If you are being docked money for being late for work you should read this

Paying the National Minimum Wage (NMW) is a strict legal requirement and employers that fail to do so can be hit with punitive penalties. In one case, an employment agency that laid on thousands of underpaid workers at a warehouse received a six-figure fine.

Following an investigation by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), it emerged that workers who clocked on one minute late to work were docked a full quarter of an hour. After clocking off at the end of their shifts, they were also required to queue for an average of 11 minutes for security checks.

The agency accepted that, as a result of those unpaid periods, workers had not received the NMW. To make up the difference, it paid almost £470,000 to affected workers. It was also required to pay a total of £263,628 in respect of 13 penalty notices raised by HMRC. It was, however, permitted to pay half the penalties – £131,814 – because it remitted the sum promptly, within 14 days.

After the agency appealed against the penalties to an Employment Tribunal (ET), HMRC acknowledged that the notices were defective in that they did not include certain information, particularly the names of individual workers concerned and the amounts by which they had been underpaid.

In dismissing the agency’s appeal, however, the ET found that the notices were nevertheless valid. The agency knew precisely the figures on which the notices were based, did not dispute that workers had been underpaid and had agreed how much was owed to them. The penalties were designed to have a deterrent effect on others and HMRC had been entitled to issue multiple notices.

Top Employment Lawyer

Have you been discriminated in the workplace and are seeking advice from a top employment lawyer in London? Damian McCarthy is a top employment lawyer with over 20 years of experience, dealing with cases of all sizes and providing an extremely high standard of service. So if you need a top employment lawyer in London to fight your case against discrimination, contact Damian McCarthy.

The Equality Act 2010 provides protection for employees if they are suffering from discrimination in the workplace. This is usually due to an individual having a ‘protected characteristic’, whether it be their gender, race or sexual orientation. As an experienced, top employment lawyer, Damian McCarthy can represent you if you have suffered from discrimination, whistleblowing, unfair dismissal, bullying or harassment. If you have been discriminated and would like a top employment lawyer to get the justice you deserve, then visit our ‘Discrimination at Work’ page to find out more.

With over 20 years of experience in the employment law industry, Damian has dealt with many high-profile cases, working hard to achieve the outcome that was deserved. Damian is fully committed to each and every case and will always strive to achieve the best possible outcome.

Damian can adapt his approach to the case that he’s serving, whether it be an aggressive or charming approach. One of Damian’s most recognised cases was when he represented the television presenter Moira Stuart, against the BBC, for the case regarding her dismissal due to age discrimination. He achieved outstanding results in this case and went on to receive nationwide attention from the media.

If you are seeking a top employment lawyer, Damian McCarthy is the lawyer you can trust. For more information, call Damian on 020 8263 6080 or fill in the form on our Contact page. Just enter all necessary information into the mandatory fields and he’ll look to get back to you as soon as possible.

Your employer must inform you if they want to monitor emails and messages

Workers have a right to respect for privacy in the workplace, and if an employer is going to monitor their emails and messages, the employer should (exceptional reasons aside) tell the worker that their communications might be monitored. Here, although the employee knew it was forbidden to use work computers for personal purposes, he had not been told that the employer was monitoring his communications.

Accordingly the ECHR held that the Romanian court’s decision was wrong, and that Romanian law failed to strike a fair balance between the employer’s and the employee’s interests. Accordingly there was a breach of Article 8 and the employee was entitled to compensation.

So your employer must tell you if they are monitoring your emails and messages.

Breaching Your Employer’s Confidentiality Can Lead to Imprisonment

Sharing confidential information with those outside their workplace can have serious consequences for employees, but many will be surprised to learn from one High Court case that such behaviour can even lead to imprisonment (OCS Group UK Limited v Dadi and Others).

The case concerned a cleaning company that had lost a major contract to a rival. As a result, many of those who had serviced the contract on behalf of the company had their employment transferred to the competitor under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006.

The company was also competing with its rival in respect of other contracts and was concerned that its former employees might divulge confidential information to their new employer. It launched proceedings against one of its former workers, Jagdeep Dadi, on the basis that disclosures of price-sensitive information that he had made to his new employer breached the confidentiality provisions of his contract and the fiduciary duties that he owed to the company.

Mr Dadi did not defend the proceedings and a default judgment was entered against him. An injunction was issued that forbade him from disclosing further confidential information. He was also ordered not to disclose the existence of the order to anyone else and to preserve any relevant hard copy or electronic documents in his possession.

Almost immediately after being served with the injunction, however, Mr Dadi informed a member of the competitor’s management of the order. He also told others about it and deleted numerous messages from his email account. In those circumstances, he admitted four breaches of the order.

Mr Dadi explained that, on receipt of the injunction, he had panicked and phoned his manager, whom he trusted. He did not read the order carefully, nor did he seek legal advice immediately. He was not a criminal but had made a terrible error of judgment. Imprisonment would have a calamitous impact on his family, health and reputation and would gravely damage his prospects of finding work in the future.

