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Employment

In December 2006, the House of Lords remitted to the European Court of Justice (ECJ) certain questions concerning the European Working Time Directive, regarding paid annual leave for employees on long-term sick leave. The Working Time Regulations 1998 (WTR) implement the Working Time Directive in the UK.

The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 prohibit victimisation and harassment as well as other forms of discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation.

A recent prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) serves as a warning to company directors and business owners of the importance of implementing comprehensive, safe systems for working at height.

 

Informing and Consulting Employees – Be Prepared

Following a Remedy Hearing of the Cardiff Employment Tribunal (ET), the Diocese of Hereford has been ordered to pay £47,345 in compensation to youth worker, John Reaney. Mr Reaney, who is gay, won his claim of discrimination under the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003.

The Court of Appeal has overturned the decision of the Employment Tribunal (ET), upheld by the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), that an employee was unfairly dismissed because his employer had taken account of an expired disciplinary warning when deciding to dismiss him (Airbus UK Ltd. v Webb).

Equal pay claims have been much in the news lately with many councils facing the threat of legal action by trade unions on behalf of low-paid female workers not being paid the same rates as men performing similar jobs. The Equal Pay Act 1970 makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate between men and women in terms of their pay and conditions where they are doing the same or similar work, work rated as equivalent or work of equal value.

New measures designed to tackle illegal migrant working came into force on 29 February 2008. These measures, contained in the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006, include:

a system of civil penalties for employers who employ illegal migrant workers – the maximum civil penalty per illegal worker is £10,000;
a new criminal offence for employers who knowingly employ illegal migrant workers – this offence now carries a maximum two year prison sentence and/or an unlimited fine; and

On 6 April 2008 most of the long-awaited Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 comes into force. The Act establishes a new statutory offence of corporate manslaughter (corporate culpable homicide in Scotland).

As of 6 April 2008 the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 are extended to the music and entertainment sectors. For other industry sectors these Regulations have been in force since April 2006, but the music and entertainment industry was given a two-year transitional period before implementation of the Regulations.

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