Employment law stories in the news – 20.03.2016 to 26.03.2016

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 made headlines between 20 March 2017 and 26 March 2017

  1. NHS whistleblower protections ‘won’t allay fears’ – Government proposals to provide greater protection for whistleblowers in the health service will not prevent their ‘systematic victimisation’, a firm prominent for its human rights work has warned. London firm Bindmans said the Department of Health’s proposals, outlined in its Protecting whistleblowers seeking jobs in the NHS consultation, are nothing more than regulation ‘tweaks’ (The Law Society Gazette)
  2. Laing O’Rourke fined £800,000 after worker fatally crushed at Heathrow Airport – A construction firm has been sentenced following the death of Philip Griffiths at Heathrow Airport in October 2014. Southwark Crown Court heard that Philip’s brother Paul accidentally reversed into his 38-year-old sibling when the pair were trying to move a broken down scissor lift on a service road, while working for Laing O’Rourke (HSE)
  3. Supreme Court to hear union’s case against employment tribunal fees – The final stage of a campaign against controversial fees to take a case to an employment tribunal goes to the Supreme Court on Monday. Unison has been taking legal action since the introduction in 2013 of charges ranging from £390 to £1,200 (The Belfast Telegraph)
  4. Joanne Batham awarded £17,500 in sex discrimination hearing against High Wycombe-based Safeskys Ltd MD Richard Barber – An airfield worker dubbed the “witch up North” by her High Wycombe-based boss has won her case for sex discrimination at an industrial tribunal (The Bucks Free Press)
  5. Call for ‘decently paid’ maternity leave – Statutory maternity pay for UK mothers is among the worst in Europe, according to an analysis by the TUC. The trade union body says only Ireland and Slovakia have worse “decently paid” entitlements (BBC)
  6. Pret a Manger to pay work experience recruits after criticism of unpaid scheme – Pret a Manger has said it will now pay hundreds of teenagers it plans to hire this summer, after campaigners criticised the company for offering work experience roles for free food but no pay (The Guardian)
  7. FTSE CEOs ‘earn 386 times more than workers on national living wage’ – The average FTSE chief executive earns 386 times more than a worker on the national living wage, according to an analysis published by the Equality Trust as it steps up its campaign for new government rules to expose pay gaps (The Guardian)
  8. Electrical appliance company fined after worker’s death – Whirlpool UK Appliances Limited has today been fined after a self-employed contractor fell from a mobile elevated work platform (MEWP) and later died from his injuries. On 21 March 2015 the contractor had been working at a height of nearly five metres installing revised fire detection equipment, at the site of the former Indesit factory in Yate, near Bristol (HSE)
  9. Cycle courier wins holiday pay battle – An employment tribunal has ruled that a self-employed courier for the firm Excel was actually “a worker”. Cycle courier Andrew Boxer argued he was entitled to one week of holiday pay based on his work for Excel (BBC)
  10. Give workers more rights, prime minister will tell bosses – Firms that use self-employed workers to avoid paying sickness, pension and maternity benefits are facing a government crackdown. A review commissioned by Theresa May is expected to conclude later this year that a growing number of companies are abusing the law by taking on supposedly self-employed workers for jobs previously carried out by salaried staff (The Times)