Employment law stories in the news – 23.06.2014 to 29.06.2014

MoJIn the latest of our series of posts on employment law stories in the news this week, we take a look at ten stories relating to employment law that have made the news between 23 June and 29 June 2014.

  1. Flexible working extended to all employees in UK – Millions of employees will have the right to request flexible working from Monday under new measures the government believes will particularly benefit older people. The right has only been available for carers, or people who look after children, but is being extended to all employees (The Guardian)
  2. Christie hospital in secret talks ahead of £300,000 court battle over ‘bullying case’ – Secret talks are taking place to settle a £300,000 damages claim for bullying against The Christie out of court, the M.E.N can reveal. A former director of the world-renowned cancer treatment centre in Withington is suing the hospital after claims she was held in a room and threatened (The Manchester Evening News)
  3. Receptionist ‘was hit and called black slave and dog by Qatari Embassy official’ – A British receptionist was allegedly called a “black slave” and hit by a senior official at the Qatari Embassy in London in a sustained campaign of racial bullying. Mohamoud Ahmed, 73, was employed at the gas-rich Gulf state’s embassy in Mayfair for almost 20 years and also acted as a security guard (The Evening Standard)
  4. Government will not legislate to protect whistleblowing partners – Legislation to protect partners under whistleblowing laws is ‘unnecessary’ following the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling last month, the government said today (The Law Society Gazette)
  5. Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill published – The Government has now published the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill. The Bill is intended to, among other things, ban exclusivity clauses in zero-hours contracts and ‘increase the efficiency of the employment tribunals system and further reduce its burden on small businesses’ (ELAweb)
  6. Ministers order inquiry into NHS whistleblowing – A culture of fear in the NHS may be worse than it was thought, the head of the Mid Staffs inquiry has warned, as a list of hospitals with a “poor” rating for honesty about safety is published. Ministers have appointed Sir Robert Francis QC to lead an independent inquiry into whistleblowing in the NHS (The Telegraph)
  7. Vince Cable moves to ban zero-hours contract exclusivity clauses – Vince Cable has warned “unscrupulous employers” that he would ban clauses in zero-hours contracts that prevent workers from accepting shifts with more than one employer. The business secretary said legislation to be introduced Wednesday would give more flexibility to workers currently forced by draconian contracts to work for a single employer even when they get few paid hours (The Guardian)
  8. Age discrimination claims cost parking firm £700,000 – In Wright and others v Purple Parking Ltd, an employer that dismissed drivers over 67 after claiming its insurance provider would not insure them has admitted liability for age discrimination and unfair dismissal midway through the drivers’ case and has been ordered to pay more than £700,000 to 20 drivers (Xpert HR)
  9. Bus operator sentenced over death of young employee – Regional bus operator West Midlands Travel was today fined £150,000 after an employee died when he was crushed between two buses. Lee Baker, a 24-year-old assistant mechanic, was working a night shift at the company’s depot in Carl Street, Walsall, when the incident happened in the early hours of Saturday 22 October 2011 (HSE)
  10. Workers ‘denied justice’ as tribunal numbers collapse – Lawyers and unions have voiced fears over access to justice for ­thousands of workers after figures showed the number of employment tribunals has dropped by more than two-thirds since the controversial introduction of fees for launching a case (Herald Scotland)