Employment Update : Some Cases From the Last Year

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Charities with employees need to keep an eye on how the law changes; this means not only making sure that new legislation and rules are noted, but also keeping an eye on cases that crop up from time to time, often outside the voluntary sector.

We have selected a few cases from the last year or so that we think could have implications for our charity clients.

Awan v ICT (reconfirming Aspden v Webbs Poultry and Meat Group)

Mr Awan was on long-term sick leave, with little expectation that he would ever return to the workplace. He was entitled to and had the benefit of long-term disability benefit which provided him with a guaranteed financial income until retirement.

He had been off sick for some time and ICT had the contractual right, due to Mr Awan’s employment contract, to dismiss him after he had been absent from work for a sufficient time, which had been reached.

A Tribunal found that, despite the express contractual term entitled ICT to dismiss, they had breached an implied contractual term that you do not dismiss when a disabled employee has the benefit of long-term disability benefit. This confirmed the case of Aspden.

Uber v Aslam (& others)

The Court of Appeal upheld the decision of the Employment Tribunal that Uber drivers are workers when their app was on and active. They determined that it was the drivers working for Uber and not Uber’s app enabling the drivers to work. It is likely to be heard in the Supreme Court.

Other groups that have brought claims that they are workers include couriers, museum ‘educators’ and a PhD student.

The scrutiny of exactly what groups staff fall under is likely to extend to volunteers, though that group has remained largely unscathed so far. Charities are reminded to reassure themselves that the labels and treatment of anyone involved with the organisation match their role in practice.

Evans v Xactly

The Employment Tribunal found that an employee’s engagement in a workplace culture of jibing and teasing meant that he could not bring a claim of harassment, even though on the face of it his colleague calling him a “fat ginger pikey” would meet the test generally.

This shows that when determining whether harassment has taken place, the Tribunal will always consider the specific circumstances of the Claimant and workplace before reaching a decision.

Chandok v Tirkey, Gray v Mulberry & Casamitjana v LACS

These are all cases which address protected characteristics for discrimination. Caste was found to potentially be a discriminatory characteristic to the extent that it is clearly linked to ethnicity, but is not a characteristic in its own right.

A staunch belief in the sanctity of copyright law did not read the threshold, whilst a case on veganism is being heard even as we write and, in our view, is likely to be successful.

Contact our charity law experts today

For more information on how we can support your charity, social enterprise or other organisation, please contact one of our charity solicitors today on 01895 207862 or email charities@ibblaw.co.uk. Alternatively please visit www.ibblaw.co.uk/service/charities.