumed by either Jobsite or Landau Zeffertt Weir. The information and commentary does not, and is not intended to, amount to legal advice to any person on a specific case or matter. You are strongly advised to obtain specific, personal advice from a solicitor about your case or matter and not to rely on the information or comments on this site.
The winter weather forecast is not good. Snow has already arrived in certain parts of the country and forecasters are predicting it could be a harsh winter.
The chances are that at some point this winter you may be struggling to get to work, and many workers will simply not be able to make it in – even though it’s through no fault of their own.
So what are your employment rights if you are unable to make it to work? Are you still entitled to be paid, and could you even be disciplined?
We put the questions to our legal expert, Philip Landau…
Some employers will have ‘bad weather’ policies so it is worth checking this in the first instance. A generous employer may provide for you to still be paid if bad weather genuinely stops you from making it into work, or there may be a collective agreement in place covering this position. In the absence of such a policy, you are at the whim of your employer as to whether your pay is docked if you do not turn up for work.
Yes. In fact the advisory conciliation service, ACAS has long recommended the following:
Employers are not obliged to agree to any of the above.
Although you would have the right to unpaid leave if you had to arrange emergency childcare arrangements, there is no right to actually be paid in these circumstances. Your employer may still be prepared to pay you for your time off if you can work from home or you agree to make up the hours.
Yes. The general position is that your employer may require you to take annual leave on particular days by giving the appropriate notice. The law states that you must be given warning that is the equivalent of twice the length of the leave. Such notice should specify the day or days on which leave is required to be taken and such notice must be at least twice the period of leave it requires the worker to take. Continue reading “Can’t get to work because of the snow? Your employer may decide not to pay you, so what are your employment rights?” »
Recent media reports on the use of ‘zero-hour contracts’ in the NHS has brought to the forefront a largely unpublicised, but nevertheless, sharp increase in the use of this type of contract in recent years and, unsurprisingly, this news has been met with a great deal of controversy.
We asked our legal expert, Philip Landau, to answer some of the key questions…
Unlike standard employment contracts, where there is a mutual requirement for the employer to provide work and the employee to work a set number of hours per week, zero-hour contracts enable employers to engage and pay a worker only as an when they are required – there is no mutuality of obligation. Accordingly, an individual working under such contract would not be guaranteed work and any work offered would not necessarily be on the same days or at the same time each week. By the same token, the worker would not be obligated to accept any work offered.
The flexible nature of zero-hour contracts, which enables an employer to engage and pay for someone only at the times when there is the necessary demand, means that they are most commonly found in industries where high levels of activity are followed by quieter periods. For example, in agriculture, tourism and construction it is commonly acknowledged that there are set seasons which will be busier than others, therefore necessitating a short-term increase in the workforce. Lower-skilled industries such as catering, cleaning, security, and retail will also utilise this type of contract.
Zero-hour contracts were in regular use during the recession in the 1990s and thrive when the economy is unstable. As employers try to find more cost-effective ways of dealing with fluctuating and uncertain business needs, workers are in the unenviable position of either accepting these unfavourable terms or left looking for another job in a tough market.
According to the Office of National Statistics, since 2005, the number of people (mostly women) on zero- hour contracts has more than doubled. 161,000 people are now employed in zero-hours jobs but, for the purposes of the UKs unemployment statistics, they are classed as ‘employed’ even if they work for no more than a couple of hours each week. Continue reading “Zero-hour contracts are on the increase. But what are they, and will you want to sign up?” »