In sentencing him to six weeks in prison, however, the Court noted that appropriate punishment was required to mark his deliberate breaches of the order. He had no one to blame but himself and, as the deleted emails were probably irrecoverable, the breaches had had a significant effect on the company. He had expressed remorse and thrown himself on the mercy of the Court, but the sentence was necessary to deter others from similar conduct.

Employment Tribunals allow litigation friends

It has for a very long time been possible for vulnerable people to be represented in court by litigation friends so that they can have proper access to justice. Now, in a decision of general public importance, that right has for the first time been extended to proceedings before an Employment Tribunal (ET).

The case concerned a woman who had succeeded in automatic unfair dismissal and whistleblowing claims against her former employer. There was medical evidence that she suffered from post traumatic stress disorder and a moderate depressive illness, triggered by traumatic experiences that she had endured during her employment.

A further hearing was due to take place before an ET at which the amount of her compensation would be assessed. Her lawyers argued that, due to her psychiatric problems, she lacked the capacity to conduct the proceedings. The ET, however, refused to appoint a litigation friend on the basis that it had no power to do so.

In ruling upon her challenge to that decision, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) noted that neither the Employment Tribunals Act 1996 nor the Employment Tribunals (Constitution and Rules of Procedure) Regulations 2013 conferred any express power to appoint litigation friends.

However, in allowing the woman’s appeal, the EAT found that the absence of such a power was incompatible with the common law duty of fairness and the woman’s human right to a fair hearing. Without a litigation friend, the woman and other vulnerable litigants in the same position would be prevented from participating in employment proceedings in any real sense.

The EAT recognised that ETs are creatures of statute and can exercise only those powers that are conferred on them by Parliament. However, when interpreted in accordance with fairness and human rights legislation, it found that the Regulations were broad enough to enable ETs to use their case management powers to appoint litigation friends. The case was remitted to the same ET for that to be done.

Because the case had raised novel issues of general public importance, the EAT had taken into account representations from the Law Society and the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy in reaching its decision.

Employment Tribunals ensure everyone has a fair hearing.

Employment Tribunals (ETs) are at the forefront of the battle to eradicate discrimination in all its forms from the workplace. It is obviously vital that they practice what they preach and that is all the more reason why they are anxious to ensure that even the most vulnerable complainants receive a fair hearing.

One case in point concerned an academic who suffered from severe mental health difficulties and claimed that he had endured disability discrimination, victimisation and unfair dismissal at the hands of a university. His complaints were dismissed by an ET, but he challenged that decision before the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) on the basis that he had not been afforded a fair hearing.

He submitted that the ET should have taken it upon itself to postpone or adjourn the proceedings, in which he represented himself, when the extent of his mental health difficulties became apparent. He had broken down under cross-examination and, although he had been willing to continue, the ET had acceded to the university’s request to cut short the hearing and move straight to closing submissions.

In rejecting his appeal, however, the EAT noted that he had been aware of his right to seek a postponement or adjournment of the hearing, but had not done so. The ET had made appropriate adjustments to enable him to fully participate in the case until he broke down. The decision to bring his cross-examination to a premature end had if anything disadvantaged the university. He had still been able to present his case and, viewed overall, the hearing had been a fair one.

Human Rights Act vs Employment Law the debate goes on.

The impact of the UK’s human rights obligations on employment law is still a subject of much debate almost 20 years after the advent of the Human Rights Act 1998. In one important case, the Court of Appeal upheld a trade union’s plea that the right to freedom of association may be violated by the exclusion of parks police officers from pre-redundancy consultation rights that are afforded to other workers.

The case arose from a local authority’s decision to disband its parks police service. Two officers who lost their jobs as a result lodged complaints of unfair dismissal with an Employment Tribunal (ET). Their trade union also sought a protective award in respect of the council’s alleged failure to carry out collective consultation prior to the making of more than 20 redundancies, as required by Section 188 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (TULRCA).

Both claims were permitted to proceed to a full hearing by the ET, but that decision was subsequently reversed by the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT). In respect of the officers’ claims, the EAT noted that those persons in police service are precluded from bringing unfair dismissal claims by Section 200 of the Employment Rights Act 1996. The union’s claim was excluded by Section 280 of TULRCA.

The Court had no enthusiasm in rejecting the officers’ appeals on the basis that their dismissals did not engage Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights – which enshrines the right to privacy – whether read by itself or in conjunction with Article 14, which bans discrimination. In urging the Government to review the law on the point, the Court noted that the exclusion of parks police from unfair dismissal protection was anomalous and an apparent injustice.

In upholding the union’s appeal, however, the Court found that the right to collective consultation conferred by TULRCA fell fairly and squarely within the ambit of Article 11 of the Convention, which guarantees freedom of association and peaceful assembly. The union’s claim for a protective award was thus not excluded and its case was sent back to the ET for full consideration on its merits.

Employment Tribunal Fees Struck Down by Supreme Court

In a resounding decision that emphasised the right of everyone to have affordable access to the justice system, the much criticised fees levied on complainants by the Employment Tribunals and the Employment Appeal Tribunal have been struck down as unlawful by the Supreme Court.

