As I mentioned in the introduction to last month’s newsletter, the end of 2019 brought with it the most-talked about employment case of the year, even though it was a tribunal decision rather than coming from one of the higher courts, and is therefore not binding on other tribunals. Those (like me) who follow current…
Former chambermaid wins unfair dismissal claim after being sacked for having ‘dementia or Alzheimers’
Wendy Boyle was employed by the Respondent Steve Brundle, a Director of North Norfolk Ltd who are owners of the Dormy House Hotel, West Runton. Mrs Boyle was employed from September 2015 – February 2018, seemingly without issue, until Mr Brundle dismissed her stating that he had no further need for a chambermaid as he…
You may recall my post back in July of this year, detailing the case of Christian doctor David Mackereth, and his claims that his contract had been terminated due to his refusal to use transgender pronouns. By way of a very brief summary, when starting a new role as a contract worker at the DWP…
Everyone has a film they don’t usually admit to liking. For some people, it is Mamma Mia (no, not mine). For others, it might be a terrible James Bond film (Quantum of Solace anyone?) or something for the kids (Ice Age 3: Dawn of the Dinosaurs perhaps?) My film-related guilty pleasure is easy: 500 Days…
Hello and welcome to our first Employment Law Snippet article. These conversational articles aim to focus on one general topic and then have an interesting, non-jargon filled discussion on how that subject affects employees and employers alike.
The first topic is an interesting one: tattoos! You may be thinking “what on earth do tattoos have to do with employment law?” Well, not that much at present but that may start to change in the future.
Are tattoos that important a consideration within employment law? Well, to start, I regularly hear employment-related tales of friends of friends and, recently, I heard about a young woman in her twenties going to a job interview and all, initially at least, going very well with the interviewer. That is, until the interviewer noticed the small floral tattoo on her wrist (which barely poked out from underneath her small watch) and, from that moment, the interviewer appeared to ‘go off’ her, cut the interview short and, lo and behold, she didn’t get the job (which, for the record, wasn’t in a customer facing position).
A Christian doctor who was training to be a medical assessor for the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP) had his contract terminated due to his refusal to use ‘transgender pronouns’, he has claimed to the Birmingham Employment Tribunal.
Dr David Mackereth, who had 26 years’ experience as an NHS doctor, was asked to refer to patients in accordance with their chosen gender identification. However, he responded that he would have a problem with this as he believed that gender was defined by biology and genetics, telling the Tribunal that he would not refer to “any six-foot tall bearded man” as “madam”.
He states that he was suspended as a disability claims assessor in June 2018, and his contract subsequently terminated.
Japan’s Health and Labour Minister Takumi Nemoto has caused a stir this week after publicly defending workplace policies that require women to wear high heels to work. The Minister’s comments argued that such requirements were socially accepted as being both ‘necessary and appropriate’ and were made after a petition was filed against the practice.
The petition, submitted to the labour ministry on Tuesday, raises health and safety concerns regarding the requirement, labelling it sexist and outdated. The minister unfortunately did not sympathise with the plight – equating high heels with a level of femininity which is considered to be a social norm within Japanese culture.
Dubbed the ‘#kutoo’ movement, (stemming from a combination of the Japanese word for shoes ‘kutsu’, ‘kutsuu’ meaning pain, and also a nod to the popularised global ‘#metoo’ movement against sexual abuse), the petition continues to gain traction on the online platform Change.org which at the time of writing had received nearly 30,0000 signatures.
Another week, another *ahem* ‘naïve’ company running an event that actively stereotypes women… Whilst it can seem that regular stories about women being stereotyped in the workplace are almost the status quo, it is worth noting that the fact they are viewed as newsworthy (when, arguably, twenty years ago they wouldn’t be) is a positive in today’s modern society in terms of helping prevent future discrimination.
So, what’s happened this time? Well, a Russian company recently announced the
holding of a “femininity marathon” during this month. So far, so naive…
However, initiatives within the so-called femininity marathon include:
- Cash bonuses for wearing a dress or skirt “no
longer than 5 centimetres from the knee” upon them sending a picture of them wearing
the relevant clothing to the company; and
- A competition to see who is quickest at making
A nurse in Kent has lost a second appeal against
an Employment Tribunal decision that found she was fairly dismissed for ‘preaching’ to patients.
The Court of Appeal case, Kuteh v Dartford and Gravesham NHS Trust, considered the balance between the importance of the right to freedom of religion and the individual’s right to be protected from inappropriate or improper promotion of beliefs. In this case the complainants were hospital patients attended to by Ms Kuteh in the Intensive Treatment Unit of Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford. Ms Kuteh had 15 years’ nursing experience and prior to her dismissal she was employed in a pre-operative assessment role. Understandably, the nature of her role meant that the patients she attended were at a particularly vulnerable moment in their lives.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) have recently held an employee to hold ‘an implied right not to be dismissed’ when on long-term sick leave.
Naturally, this has caused many employees great concern
because long-term sickness absence, in itself, is usually fair reason to
consider dismissal. Whilst there can be
various factors at play, including any potential disability of the employee,
the principle of an individual having to be present at work to fulfil their job
role (and employment) remains.
So what happened in the recent case of ICTS (UK) Limited v Mr A Visram to cause such concern?
Well, let’s set the scene briefly, Mr Visram was
contractually entitled to sickness benefit payments (termed ‘Long Term
Disability Benefits’) during any period of continuous sickness absence from
employment whilst he remained an employee.
But, for various reasons, the insurer and employer didn’t wish to pay
them and, in doing so, Mr Visram was dismissed on grounds of sickness absence
and so ended his entitlement to contractual Long Term Disability Benefits payments
by the insurer (as the policy required his continued employment).