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Monday 20 July


Dismissal for smelling of alcohol

An employment judge has decided that the instant dismissal of a healthcare assistant for coming to work smelling of alcohol was unfair. The judge decided that a reasonable employer would not have treated attending work smelling of alcohol as gross misconduct or conduct justifying dismissal in the absence of either evidence of an adverse effect on the employee's ability to do his job, or in the absence of a previous warning given under the employer's disciplinary policy not to do so.

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Voluntary overtime

The Northern Ireland Court of Appeal has decided that there is no reason in principle why voluntary overtime should not be included in statutory holiday pay for the purposes of the Working Time Regulations. It will be a question of fact for each tribunal to determine whether or not overtime is "normally" carried out and whether overtime pay can properly be described as forming part of "normal renumeration" for these purposes. The court did not reach a decision on whether voluntary overtime should have been included in this particular case.

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Zero hours worker: £19,500 compensation

An employment tribunal has awarded £19,500 for injury to feelings to a zero hours worker who was subjected to gender harassment. While the harassment was not of the very worst type, there were certain aggravating features which merited a high award. The employee was particularly vulnerable due to her young age and fragile mental health. Also, the token nature of the employer's investigation, followed by its protracted and ultimately inadequate way of dealing with the problem, magnified the effect of the harassment on the employee.

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Non-compliance with Acas Code

The Employment Appeal Tribunal has upheld a tribunal's decision that an employee's dismissal was fair in circumstances where there were serious procedural failings at the first stage of the process. The EAT found that the tribunal had given adequate regard to the nature and extent of the flaws and upheld its conclusion that the flaws had been remedied on appeal.

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Dismissal of Christian employee

An employment tribunal has decided that a Christian nursery employee was discriminated against by her employer on the grounds of her religion or belief when it dismissed her for expressing negative views about a colleague's homosexuality. However, the employee's claim of harassment was not upheld because the tribunal found no evidence that the conduct was unwanted by the employee, who welcomed the opportunity to discuss her religious beliefs.

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Queen's Speech 2015

The Queen's Speech was delivered on 27 May 2015 and contains a number of proposals that will impact on employment law. The government plans to introduce changes relating to tax allowances and the national minimum wage, trade unions, provision of free childcare, migrant workers, apprenticeships and proposals regarding a British Bill of Rights.

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About Redkite

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