Health & Safety and Employment Law News Round Up 08/01/2014

08 January 2014

 

Employment Law

  • Financial penalties imposed on employers that breach employment rights

Tribunals have been given the power to hand out financial penalties by the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (which comes into effect April 2014) against employers that are in breach of employment rights. The breech of employment rights has to have more than one aggravating factor to warrant the penalty.

Employment Law Financial penalties imposed on employers that breach employment rights Tribunals have been given the power to hand out financial penalties by the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act 2013 (which comes into effect April 2014) against employers that are in breach of employment rights. The breech of employment rights has to have more than one aggravating factor to warrant the penalty. If an employment tribunal results in the employer having to award compensation the accompanying penalty is 50% of the compensation award. The minimum amount a penalty can be is £100 and the maximum is £5000. The amount payable can be reduced by 50% if paid within 21 days.

The breech of employment rights has to have more than one aggravating factor to warrant the penalty. If an employment tribunal results in the employer having to award compensation the accompanying penalty is 50% of the compensation award. The minimum amount a penalty can be is £100 and the maximum is £5000. The amount payable can be reduced by 50% if paid within 21 days.

  • Employment tribunal claims fall by more than half after fee introduction

Tribunal fees were introduced by the ministry of Justice this summer and claims of unfair dismissal and other such cases against employers have dropped since the introduction. Although the drop in cases against employers is significant (as much as 55%) it is partially down to the surge in cases launched before the fees came in.

For a claimant to launch a claim they must now pay an initial £160 plus £230 for a basic tribunal hearing. If more serious cases such as unfair dismissal, sexual or racial discrimination within the workplace are to be launched by the claimant they must pay an initial £250 to do so and an additional £950 for a hearing.

The figures for the third quarter of 2013 (39,514 in July-September) display an 11% drop from the second quarter (44,335 in April to June). On comparing the figures like for like with the previous year a 17% drop is visible.

Health and Safety

  • Government issues health and safety myth warning

The government want to stop people from ruining Christmas by using bogus health and safety excuses for their own advantage and have urged the public to “shop a scrooge”. Notable complaints include a passenger being told that they could not be served gluten free hot chocolate by a heritage train company and a Christmas crafts fair charging an entry fee, with health and safety being bogusly cited in both cases.

The Health and Safety Executive have set up a myth busters panel and chairwoman Judith Hackitt said: “As with any other time of year, we would urge those hiding behind health and safety as an excuse for an unpopular decision, to come clean and state the real reason.”

  • SNP councillors ordered to remove flag of Scotland from their office due to health and safety regulations.

Members of the nationalist party had the flag on display at their main office at Renfrewshire Councils HQ in Cotton Street, Paisley and were angered at the request to remove it from the window where it was being displayed.

Brian Lawson who is a councillor and group leader for the SNP received an email from David Martin (chief executive of the council) requesting that the flag was taken down. Mr Lawson replied that he would not be taking the flag down and told the chief exec that he must take it down himself, coming in the next morning to find the flag on his desk and no longer in the window.

Deputy leader of the SNP Kenny MacLaren claimed “It is a sad day when our national flag is treated in this manner”. In contrast Mr Martin defended the move writing: “As you will be aware, council offices operate a clear office and clean desk policy to promote good information management/security, good health and safety practice and efficient and effective cleaning and maintenance of the buildings, windows and general office environment.

 

 

Government issues health and safety myth warning

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