the sad case of Baby P and Sharon Shoesmith

Newspaper coverage of the Court of Appeal’s ruling on 27 May in the Sharon Shoesmith case is sensationalist to say the least. The position is misrepresented by headlines such as “Sharon Shoesmith, who was vilified after the death of the toddler Baby P, won her appeal yesterday that she was ‘unfairly and unlawfully’ sacked” (the Independent on 28 May), “‘I’m over the moon’: Baby P scandal boss Sharon Shoesmith set for £1m payout after court rules she was unlawfully dismissed” (the Daily Mail 28 May); or “On Friday, the Court of Appeal ruled she was unfairly sacked, and a leading employment lawyer said she could receive as much as £1 million if the decision is not overturned” (the Guardian on 28 May).

liability to former employees

Most employers know that there is no general legal requirement to give a reference for an ex-employee. Most also know that if they do give one, they may face problems if it is misleading or wrong and the ex-employee cannot get another job as a result. The High Court has recently taken this further. It…

reporting of accidents etc. at work and elsewhere

In June 2010 the Prime Minister appointed Lord Young of Graffham to review health and safety laws and the growth of the compensation culture. Lord Young’s report “Common Sense Common Safety”, was published in October. One of the recommendations was that the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations should be amended to extend…

sex discrimination – speculation can be taken into account

Even leading law firms can get it wrong. What do employers do if they have to make redundancies and one of the candidates has been absent on maternity leave? That gave rise to a dilemma for national solicitors’ firm Eversheds. They have lost a legal battle but it is possible that they will win the…

Yet more on what constitutes a “philosophical belief” in the context of discrimination

I have written on numerous occasions about the sometimes odd and unexpected practical applications of the Religion and Belief Regulations (now incorporated within the Equality Act). This month has seen another and some would say rather tenuous interpretation of what constitutes a protected philosophical belief. Mr Devan Maistry worked for the BBC and presented complaints…