The fees  which range from £390 for straightforward cases to £1,200 for more complex ones have been a source of great controversy since their introduction in 2013. Trade union Unison mounted an unsuccessful judicial review challenge to them but has now triumphed in its appeal.

The Court found that the fees are unlawful, both under domestic and European law, in that they prevent access to justice. That was a constitutional right inherent in the rule of law and tribunals could not be viewed merely as providing a service of value to those who bring claims before them.

The fees charged in less complex cases bore no relationship to the amounts sought and therefore acted as a deterrent to claims for modest sums or non-monetary relief. Many such claims could be regarded as futile or irrational in that the fees exceeded the sums claimed. The introduction of the fees had led to a dramatic and sustained fall in the number of claims, particularly low-value claims, and they were the most frequently cited reason for not submitting a claim.

The Court noted that, in many cases, those on low or middle incomes could only pay the fees by making sacrifices and foregoing a reasonable standard of living. In those circumstances, they could not be regarded as affordable. The fees also contravened EU law guarantees of an effective remedy before a tribunal and imposed disproportionate limitations on the enforcement of EU employment rights.

The fees were also indirectly discriminatory, within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010, because the higher fees for more complex claims put women at a particular disadvantage. The evidence showed that a higher proportion of women than men brought such claims. The higher fees did not correspond to a higher workload being placed on tribunals and acted as an equal deterrent to unmeritorious and meritorious claims.

The Ministry of Justice has said that the Government will take immediate steps to stop charging ET fees and refund payments made since 2013.

public interest

Employment law firms in London

Have you suffered from discrimination in the workplace and seeking advice from suitable employment law firms in London? Look no further because Damien McCarthy are the employment law specialists that can help. With up to 20 years of valuable experience in dealing with cases of all sizes, we always provide an extremely high standard of service and pride ourselves on our superb record in representing our clients.

Looking at employment firms in London and choosing the right one can be a difficult task, as we know. The first and most important step on the road to justice is appointing the right lawyer. Many people fall at this first hurdle and will end up spending far too much money on someone who simply is not passionate about winning your case and lacks the experience to do so. If for one reason or another we cannot represent you then we will always point you in the direction of reliable and professional employment law firms in London.

Seeking employment law firms in London can be the result of a wide range of issues that you have experienced in the workplace such as whistle-blowing, discrimination, unfair dismissal, stress, bullying or harassment of any form. If you are looking for employment law firms in London who will value your interests above all else and will be totally committed to your case, then we are the employment law firm in London for you.

Our lawyers have been hired by some of the biggest law firms in the UK to represent their clients and within our 20 years of experience we have established a reputation as a tough, yet effective employment law advocate. Damien McCarthy are an honest law firm, and we mean it when we say that our sole concerns are your best interests rather than ours. We will prove that from our initial consultation through to the end result.  

We aim to give you peace of mind at all stages of your claim no matter what the complexity.  With our successful record and cost-effective service, Damien McCarthy will have your back from start to finish. Unlike other employment law firms in London we pride ourselves on the fact that we achieve results, particularly in some very difficult cases.

If you are seeking employment law firms in London, Damien McCarthy are the only highly experienced professionals whom you need to contact. For more information or to speak to a member of our team at Damien McCarthy please call: 020 8263 6080.

Employment law experts

Have you been discriminated at work or recently dismissed unfairly? Damian McCarthy are the employment law experts that can help. Specialising in complex cases to do with discrimination, dismissal claims, bullying and harassment claims, Damien McCarthy are the only highly experienced employment law experts that you need to help with your case.

With many years of experience, and having dealt with a wide range of high profile cases, we are well-known for being employment law experts and always manage to achieve outstanding results. We rely on a client focused approach and find this helps us always achieve the outcome our clients are seeking. The best employment lawyers should have at least 10 years experience within the industry, as well as having actually represented clients and acted as an advocate. Damien McCarthy offer their clients all of this and more, ensuring that you will be getting the highest standard of service from employment law experts. One of our most recognised cases was when we represented Moira Stuart against the BBC for her claim against being dismissed due to age discrimination. We achieved outstanding results and went on to receive nationwide media attention.

If you have been suffering from discriminatory behaviour and looking for employment law experts that can help you with legal advice and represent you, Damien McCarthy are the employment law professionals that can help. Discriminatory behaviour can be expressed in all different types of forms such as workplace stress, sexual harassment, racial harassment or physical bullying. It is the duty of the employers to ensure that their staff are not experiencing any discrimination in the workplace.

Damien McCarthy are the employment law experts with up to 20 years of handling employment law cases, many of which have been high profile cases. We are fully committed to each and every different case and always strive to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients. What makes Damien McCarthy unique is our passion towards getting people justice. If we can represent you then we will, if not we will be more than happy to help you obtain funding or by point you in the right direction to another specialist lawyer who will be more suited to your case.

If you are in need of advice from employment law experts then we are only professionals you need to contact. For more information or to speak to a member of our team at Damien McCarthy please call: 020 8263 6080.