Employment Law Update: Employer Restrained from ‘Firing and Rehiring’, Dismissal for Raising Frivolous Grievances, and Employment Status of Taxi Driver

Tesco Restrained From ‘Firing and Rehiring’ Employees

In USDAW and ors v Tesco Stores Ltd [2022] EWHC 201 (QB), the High Court (HC) granted an injunction to restrain U.K. supermarket giant, Tesco, from ‘firing and rehiring’ employees who did not agree to the removal of a permanent right to a benefit.

This decision is significant as it offers a potential new legal remedy for employees whose employers are looking to ‘fire and rehire’ them in order to remove a permanent entitlement. The practice of ‘fire and rehire’ was already controversial and under increasing scrutiny prior to this decision, and it will be interesting to see the extent to which employers will try to deploy it in the future.

Continue reading “Employment Law Update: Employer Restrained from ‘Firing and Rehiring’, Dismissal for Raising Frivolous Grievances, and Employment Status of Taxi Driver”

U.K. Employment Tribunal Decisions: When Employees Refuse to Attend the Workplace for Fear of COVID-19

Recent Employment Tribunal (ET) decisions have shed light on the risks that can arise for employers where employees refuse to attend the workplace because of COVID-19 concerns. We consider below how ETs have dealt with claims of discrimination and automatic unfair dismissal related to COVID-19.

Discrimination

In X v. Y (ET 241947/2020), an employer withheld an employee’s wages after she refused to attend the workplace due to her fear that she would contract COVID-19 and pass it on to her vulnerable husband. The employee brought a claim for unlawful discrimination arguing that her opinion regarding the risk of COVID-19 and the need to protect herself amounted to a philosophical belief that was capable of constituting a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010. The ET disagreed. It found that the employee’s view was not a philosophical belief protected under the Equality Act 2010 but “a widely held opinion based on the present state of information” and a “reaction to a threat of physical harm”. Her claim therefore failed.

Continue reading “U.K. Employment Tribunal Decisions: When Employees Refuse to Attend the Workplace for Fear of COVID-19”

U.K. Employment Law Update: Impact of Lack of Appeal on Fairness of Redundancy Process, Dismissal for Assertion of a Statutory Right, and Dismissal of Whistleblower

Was a Redundancy Dismissal Unfair Because of Lack of Appeal?

In Gwynedd Council v (1) Barratt (2) Hughes [2021] EWCA Civ 1322, the Court of Appeal (CA) considered whether an employer’s failure to give an employee an opportunity to appeal against the decision to dismiss them for redundancy rendered the dismissal unfair.

The claimants were teachers who were dismissed for redundancy as a result of the closure of the school at which they taught. They brought a claim for unfair dismissal, arguing that the redundancy process had been unfair, in part because they were not given an opportunity to appeal their dismissal.

Continue reading “U.K. Employment Law Update: Impact of Lack of Appeal on Fairness of Redundancy Process, Dismissal for Assertion of a Statutory Right, and Dismissal of Whistleblower”

Can U.K. Employers Make COVID-19 Vaccinations Mandatory?

With the arrival of a new year and a promising COVID-19 vaccine, many U.K. employers have expressed renewed interest in returning to the workplace. But those hoping a mandatory vaccination policy will serve as a silver bullet to reopening plans should proceed with caution. Whilst there may be certain settings in which such a policy is reasonable, pursuing it could trigger a number of legal implications.

Continue reading “Can U.K. Employers Make COVID-19 Vaccinations Mandatory?”

CDC: All Air Passengers Traveling From the U.K. to the U.S. Must Have Proof of a Negative COVID-19 Test

In a bid to help contain the new coronavirus strain found in the U.K., the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued an order requiring proof of a pre-departure, negative COVID-19 test result for all airline passengers — including U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents — traveling from the U.K. to the U.S. The order officially went into effect on December 27, 2020.

For the full alert, visit the Faegre Drinker website.

UK Government Extends Furlough Scheme

As England experiences a second lockdown, the UK Government has announced an extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (also known as the furlough scheme) to protect businesses and employees as the pandemic continues to adversely impact the economy. Additionally, new regulations have come into force in England which oblige employers to ensure their employees are complying with any requirement to self-isolate.

Continue reading “UK Government Extends Furlough Scheme”