Employment law stories in the news – 03.06.2019 to 09.06.2019

In the latest of our series of posts on employment law stories in the news, we take a look at ten employment law stories that have made headlines between 3 June 2019 and 9 June 2019

  1. University of Southampton is forced to pay £2.5million to economist who claims he was discriminated against for being German and Christian because bosses failed to turn up to defend the case – A leading economist won a £2.5million payout after accusing his university of discriminating against him for being German and Christian. Judge Mark Emerton, who presided over the case, said he had to award the maximum sum because officials at Southampton did not counter Richard Werner’s claims (Mail Online)
  2. Police officers win £42,500 in sex discrimination tribunal against GMP after being accused of making up lies about Wigan inspector – Two senior female police officers, who were accused of making false statements against a former Wigan inspector, have been awarded thousands of pounds at an employment tribunal. Supt Jane Higham and former Det Insp Laura Escott have won £42,500 in total, following claims of sex discrimination against GMP’s Chief Constable (Wigan Today)
  3. Rise in women being handed gagging orders when returning from maternity leave – The past year has seen a sharp increase in the number of women reporting workplace discrimination when returning from maternity leave, figures suggest. Despite being protected from unfair treatment under The Equality Act 2010, many employers could be flouting the law, a report by Direct Line has found (The Mirror)
  4. Supreme Court to hear ‘judges are workers’ case – A judge who is seeking a clarification in the law to recognise judges as workers will make her case at the Supreme Court this week. In 2015 an employment tribunal ruled that judge Claire Gilham could not succeed in her claim for whistleblowing detriment against Warrington County Court because judges are not considered workers under the Employment Rights Act 1996 (Personnel Today)
  5. Tribunal verdict quashed after judge fell asleep twice during proceedings – A judge who repeatedly fell asleep during a case has prompted an appeal court to overturn his verdict. Judge Paul Stewart, who sits at The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), “fell fully asleep not once but twice” while a claimant suing the Science Museum Group (SMG) was being cross-examined (The Telegraph)
  6. Freelance wins £8,000 holiday pay at tribunal against former Scotsman publisher – A freelance journalist has won more than £8,000 in holiday pay after a tribunal ruling against the former publisher of the Scotsman, Edinburgh Evening News and Scotland on Sunday (Press Gazette)
  7. Network Rail fairly sacked employee for hitting car with Whyteleafe level crossing barrier, tribunal finds – A man who was dismissed from his job at Network Rail for deliberately hitting a car with a level crossing barrier was fairly sacked, a tribunal has ruled. Mr A Mackay was dismissed on January 12, 2018 for gross misconduct following an investigation into an incident at Whyteleafe level crossing on December 5, 2017 (Get Surrey)
  8. Ukip chief of staff in sacking row as nobody admits being his boss – A bizarre legal case in which no-one admits to having been the employer of the former Ukip chief of staff at the National Assembly has heard that if nobody acknowledges they sacked him he must be entitled to a year’s back pay (Wales Online)
  9. ‘Hypocrite’ vicar sacked after preaching about marriage while bad-mouthing wife – A vicar accused of being a ‘hypocrite’ has been sacked after bad-mouthing his wife to worshippers when she ended their marriage, despite preaching on the virtues of wedlock. Reverend Jonathan Gould, 61, told parishioners from his London church not to speak to his partner after she ended their relationship, a tribunal was told (The Mirror)
  10. Principal contractor fined more than £800,000 after worker hit by a heavy expanded polystyrene block – A construction company has been fined more than £800,000 after a worker suffered three fractured vertebrae when he was hit on the head by a large expanded polystyrene block when it slipped from an excavator bucket (HSE)