Employment law stories in the news this week – 31.03.2014 to 06.04.2014

MoJIn the latest of our series of posts on employment tribunal stories in the news this week, we take a look at employment tribunal stories that have made the news between 31 March 2014 and 6 April 2014.

  1. Top PCSO fell seriously ill after battle with bosses over ‘coconut’ slur – An award-winning police worker had three heart attacks after she was disciplined for allegedly using the term ‘coconut’ about an Asian colleague. PCSO Shazia Awan, 42, fell seriously ill last month following a bitter dispute with her bosses over the allegation, which she strenuously denies (The Manchester Evening News)
  2. Financial penalties imposed on employers that breach employment rights – The Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 gives tribunals the power to levy a financial penalty against employers that are in breach of employment rights where the breach has one or more aggravating features. If the tribunal makes an award of compensation, the amount of the penalty will be 50% of the award (Personnel Today)
  3. Salford Council prosecuted after child loses fingertips in school gate – Salford City Council has been fined £20,000 after a six-year-old boy with autism and learning difficulties lost the tips of three fingers when his hand was trapped in a school gate. The child was a pupil at Springwood Special Educational Needs Primary School on Barton Road in Swinton when the incident happened on 23 October 2012 (HSE)
  4. Employment Tribunal compensation limits set to increase on 6 April 2014 – At the end of February, the Government published the Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2014 SI 2014/382 increasing, with effect from 6 April 2014, the maximum week’s pay for statutory redundancy pay from £450 to £464 and the cap on compensation for unfair dismissal from £74,200 to £76,574 (subject to the overall cap of one year’s pay) (ELAweb)
  5. New ACAS early conciliation scheme – From 6 April 2014, a new system of pre-claim conciliation will be in place for all employment tribunal claims. There will be a transitional (voluntary) period between 6 April 2014 and 5 May 2014 and the system will then be mandatory for all claims presented on or after 6 May 2014 (The Lawyer)
  6. UNISON announces appeal over employment tribunal fees – UNISON has today announced that it will apply to the Court of Appeal for permission to appeal the High Court’s ruling rejecting its claim for Judicial Review of the Government’s decision to introduce tribunal fees (UNISON)
  7. Ex-parking boss loses racism claim against Dundee City Council – A Ghana-born former employee of Dundee City Council was not subject to racial harassment by being called “Jimmy Manyana” by colleagues. An employment tribunal has rejected the claim of James Owusu, former parking services team leader, who was sacked for gross misconduct in 2012 (The Courier)
  8. Morrisons ‘denied Muslim couple Ramadan break’, employment tribunal told – Supermarket chain Morrisons unfairly denied a Muslim couple holidays during the holy month of Ramadan, it has been claimed. Donna Tunkara, 32, and her husband Yassin, 31, from Linthorpe, Middlesbrough, worked for eight years at the firm’s warehouse in Stockton (BBC)
  9. 999 ambulance call handler who sued bosses over hot-desking could take his legal fight to Europe – A 999 operator who sued his bosses because he was not allowed his own desk is considering taking his legal fight to Europe – after top judges threw out his case (The Manchester Evening News)
  10. TUC highlights UK’s pay blackspots where half get less than living wage – Nearly half the jobs in parts of Britain pay less than the living wage, the TUC has said, as it steps up its campaign on Tuesday for workers to earn enough to cover the basic costs of living (The Guardian)