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Kategorie: United Kingdom


UK Trade Union Act 2016: The end of the beginning?

The Trade Union Bill last week received Royal Assent and became the Trade Union Act 2016 . The Act introduces significant reforms in relation to the holding of industrial action by trade unions. The legislation involves the most radical shake-up of strike and picketing laws since the Thatcher era despite including numerous amendments that were made in light of significant opposition in the House of Lords. These limited some of the legislation’s more radical proposals but do not fundamentally change its scope or purpose.
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‘Only dyslexics need apply’ – unlawful discrimination?

A new marketing firm, the Garage, has caused controversy by publishing a job advert requesting applications from dyslexics only. The ad features Steve Jobs and states: “We are looking for talented thinkers who think differently to join us. We require people with a unique mind, so only dyslexics (like Steve) should apply.” This raises questions over the extent to which dyslexia amounts to a disability, whether the advert potentially amounts to unlawful discrimination, and the steps employers can take to encourage applicants from a particular group. Ganzen Artikel lesen


Gender pay gap reporting requirements on the way

After more than 40 years of equal pay legislation in the UK, the gap between women’s and men’s pay remains stubbornly high. According to data from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the overall pay gap, based on earnings of full-time and part-time workers, has remained at 19.2% during 2014 and 2015. This means that, on average, women earn just over 80% of what men are paid. Government has now published the draft Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2016, which will require businesses employing 250 or more people to publish annual information on the difference in pay between male and female employees. Ganzen Artikel lesen


EU-US Privacy Shield – is the harbor safe again, or are we entering further unchartered waters?

The EU-US data transfer framework known as “Safe Harbor” was declared invalid by the European Court of Justice (“the ECJ”) last October in the Schrems decision. Since then, US and EU authorities have been locked in negotiations to see if a deal could be reached to address the concerns raised by the ECJ when it struck down Safe Harbor. Top of the list were the alleged mass surveillance by US security agencies and a lack of redress for European citizens when their rights were infringed by those authorities. Ganzen Artikel lesen


New EU data protection regime – implications for employers

After a four-year gestation period, political agreement has finally been reached on the new EU legal regime for data protection. An “agreed in principle” text of the proposed General Data Protection Regulation has been published. The text is likely to be modified for linguistic and consistency reasons, but the rights, obligations and potential penalties have been determined. The law should be formally adopted around Easter 2016 with an implementation date in 2018. In brief, the Regulation aims to introduce a “one-stop shop”, with a common set of rules applying across the EU. Ganzen Artikel lesen


Commission payments – limits on employers’ discretion

A recent Court of Appeal decision has confirmed that when allocating commission employers must exercise their discretion rationally and in accordance with the terms of the relevant contractual documentation (Hills v Niksun Inc). This case illustrates how references in contracts and commission plans to employers having “absolute discretion” will not give them broad and untrammelled power. Any discretion employers do have will be constrained by the terms of the contract or plan. In this case, Niksun was bound by a clear formulation for how commission should be calculated. Ganzen Artikel lesen


Restrictive covenants: no need to pay, and paying probably won’t help…

In many civil law countries – France, Germany, Spain and Italy to name but a few – it is both normal and indeed a legal necessity to pay for restrictive covenants, such as non-compete, non-solicit and non-dealing clauses, during the term for which they are in force. That has never been the case in the UK and other common law lands, where the test has always been whether an employer can demonstrate that it had a legitimate business interest justifying the imposition of the restriction. For some time, however, there has been debate about whether the UK might one day converge towards the continental norm. The High Court has now confirmed that the answer remains a resounding “no”. It has also issued (yet another) reminder about the need for good drafting, and for covenants to be kept fresh. Ganzen Artikel lesen


QROPS transfers: why all the fuss?

A qualifying recognised overseas pension scheme (QROPS) is a pension scheme established outside the UK which is broadly similar to a UK registered pension scheme. Members of UK registered pension schemes have a statutory right to request a transfer to a QROPS – this can be an attractive option for individuals who have built up their pension benefits whilst working in the UK but wish to retire abroad. So why all the fuss? Ganzen Artikel lesen