UK employment law update January 2017

Listed Under: News & Bulletins

Xmas Party Assault and is the Employer Liable 

With the Xmas season over some employers may be having to deal with the aftermath of the company Xmas party. It is often the case that employers can be held liable for the actions of employees at company arranged Xmas parties. However, in Belman v Northampton Recruitment Ltd the High Court determined that an assault following a company arranged festive party was not something the employer could be held liable for even though the assault was committed by the managing director. The judge in the case was of the view that as the incident occurred after the party had ended and those involved had returned to their hotel where they had continued a private drinking session the employer was not liable. There was insufficient connection at this point to the employment context. Editor's Note: This case may provide some assistance to employers caught in circumstances where inappropriate conduct has occurred before or after any company arranged Xmas event.

Is Stress a Disability 

It is not unusual for employees to claim they have stress and this amounts to a disability. The benefit to them is if they have a disability they have additional protections under the Equality Act 2010. In the case of Herry v Dudley Metropolitan Council the EAT determined that stress in itself without more was not a disability. The EAT upheld the tribunal decision the claimant had not shown his condition had a substantial adverse effect on his day to day activities. The judgment relied upon the distinction between a mental illness and a reaction to adverse life events. Given this, his condition of stress did not amount to a disability. Editor's Note: This decision is useful for employers when dealing with stress based claims.

Equality Pay Gap 

The Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017 have been published. The intention is they will become effective on 6.4.17. These regulations will apply to employers employing 250 or more employees. It should be noted the definition of employee is sufficiently wide to capture those who might be deemed workers and so increase the scope of employers caught by this legislation. The regulations place an obligation to report and publish relevant pay data by April 2018. Editor's Note: Employers employing 250 or more should start now to consider how they are going to comply with these regulations.

Statutory Leave Proposed Pay Increases 

The Government has announced the following proposed increases:

The weekly rate of SSP will increase to £89.35 from £88.45.
The weekly rate of statutory maternity pay, statutory paternity pay, and statutory adoption pay will increase to £140.98 from £139.58.

The proposed increases will take effect in April 2017


Please note this document provides very basic and general information and should not be read as legal advice. This is particularly so as each case hinges on its own merits.