Sexual harassment: Whose humour is it anyway?

Mark Tanner asks where the dividing line is between workplace banter and offensive comments that are a disciplinary matter ‘It is up to employers and the courts and tribunals to decide whether humour crosses the line into offensive behaviour, discrimination or harassment, not for them to stamp out all forms of banter.’When TV presenter Richard …
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Disciplinary Procedures: You have been warned

Old mistakes made when disciplining employees can come back to bite employers if they later decide to dismiss, caution Nicholas Robertson and Karen Stewart Two recent Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decisions, Davies v Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council [2011] and Sakharkar v Northern Foods Grocery Group Ltd t/a Fox’s Biscuits [2011], have highlighted the dangers inherent …
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Immigration Status: No green light to dismiss

James Humphery analyses a recent ruling on whether it was fair to dismiss an employee in the mistaken belief that she was working illegally ‘It will be dangerous for an employer to adopt the simple practice of erring on the side of caution by dismissing employees whose immigration status appears unclear. This might be to …
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Recruitment: In the hiring line

Sarah Dunkley examines the legal pitfalls that employers face when taking on new staff ‘Section 39 of the Equality Act 2010 (the Act) prohibits employers from discriminating against a person in the arrangements it makes for deciding who to offer employment to and the terms of that employment.’ Employment lawyers often focus on developments and …
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Public Sector Transfers: Abolition of the Two-Tier Code

Nicola Ihnatowicz discusses whether public service employees’ pay and conditions will deteriorate following the removal of guidelines on central and local government outsourcing ‘Does the abolition of the Two-Tier Code represent a nail in the coffin of public services or is this a step towards David Cameron’s ‘Big Society’, with small businesses and charities set …
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Tax: PAYE changes to termination payments

New HMRC rules could be used by employers as a negotiating tool when making payments to departing executives, reports Ann Casey ‘Employers may now find that it is simpler to make a taxable termination payment before issuing the P45 (especially if there are share-related payments as well).’On 6 April 2011, the Income Tax (Pay As …
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Philosophical Belief: Do you believe in fairies?

Mark Levine and Laura Ford consider whether the tribunals are becoming more willing to accept claims that an employee’s beliefs have been infringed ‘The initial cases decided under the Regulations were relatively unsurprising and the beliefs put forward seem to have largely been judged by comparison to religions and religious beliefs.’In 2003 the Employment Equality …
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