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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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Employment Law: Post TUPE variation of contract

Mr Tabberer and his colleagues were electricians. They were originally employed by Birmingham City Council. Their employment transferred several times by way of TUPE (Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006) over the years. At the time of the tribunal claims, they were employed by Mears. The employees were contractually entitled to receive an Electricians’ Travel Time Allowance, though the historical reasons for the allowance no longer existed. Mears varied the employees’ contracts to remove the allowance, saying it was outdated.

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Employment tribunal: Range of costs

Our pricing for bringing and defending claims for unfair or wrongful dismissal (excluding disbursements and Counsel’s fees).

Simple case: £8000 to £10,000 (excluding VAT)

Medium complexity case: £10,000 to £20,000 (excluding VAT)

High complexity case: £20,000 to £75,000 (excluding VAT).

Factors that could make a case more complex:

  • If it is necessary to make or defend applications to amend claims or to provide further information about an existing claim
  • Defending claims that are brought by litigants in person
  • Making or defending a costs application
  • Complex preliminary issues such as whether the claimant is disabled (if this is not agreed by the parties)
  • The number of witnesses and documents
  • If it is an automatic unfair dismissal claim e.g. if an employee is dismissed after ‘blowing the whistle’ on his/her employer
  • Allegations of discrimination which are linked to the dismissal

Disbursements

Disbursements are costs related to your matter that are payable to third parties, such as medical experts. We handle the payment of the disbursements on your behalf to ensure a smoother process.

Counsel’s fees

We would generally instruct a barrister to represent you at the Employment Tribunal hearing. Barristers’ fees are broken down into two areas: i.) a Brief fee, which covers their preparation for the hearing and the first day of the hearing and ii.) a Refresher, which covers each additional day after the first day of the hearing. Brief fees are estimated to be between £850 to £5000 plus VAT (depending on the level of experience of the Barrister, the complexity of the case and the length of the hearing). Refreshers are estimated to be between £700 to £1250 plus VAT (depending on the level of experience of the Barrister).

Key stages

The fees set out above cover all of the work in relation to the following key stages of a claim:

  • Taking your initial instructions, reviewing the papers and advising you on merits and likely compensation (this is likely to be revisited throughout the matter and subject to change)
  • Entering into pre-claim conciliation where this is mandatory to explore whether a settlement can be reached;
  • Preparing claim or response
  • Reviewing and advising on claim or response from other party
  • Exploring settlement and negotiating settlement throughout the process
  • Preparing or considering a schedule of loss
  • Preparing for (and attending) a Preliminary Hearing
  • Exchanging documents with the other party and agreeing a bundle of documents
  • Taking witness statements, drafting statements and agreeing their content with witnesses
  • Preparing bundle of documents for the Tribunal hearing
  • Reviewing and advising on the other party’s witness statements
  • Agreeing a list of issues, a chronology and/or cast list
  • Preparation and attendance at the Final Hearing, including instructions to Counsel

The stages set out above are an indication and if some of stages above are not required, the fee will be reduced. You may wish to handle the claim yourself and only have our advice in relation to some of the stages. This can also be arranged on your individual needs.

How long will my matter take?

The time that it takes from taking your initial instructions to the final resolution of your matter depends largely on the stage at which your case is resolved. If a settlement is reached during pre-claim conciliation, your case is likely to take four to six weeks. If your claim proceeds to a Final Hearing, your case is likely to take between six and twelve months. This is just an estimate and we will of course be able to give you a more accurate timescale once we have more information and as the matter progresses.

Contact us to speak to a member of the employment team.

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Employment Law: Disability discrimination

Is it disability discrimination if an employer deals with an ill health retirement procedure badly? Not necessarily, the Court of Appeal has said. Mr Dunn was employed by the Ministry of Justice. He had depression and a serious heart condition. He applied for ill health early retirement. The process was handled badly and was unnecessarily bureaucratic. But was this poor treatment because of his disability (direct discrimination) or something arising in consequence of it (discrimination arising from disability)? The employment tribunal said yes, but the Employment Appeal Tribunal disagreed.

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