Employment law: 10 cases to look out for in 2013

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Two long-running religious discrimination cases are among those pending for 2013, alongside other important employment law decisions pending on redundancy, TUPE and disability discrimination. We round up 10 of the significant legal decisions expected in 2013.

Religion or belief discrimination



  • Ladele and McFarlane v United Kingdom (ECHR) In Ladele, the Court of Appeal held that a registrar – Lillian Ladele, pictured above – with strong Christian beliefs about marriage who was threatened with dismissal for refusing to carry out civil partnership work did not suffer unlawful religious discrimination. In McFarlane, the Court of Appeal refused a Christian relationship counsellor leave to appeal against a finding that his dismissal for refusing to counsel same-sex couples on sexual matters did not constitute religious discrimination. 
  • Eweida and Chaplin v United Kingdom (ECHR) In Eweida, the Court of Appeal held that a uniform policy that prevented the wearing of a visible item of adornment around the neck did not give rise to indirect discrimination against a Christian employee who wished to display a cross as a matter of personal preference, rather than as a mandatory religious requirement. Ms Chaplin lost a religious discrimination claim after she was moved to a desk job after refusing to remove her crucifix necklace at work.

Redundancy



  • Usdaw and others v WW Realisation 1 Ltd (in liquidation) (EAT) The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) is to rule on whether or not an employment tribunal was correct to find that Woolworths staff who worked in stores that had fewer than 20 employees should miss out on protective awards for failure to consult on their redundancies. 
  • United States of America v Nolan (Court of Appeal) This case, on the trigger for employers’ obligation to consult on collective redundancies, returns to the Court of Appeal after the European Court of Justice (ECJ) decided it does not have jurisdiction to hear the issues. 
  • University of Stirling v University and College Union (Court of Appeal) An appeal against the EAT decision that, where a dismissal is because of the normal expiry of a fixed-term contract, the dismissal does not count for the purposes of collective redundancy consultation, because one of the reasons for dismissal will be “related to the individual concerned”. 
  • Devon Primary Care Trust v Readman (Court of Appeal) The Court of Appeal is considering the test when deciding what constitutes unreasonableness when an employee refuses an offer of “suitable alternative employment” in a redundancy situation. 

TUPE



  • Key2Law (Surrey) LLP v De’Antiquis (Supreme Court) This appeal is against the Court of Appeal decision that a transfer from a company in administration does not lead to an exemption from automatic employee transfer. 
  • Spaceright Europe Ltd v Baillavoine and another (Supreme Court) This appeal is against the Court of Appeal decision that for there to be an automatic unfair dismissal under TUPE, there does not need to have been a particular transfer or transferee in existence or in contemplation at the time of the dismissal. 
  • Parkwood Leisure Ltd v Alemo-Herron and others (ECJ) The Supreme Court has referred to the ECJ the question of whether or not the TUPE Regulations should be given a “dynamic” interpretation in the context of a dispute over a transferee’s failure to honour the terms of a pay increase made under a collective agreement that was incorporated into the contracts of employment before the transfer. 

Disability



  • Ring v Dansk almennyttigt Boligselskab DAB (ECJ) Questions that the Danish court has asked the ECJ include can a condition caused by a medically diagnosed temporary illness be covered by the concept of disability within the meaning of the Equal Treatment Framework Directive?

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