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Update: Business Employment Law - 23 Oct 2014

Read the latest Employment Law Advice to help your business...

Disability discrimination: reasonable adjustments

Businesses should take note of an Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decision which suggests that a requirement to attend an interview has the potential to disadvantage a disabled employee. The decision also highlights how an employer can make reasonable adjustments to remove that disadvantage. However, the EAT makes it clear that appointment to the post is not automatically required. It will be for the employer to consider how it can assess the disabled employee alongside other candidates in the particular circumstances.

In this case, the EAT upheld an employment tribunal decision that an employer failed to make reasonable adjustments for a disabled employee in a redundancy exercise. The employee's disability meant that he was unable to attend administrative meetings, which the tribunal held included interviews. The tribunal found that the employer failed to consider alternative ways of assessing his suitability for roles into which he might have been redeployed as an alternative to redundancy.

This checklist explains what reasonable adjustments are in the context of disability discrimination and identifies when a business may need to make them.

SMEs ignorant of pensions auto-enrolment staging date

Over two-thirds of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) do not know their auto-enrolment staging date, according to a new survey of 750 SMEs by HW Fisher and Company, a London firm of chartered accountants. Forty nine percent said they understood little or nothing about the changes they will need to make, while 77% said they had done nothing to prepare for auto-enrolment.

All UK employers have been separated into a large number of bands according to their size, with each band being assigned a particular monthly staging date from which they will be obliged to start the enrolment processes. The staging date for businesses that have between 50 and 249 employees is between 1 April 2014 and 1 April 2015. The staging date for businesses that have fewer than 50 employees is between 1 June 2015 and 1 April 2017.

This checklist explains the obligations that the automatic pension enrolment requirements place on a business.

Monitoring employees' e-mail and internet use

An EAT decision provides a useful reminder for businesses of the value of having clear policies and procedures in place for staff. In this case, making sure employees were aware of the limits of using the employer's email system and how use would be monitored.

The EAT held that the use of emails that had been discovered during the employer's disciplinary investigations did not amount to an unjustified interference with the employee's private life and that, in the circumstances, he had not had a reasonable expectation of privacy.

This checklist highlights the risks that a business and its employees should be aware of when using the internet and e-mail at work, sending work-related emails or discussing the workplace on the internet.

Direct marketing: new code of practice published

The Direct Marketing Association has published a new code of practice that focuses on data-driven marketing activity. The Code establishes five principles, that go above and beyond compliance with the law, to encourage businesses to treat consumers with fairness and respect. The five principles are:

•             Putting customers first.

•             Respecting privacy.

•             Acting honestly and fairly.

•             Being diligent with data.

•             Taking responsibility for actions.

This checklist highlights the key data protection issues a business should consider when carrying out direct marketing. It explains how customer information should be collected and how product information should be communicated to existing customers.

TUPE transfers: material detriment test

The EAT has upheld an employment tribunal's decision that a relocation of three and a half miles following a TUPE transfer was not a substantial change to bus drivers' working conditions to their material detriment. The employees were therefore not entitled to claim that they had been constructively dismissed or dismissed for the purposes of regulation 4(9) of TUPE 2006.

Visit our Employment Law page for information on our services. Read the profiles of Ian Horner, Partner and Head of the Employment Law Department and Kate Knapton, Associate Solicitor for Employment Law and contact one of them on 01724 854 000 to see how they can help your business.

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