Employment law stories in the news – 28.07.2014 to 03.08.2014

MoJIn the latest of our series of posts on employment law stories in the news this week, we take a look at ten employment law stories that have made the news between 28 July and 3 August 2014.

  1. Judge not entitled to rewrite restrictive covenant – In Prophet plc v Huggett the Court of Appeal has overturned a High Court judge’s decision to add words to a restrictive covenant which, on a literal interpretation, had originally offered no protection to the employer. Although the clause had been professionally drafted, the draftsman had not thought through the concept underlying his chosen words. In such circumstances, the judge was not entitled to recast the parties’ bargain (ELAweb)
  2. High Court delivers landmark ruling on staff poaching in broker row – The High Court has ruled against an employee who refused to serve his notice period after being hired by a rival firm. The landmark case was brought by derivatives trader Sunrise Brokers after Michael Rodgers walked out on the firm in March 2014 after accepting a post with a competing firm based in the US (CityWire)
  3. Illegal immigrant Mary Hounga can claim discrimination, says landmark Supreme Court ruling – Illegal immigrants are entitled to bring court actions against their employers for discrimination, the Supreme Court has said in a landmark judgment. Britain’s most senior court said a young Nigerian woman who was brought to this country to work illegally when she was just 14 is entitled to protection under the law (The Telegraph)
  4. Tribunal orders council to compensate workers offered cash to sign away rights – Bromley Council has been ordered to pay more than £64,000 in compensation to 18 of its staff, after an employment tribunal ruled it had offered employees cash incentives to sign new contracts that took them out of existing collective bargaining agreements (UNISON)
  5. Whistleblowers are ‘shockingly’ treated but have an important role to play in protecting the public, say MPs – Whistleblowers are far too often “shockingly treated” and UK Government departments have failed to stamp out a “bullying culture,” according to a cross-party group of MPs. Aberconwy MP Guto Bebb and Blaenau Gwent MP Nick Smith are among the members of the public accounts committee which applauds the “remarkable bravery” of members of staff who have the courage to come forward with their concerns (Wales Online)
  6. Solicitor was ‘employee’ and not partner, High Court rules – A solicitor has won a High Court battle to prove he was an employee and not a partner at a firm subject to legal action. The High Court (Chancery Division) ruled that Clive Prior, formerly head of the property department at London practice Needleman Treon, should not be included in a claim against the firm (The Law Society Gazette)
  7. FCA/PRA are dissuaded from financial incentives for whistleblowers – The UK’s Financial Conduct Authority and the Bank of England Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) are dissuaded by research findings (published today) over the wisdom of providing financial incentives to whistleblowers; however they will push for stronger measures to protect and support them (FTSE Global Markets)
  8. UBS Wins Case Over Firing of Drug Analyst in Front-Running Probe – A London judge said UBS AG (UBSN) had the right to fire a senior analyst who discussed rumors about a Sanofi drug with a friend at a hedge fund who may have bet against the company before publishing a report causing its shares to drop (Bloomberg BusinessWeek)
  9. Barrister’s avalanche of ‘vexatious’ race and sex claims sees him barred from ever taking legal action again – A barrister who failed in an unprecedented 30 “vexatious” employment tribunal claims over four years has been barred from ever bringing legal action again. John Iteshi, 40, qualified in 2007 but was unable to work as a barrister after failing to acquire a necessary training position known as a pupillage (The Evening Standard)
  10. Unfair dismissal cases plummet in the Midlands – Unfair dismissal claims have fallen by more than two-thirds in the Midlands in the year since sacked workers were ordered to pay up to £1,200 to fight for justice, a new survey reveals. The number of people taking their boss to an employment tribunal over unfair dismissal has fallen by 70 per cent across the region over the last year, according to new analysis published today by the TUC (The Birmingham Post)