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Top 10 Employment Law cases of 2018

Posted by Lotty Reeves on 21st December 2018

As the New Year is pending, here’s a snapshot of the top 10 Employment and HR cases to reflect on from 2018.

Pimlico Plumbers Ltd v Smith

The Supreme Court (“SC”) rejected an appeal by Pimlico Plumbers Ltd on worker status.  It found that a plumber was a ‘worker’ although he worked under a contract describing him as self-employed.  This meant that he was entitled to claim unpaid holiday pay and disability discrimination. 

Addison Lee Ltd v Lange

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (“EAT”) concluded that Addison Lee Ltd drivers were ‘workers’ and not self-employed; demonstrating that Tribunals are entitled to ignore contractual provisions which are contrary to practical reality. This followed the decision of Addison Lee Ltd v Gascoigne which was held in May 2018.

Worker status has continued to be a dominant topic this year due to the Court of Appeal (“CA”) in Uber v Aslam upholding the decision of the EAT that the practical working relationship prevailed over the written contractual terms.

Royal Mencap Society v Tomlinson- Blake

The CA overturned a significant body of case law by deciding that most workers who work ‘sleep-in’ shifts at their workplace are entitled to receive National Minimum Wage (“NMW”) only during the periods while they are awake and carrying out their duties. They are not entitled to NMW for periods when they are asleep.

Kocur v Angard Staffing Solutions Ltd

The EAT held that an employer will breach the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 where there is a difference in agency workers’ entitlement to basic terms such as holiday and rest breaks compared to that of permanent employees, even if they receive higher pay. The decision will be considered by the CA in the new year.

Crawford v Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd

The EAT held that where a worker is entitled to 20-minute compensatory rest breaks under the Working Time Regulations 1998, the breaks must be uninterrupted.  If they are not, then the worker may be entitled to claim compensation for every shift where there were no uninterrupted 20-minute breaks. We are currently awaiting the appeal decision from the CA.

Flowers v East of England Ambulance Trust

The EAT confirmed that when calculating holiday pay, employers must take account earnings received from voluntary overtime.  It does not matter that the overtime is not worked over a regular pattern, provided that it has been worked over a sufficiently lengthy period. This case has now been appealed to the CA.

Lopez Ribalda v Spain

The European Court of Human Rights (“ECtHR”) held an employer to be in violation of their workers’ human rights when it made covert video recordings of them at work, even if the aim was to investigate a suspicion of workplace theft. This judgement is under review by the ECtHR Grand Chamber.

Capita Customer Management Ltd v Ali

The EAT said that an employer did not directly discriminate against a male employee when it refused to enhance his shared paternity pay, even though women were given enhanced maternity pay. This decision has been appealed to the CA and the appeal will be heard in 2019.

Lee v McArthur Ashers Baking Co

The SC held that under the Equality Act 2010, a bakery did not unlawfully discriminate against a customer on the grounds of sexual orientation, religious or political belief when refusing to process the customer’s order bearing the message ‘Support Gay Marriage.’ This decision is of significance as focus was placed upon the business’s objection to the message, rather than the personal characteristics of the customer himself.

ABC v Telegraph Media Group Ltd

A temporary injunction was granted by the CA in response to employees’ breach of confidentiality clauses in their settlement agreements. The injunction was issued to prevent a newspaper from publishing allegations made by the employees of discreditable conduct by a senior executive of the employer.

If you would like more information in relation to these decisions or if any of these issues affect your business, contact our Employment and HR Department

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