There are no significant changes to employment law this month, and ironically no really important cases that will change the face of the workplace, or if there have been, they've been buried amongst the political goings on that seem endless! Talking of endless, when I was lad, the FA cup at Wembley marked the end of the football season, (phew, relief) and even Ian Botham could play in both cricket and football teams, now, there seems no break from football, and last week my Gardeners World got moved 24hrs because of some match! Anyway!...If you have a minute, grab a coffee and a piece of cake and read the item on the right to companions at disciplinary meetings. It's quite a read, (hence the coffee and cake advice) but very interesting. However............
Read on for details of this months reports and, as always, call me or mail me if you have any concerns or need more information about this edition's content.
Kind regards, Paul
First The News:
New EU General Data Protection Regulations due 25 May 2018
The EU General Data Protection Regulation, which comes into force on 25 May 2018, will comprehensively reform the UK’s data protection rules. As well as introducing a number of new concepts and restrictions on data processing, it significantly increases sanctions for breaches of the data protection principles and expands the rights of data subjects. The General Data Protection Regulation (2016/679 EU) (GDPR) is the new governing legislation for collecting and processing personal data in the EU.
It comes into effect on 25 May 2018 for all EU member states. The Government has confirmed that the GDPR will be implemented in the UK as it will still be a member of the EU at that time. The GDPR will replace the Data Protection Directive (95/46/EC) (which is implemented in the UK by the Data Protection Act 1998) when it comes into effect.
The GDPR requires that personal data be processed according to many of the same principles as under the current Data Protection Act 1998. However, employers should note, in particular, that the GDPR has new requirements:
that restrict the use of consent as a justification for processing data;
on demonstrating compliance through the documentation of data processing activities;
on adopting organisational measures for data protection such as policies and practices; and
on providing more information to employees and job applicants on the purpose and legal grounds for collecting their data, and their rights in relation to their personal data.
Employers should also be aware that the GDPR creates a new enforcement system, with significantly higher maximum penalties than under the Data Protection Act 1998. In particular, breach of the GDPR in some circumstances can lead to a maximum fine of €20 million or 4% of an undertaking's worldwide annual turnover, whichever is higher.
My thanks to the ever helpful folk at Xpert HR for their piece on this see them at
Shared parental pay: father wins sex discrimination case
A father whose wife was advised to return to work to combat post-natal depression has won a sex discrimination claim after his employer told him that he would be paid full pay for only two weeks’ paternity leave.
Mr Ali was a former Telefonica employee who transferred to Capita. When Telefonica employees transferred, Telefonica’s policies transferred with them.Under the maternity policy, female employees taking maternity leave are entitled to enhanced maternity pay. The policy gives female employees with 26 weeks’ service the option of 14 weeks’ enhanced maternity pay, followed by 25 weeks at the rate of statutory maternity pay.
Under the Telefonica policies, new fathers are entitled to two weeks on full pay, during their paternity leave.
This is an interesting article and demonstrates the things are moving in the workplace, read the full article on my blog:
Once again I applaud the ever excellent Personnel Today team for their article
And this, just in: my coffee and doughnut item!
Companions at disciplinary hearings: difficult scenarios for HR
On paper, a worker’s right to be accompanied at a disciplinary hearing is one of the simplest employment rights there is. In practice, the right to be accompanied can be a divisive magnet for dispute, as these seven example scenarios for HR show.
1. Performance review meeting with underperforming probationer
A line manager has an employee who is underperforming during probation.
The manager intends to tell the employee at the meeting that he will be dismissed if his performance does not improve within the next month.
At the start of the meeting, the employee insists that he has union representation at the meeting, so HR is called in.
What’s the legal position?
The employee is correct and the line manager is mistaken if he believes that he does not have to follow a set procedure because the employee is on probation. The right to be accompanied is a day-one employment right.
A meeting attracts the right to be accompanied if the meeting could result in:
a formal warning being issued;
the taking of any other disciplinary action (for example, demotion or dismissal); or
the confirmation of a warning or some other disciplinary sanction (ie appeal hearings).
Family arranging a funeral told by undertaker that the deceased would not be allowed to wear shoes as it was against health and safety regulations.
Health and safety at work legislation does not stop undertakers enclosing shoes in coffins. Depending upon whether the deceased is to be buried or cremated after the funeral, there may be other reasons for not allowing shoes but this should have been explained properly to the enquirer. It is certainly not a health and safety matter.
Enquirer is deaf and has a Hearing Dog who accompanies her into the workplace. First thing in the morning she empties the dog's water bowl and refills it with fresh water using the sink in the kitchen/chill out area which is located nearest to her. She has been told that she can not do this as it's against health and safety and will upset the other employees. She is expected to take the bowl of water into the toilet which is through three doors, two of which are operated by a pass system to dispose of the water and then collect cups of water from the kitchen to fill the bowl at her desk.
There are no health and safety regulations which could conceivably stop the filling or emptying of a working dog’s water bowl in a kitchen area. The employer should be challenged to reconsider their decision and to explain why they felt it necessary to implement the ban – they cannot hide this one behind health and safety.
The employer also needs to consider whether this imposed restriction is consistent with making reasonable adjustments to enable disabled people to work.
The enquirer was recently looking at jobs and a bus company said that due to new Health and Safety rules all new bus driver recruits must be below 18 stone in weight.
There are no rules in health and safety legislation or in vehicle standards regulations which place weight limits on people driving buses. If such a "rule" exists it is a company policy and they should clearly explain their reasons for it not leave potential applicants to infer that it’s a "safety rule" imposed by others
A university has covered hot air vents with anti-homeless cages citing health & safety reasons.
Whilst there may be some small health risks eg from carbon monoxide exposure in the exhaust gases from the boiler vents, the main concerns appear to relate to possible fires near the vents and the potential for blockages of the vents to shutdown boilers which are critical to ongoing research work.
Getting the right balance between these issues for the university and being sensitive to the needs of others is challenging and the real reasons for covering the vents was not fully explained initially. As with many mythbuster cases, clear and open communications from the outset can help explain the real reasons behind decisions and avoid the appearance of simply quoting ‘health and safety’ as a convenient catch