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Employment Law: The last straw

The law on constructive dismissal has been under the spotlight recently. Sometimes, employees claim constructive dismissal because of a ‘last straw’ which pushes them over the edge. The courts have recently considered whether a fair disciplinary process – no matter what the outcome – can ever be that ‘last straw’.

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Employment Law: Do you really want to know what your employees are thinking?

Chinese companies are reportedly using brain-scanning helmets to keep an eye on their employees’ state of mind. The helmets contain an EEG (electroencephalogram) sensor that records brain activity. The helmets are designed to monitor employees’ emotional states with the aim of boosting productivity. If employees are feeling sad or stressed then managers will know about it and can act on that information.

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Employment Law: Payslips

The catchily named Employment Rights Act 1996 (Itemised Pay Statement) (Amendment) (No.2) Order 2018 requires businesses to provide all ‘workers’ with an itemised pay slip. Previously, only employees were entitled to receive itemised statements. Workers will now have the right to bring an employment tribunal claim if businesses do not comply, and this extension of the right will now mean many people in the gig economy will be entitled to an itemised pay slip.

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Employment Law: Employee status and ‘umbrella’ contracts

Can an individual employed as ‘bank staff’, with no guaranteed hours, be an ’employee’? Ms Lane-Angell worked for Hafal assisting vulnerable adults in police detention. Her contract said there were ‘no guaranteed hours’ and Hafal would use her services ‘as and when they are required, if you are available’. Ms Lane-Angell would communicate her availability which was put into a rota. When on the rota she was expected to work if required. There was a poorly enforced ‘three strikes and off’ rule where staff were taken off the rota if they missed calls whilst on duty. Ms Lane-Angell missed calls and stopped receiving work. She then claimed unfair dismissal as an employee. But was she an employee?

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Employment Law: Variations of contract

How easy is it for an employer to impose a pay freeze? In Abrahall v Nottingham City Council, the Court of Appeal decided that a group of employees had not ‘agreed’ to a pay freeze when they continued to work without protest afterwards. In 2011, the Council imposed a two year pay freeze. The recognised unions objected, but did not raise a formal grievance. Two years went by before the Council tried to freeze pay again in 2013. At that point, employees brought claims for unlawful deduction from wages based on their contractual right to a pay rise.

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Employment Law: Whistleblowing – protected disclosures

Sections 43A-43L of the Employment Rights Act 1996 protect workers who report malpractice (a ‘disclosure’) by their employer and are then treated badly. For a disclosure to be protected it must contain ‘information’ which the employee reasonably believes is in the public interest. It must also show some sort of wrongdoing (such as a criminal offence or breach of a legal obligation). Can an allegation be ‘information’?

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Escalate case study one : contract dispute client (£107,000)


We recently engaged a contract dispute case in which the client was owed £107,000. The dispute was a few years old and originally the client thought it was delayed/bad debt so they instructed their local solicitor to deal with the dispute. This was unsuccessful and resulted in the defendants counter claiming for £300,000 in attempt to scare the client.

The client tried to negotiate with the defendants and they were prepared to accept a 50% discount to get the matter resolved, but the defendant was unprepared and instead stated ‘take us to court then if you can’. At no point during the last few years has the claimant made any attempt to pursue the counter claim indicating that it was nothing more than a scare tactic.

The client then engaged a well known law firm in Birmingham to help them recover their £107,000 and this was taken on with the client being charged circa £25,000 in fees before the law firm advised that there was nothing more they could do for them and did not litigate because ‘the costs vs returns didn’t stack up’. So the client was left with no recovery, 2 years of lost time and fees incurred equal to 25% of the original claim.

How did Escalate help?

The client heard about Escalate and made contact with the team and we have subsequently engaged the case and are now pursuing. On the basis the client is happy for a 50% recovery (we are looking for 100% plus historic costs if possible), we are hopeful that we will be able to negotiate this through in path A, however we are very certain that if we can’t then the moment it drops into Path B then mediation/settlement will happen.

Why Escalate?

If you have a unresolved dispute, Escalate can help you to avoid wasting your time and money pursuing disputes with unsuccessful outcome.

Click here for more information or email to contact a member of the team.

Case Studies


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