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Case law: Employer’s unreasonable behaviour can affect ability to enforce post-termination restrictions

Employers seeking to enforce post-termination restrictions in employees’ contracts of employment should act proportionately, reasonably and fairly – or they will not be successful, a ruling makes clear.

An employer purported to change an employee’s contract of employment twice during her 10 years as an employee.… Read more

Posted on 28 September 2018 | 11:37 am

New guidance: Acas publishes new guidance on employment references

Employers will welcome new, online guidance from Acas, Employment References, setting out legal rules governing the giving of references about employees.

The guidance covers key issues such as:

  • Whether employers have to give a reference
  • What should be in a reference
  • When they can give a bad reference
  • Legal problems that can arise when giving a reference
  • How references and job offers interact

Note that the guidance does not cover the additional rules that must be followed by regulated firms in the UK, such as the Senior Managers and Certification Regime.… Read more

Posted on 28 September 2018 | 11:35 am

Case law: Unauthorised copying of another website’s content infringes copyright, says European Court

Webmasters should ensure that no images or other content on their websites have been taken from other sites without permission, as this amounts to copyright infringement.

A student in Germany used a photo taken from a travel website in a school project.… Read more

Posted on 28 September 2018 | 11:34 am

Case law: Parties to an agreement lose out because it was unclear who they were contracting with

A party to a legally binding agreement, however informal the circumstances, should ensure they know exactly who they are contracting with, otherwise they may be unable to recover compensation or pursue any other remedy if things go wrong, as a recent case shows.Read more

Posted on 28 September 2018 | 11:34 am

Case law: Independent contractor found to be an employee, so intellectual property rights in his work belonged to his client

Contractors required to carry out work personally for a business client should ensure they are genuinely working for the business as an independent contractor, not as an employee, or risk the intellectual property rights (IPR) in their work automatically belonging to their client.Read more

Posted on 28 September 2018 | 11:33 am

Case law: Court clarifies when will-maker has treated someone as a ‘child of the family’, and can claim against their estate

Neighbours, friends and others claiming they should have been remembered in someone’s will, because the will-maker considered them a ‘child of the family’, must show the will-maker had assumed the position of a parent to succeed in a claim. Merely using words such as ‘honorary daughter’ is not enough.Read more

Posted on 28 September 2018 | 11:31 am

New law: Employers can no longer automatically carry out criminal conviction checks on prospective employees

Employers should check if they may still automatically carry out blanket criminal conviction checks lawfully on prospective new employees, now that the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) and Data Protection Act 2018 are in force.

Such checks are no longer lawful unless there is an actual legal requirement to do so, such as a regulatory requirement under the rules of the Financial Conduct Authority, or they are allowed on some other basis, for instance, ‘legitimate interests’.… Read more

Posted on 28 September 2018 | 11:30 am

Case law: Lease case illustrates risks of not involving solicitor in drafting legal documents

Parties to commercial agreements, including leases, should ensure the contract documents and any amendments are drafted by a specialist professional, even in what may seem relatively low-value transactions, otherwise they risk potentially disastrous consequences, as a recent case makes clear.

A landlord sent a standard draft lease to a prospective tenant of an office unit.… Read more

Posted on 28 September 2018 | 11:29 am

Case law: Court gives guidance on which employee to dismiss when working relationships between employees break down

Employers will welcome a Court of Appeal decision which will help them decide which employee to dismiss in cases of major breakdown in working relationships between employees, where the behaviour of neither amounts to gross misconduct justifying summary dismissal – but the employees cannot work together.Read more

Posted on 28 September 2018 | 11:28 am

Case law: Trade mark objection less likely to be successful if consumer likely to pay ‘heightened attention’ when buying the relevant goods or services

Trade mark owners planning to object to another trader’s application to register an identical or similar trade mark should take into account whether the relevant goods or services are such that a consumer would pay ‘heightened attention’ when buying them, as this can reduce the likelihood of a successful objection.Read more

Posted on 28 September 2018 | 11:27 am

Case law: Employer rejects charity ‘bank worker’ claim that she is an employee and cannot be unfairly dismissed

Businesses and other organisations using ‘bank workers’ should ensure it is clear from the contracts entered into with them whether or not such workers are employees, to avoid the risk of unexpected claims – such as unfair dismissal.

A volunteer at a charity was sent a letter offering her paid work on a ‘bank basis’, ie that there were no guaranteed hours and the charity would call her up ‘as and when required’ and ‘if you are available’.… Read more

Posted on 28 September 2018 | 11:26 am

Case law: Successful appeal means employee treated as having never been dismissed – but beware inadvertent constructive dismissal

Employers should treat an employee who successfully appeals a dismissal under its contractual disciplinary procedures as having always remained in employment. However, they should take care not to do (or fail to do) anything during the appeal that could be treated as grounds for the employee to resign and claim constructive dismissal.Read more

Posted on 31 August 2018 | 11:38 am

Case law: Employers should consider part-time work for disabled employees returning from long-term sick leave

Employers deciding whether to dismiss a disabled employee who is on long-term sick leave should ensure they consider a part-time return to work, particularly where this is the advice of the employee’s GP and/or other medical professionals. If they don’t, they risk a disability discrimination claim, a recent ruling makes clear.Read more

Posted on 31 August 2018 | 11:37 am