A number of significant employment law decisions will be made this year that could impact UK employers and workers.
Here are a few to watch out for:
The Uber case was a significant employment tribunal case last year that received a lot of media coverage. The tribunal found in favour of the drivers who claimed to be workers (rather than self-employed). The drivers should therefore receive the minimum wage and paid holiday. This case has challenged the employment status of individuals working for companies in non-traditional ways. It’s expected to proceed to the Employment Appeal Tribunal this year.
Supermarket Asda faces a large equal pay claim from shopfloor employees (mostly female) who want to compare their pay to male colleagues at Asda’s distribution centres. This case could be one of the largest equal pay claims against an employer in the private sector.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal decided that any matters that could affect the operation of a commission scheme applied to more than 100 managers in a large firm of estate agents could be regarded as being “in the public interest”. The Court of Appeal is yet to decide on whether the EAT’s interpretation in the Chesterton case of the phrase ‘in the public interest’ is accurate. It’s due to be heard in June 2017.
Employment tribunal fees
Since July 2013, workers making an employment tribunal claim pay an initial fee then an additional fee when the claim reaches court. They also face further charges if they wish to appeal decisions reached by the tribunal. Unison tried to have the fees ruled as unlawful due to claimants struggling to pay the high fees. The Court of Appeal rejected the case due to lack of evidence. Unison has since appealed and the case will go to the Supreme Court in March 2017.
Last year the Court of Appeal confirmed that the Working Time Regulations can be read so that regular commission should be included in holiday pay. With 1,000 related cases from workers on the horizon, British Gas could appeal to the Supreme Court this year. Other employers are also likely to face claims from their sales staff over holiday pay. No date has yet been set for the Supreme Court hearing, which could be fast-tracked due to the serious financial implications for UK employers.