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Hewett's Legal Corner - June 2014 #12

Employment Tribunal Statistics released for January – March 2014

The Ministry of Justice has released a more up to date set of employment tribunal statistics for the period January to March 2014.
There were 5,619 single claims lodged during this period compared with 13,491 single claims lodged during January and March in 2013. This is a 58% reduction in single claims in comparison to the same period last year.
There has also been a reduction of over one third in the number of appeals lodged since July 2013.

Employment Tribunal Fees – Remission Statistics

Fees are now payable when a claim is issued in the Employment Tribunal (since 29th July 2013) and therefore some claimants may be eligible for fee remission.
The House of Commons has recently revealed that between 29th July and 31st December 2013, only 24% of remission applications were granted in part or in full. In perspective, out of the 9,305 single claims and 1,519 multiple claim cases during that period, it amounts to remission being granted in just 5.5% of claims.

ACAS Early Conciliation update

Since the launch of ACAS Early Conciliation (EC) on 06th April 2014 which became mandatory on 06th May 2014, around 1,000 individuals per week have contacted ACAS to discuss EC. Statistics from ACAS show that 98% have opted to use the service.
Please note that EC is now mandatory.

Inspection of Employee’s Home Computers for Confidential Information

In the case Warm Zones v Thurley and another, it was held that it is possible to obtain an interim injunction compelling former employees to allow viewing and copying of their personal computer. The High Court ordered that the Company may instruct an independent computer expert to take images and inspect the personal computers of the two former employees.
The former employees of the Company were accused of copying and/or disclosing the Company’s customer database to a competitor whilst still employed by the Company. It was considered which course of action was likely to involve the least risk of injustice when considering whether or not to grant the injunction. The employee’s Contracts of Employment did include a confidentiality clause.
In this case, there was email evidence that indicated strongly that the employees were attempting to sell information from the Company’s database. The injunction was therefore granted on the basis that there was evidence to suggest that the former employees had misused confidential information belonging to the Company during their employment. The order sought was focused and designed to secure the return, protection and security of the Company’s confidential information and it was held that damages would be an inadequate remedy here.

Employment and Immigration – Civil Penalty Increase

The Immigration (Employment of Adults Subject to Immigration Control) (Maximum Penalty) (Amendment) Order 2014 came into force on 16th May 2014. The maximum civil penalty which may be payable for illegally employing adults who are subject to immigration control but do not have the right to work in the United Kingdom has increased under the order from £10,000 to £20,000.

Changes under TUPE

As of 01st May 2014, the time period for a transferor to provide employee liability information to a transferee increases from 14 days to 28 days before the transfer. This applies only to TUPE transfers that take place on or after 01st May 2014.

Clements v Lloyds Bank

The Employment Appeal Tribunal handed down its judgement in this case which concerned the interaction of age discrimination and constructive unfair dismissal.

The Claimant who was in his 50’s was employed as Head of Business Continuity at the Company. The Company has performance concerns about the employee and in a discussion the Manager stated “you’re not 25 any more” to the Claimant and later denied making this remark at all. The Claimant resigned and claimed constructive unfair dismissal when his manager expressed the desire to move the Claimant out of his job and announced a new appointee for the role.

The Employment Tribunal found that the remark was made as an act of age discrimination however it did not form part of the conduct which led to the Claimant’s resignation. The Claimant appealed against the Tribunal’s finding that his constructive dismissal was not caused by age discrimination and lost. Whilst the ‘age’ remark was discriminatory, it was found not to be a material cause of the repudiatory breach of contract.

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