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Employment Case Law Update: 2020 Watch List

We look at some of the key cases in 2020 that may bring wide-ranging implications for UK employers.

 

Casamitjana v League Against Cruel Sports

The Claimant brought a claim against his former employer (The League Against Cruel Sports), an animal welfare charity. The Claimant alleged that his employment was terminated because he had disclosed to colleagues that the employer’s pension fund invested in firms that were involved in animal testing. He stated that this conduct went against his vegan beliefs in avoiding cruelty to animals and this was discriminatory.

The Claimant successfully argued that his ethical veganism was no different to those who held religious beliefs. For example, he avoided sitting on leather seats and he chose to walk instead of taking public transport to avoid accidental collisions with insects and birds.

Establishing the eligibility of protection was the first part of the test and the second is now establishing the lawfulness of the dismissal. At the time of publishing, the hearing date is yet to be listed.

 

Various Claimants v Wm Morrisons Supermarket

In January 2014, a former employee copied personal data, then proceeded to post the data on a file-sharing website and then moved to notify the local newspapers that there had been a data breach. He was sentenced to 8 years imprisonment. The Respondent was found to be vicariously liable by the Court of Appeal.

The Respondent appealed to the Supreme Court. The hearing date is still to be listed but is expected to be in 2020.

 

Uber BV and others v Aslam

The ET’s decision in October 2017saw Uber drivers being awarded worker status, which meant that as they were now workers. They were entitled to receive basic worker rights such as the National Minimum Wage (NMW) and paid annual leave. Uber appealed the decision and the EAT agreed with the ET and dismissed the appeal.

Uber appealed to the CoA and this was dismissed, but the CoA gave Uber the permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. To date, Uber continues to argue that their drivers are self-employed as the Uber app is providing a booking and payment service as an agent for the drivers and that the contract is between the driver and the end user (customer).

The matter is due to be heard in the Supreme Court in July 2020.

 

Royal Mencorp Society v Tomlinson-Blake

This case relates to care workers and whether employees on sleep-in shifts are engaged in ‘time work’ for the duration of the shift, or whether they are only available for work rather than actually working.

The EAT held that the care workers were only available for work during the shift rather than actually working. As a result, they were only allowed National Minimum Wage when they were awake for the purposes of working.

The case is due to be heard in February 2020. The distinction is quite important as this could have huge implications for employers who could potentially face claims for back-pay.

 

Employer solutions 

As a team of employer solutions lawyers, our employment law experts are on hand to answer any questions you may have about the implications of these tribunal decisions, and any other case law, on your business. For specialist employment law advice speak to us.

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