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Employment Law: ACAS advice on performance management systems

ACAS has published new guidance on performance management. It sets out what performance management is and why it is good for both the business and its employees. It sets out the benefits of good performance management systems. These include having motivated staff, getting the best out of employees, delivering projects effectively, and weeding out poor performance.

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Employment Law: Happy new year for vegans

It looks like it might be a happy new year for vegans. The employment tribunal will decide in March 2019 whether ethical veganism is protected by the Equality Act 2010 as a ‘philosophical belief’, akin to a religion. Jordi Casamitjana will have to show that his ethical veganism meets the legal test: his belief is genuinely held; it is a belief rather than an opinion; it relates to a weighty and substantial aspect of human life; it attains a certain level of seriousness and cogency; and it deserves respect in a democratic society. He claims that he was dismissed by the League Against Cruel Sports because of his philosophical belief in veganism.

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Employment Law: Holiday pay

Do workers lose the right to a payment in lieu of holiday at the end of their employment if they did not try to take it? No, said the Court of Justice of the European Union in Kreuziger v Berlin.

The employee worked for a German public sector employer. His employment ended but the employer would not pay him in lieu for untaken holiday. The employee brought a claim. The German court agreed with the employer. It relied on national rules saying payment in lieu was only necessary if the employee had been prevented from taking the holiday by matters beyond his control. The appeal court doubted this were true and referred the matter to the CJEU.

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Employment Law: Whistleblowing

Can co-workers be liable for whistleblowing dismissals along with the employer? Yes, the Court of Appeal has said in Timis v Osipov. Mr Osipov was the employer’s CEO. Two directors decided to dismiss him after he made protected disclosures. The employee brought claims against the company for whistleblower dismissal under section 103A of the Employment Rights Act 1996. He also brought claims against the directors (as well as the employer) under section 47B of the same Act for detriments which led to his dismissal.

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Employment Law: Redundancy trial periods

Is it unfair not to offer a trial period for a more junior role even if the employee did not complain at the time? Yes, if it is a contractual right, said the employment appeal tribunal in George v London Borough of Brent. Trial periods allow an employee to try out a new role whilst being able to fall back on the redundancy package if the new role does not work out.

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Employment Law: Are Uber drivers workers?

The Court of Appeal has confirmed this month that Uber drivers are workers rather than self-employed, in Uber v Aslam. The drivers’ contracts described them as independent contractors. They had to undertake an interview and an induction. They had to perform the work personally. Drivers used their own vehicles, but Uber stipulated appropriate brands and presentation standards. In providing jobs, Uber controlled the key information. They would provide drivers with a passenger’s first name but no surname, contact details or destination. Uber had complete control of the fares. Financial penalties could be incurred for departing from Uber’s suggested route.

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Employment Law: Is an employer responsible for the actions of an employee who has ‘gone rogue’?

Is an employer responsible for the actions of an employee who has ‘gone rogue’ and deliberately posted sensitive employee data online? Yes, the Court of Appeal has said in Morrisons v Various Claimants. Mr Skelton was an internal auditor at Morrisons. He had been recently disciplined and held a grudge against the company. He took sensitive personal data relating to thousands of employees and posted it online. He then told newspapers it was there. The data included names, bank details and salary information.

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Family Investment Companies

robin-hastings-1-1Traditionally, the most common way to pass down family wealth has been by way of discretionary trust structures. However, recent changes to the tax regime now mean that family investment companies (FICs) could offer more favourable tax treatments when deciding how to deal with future generations – particularly for individuals with large inheritance tax (IHT) estates.

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