… in brief

This months news in brief

Female architect settles sex discrimination case

A female local authority architect who claimed harassment by two male
colleagues has reached a confidential settlement with her former employees. The
woman, who had complained about the pictures of nude women kept by her boss and
another colleague, said she was forced to resign from her job. The authority
said it had reached a settlement without admission of liability to reduce the
level of stress and anxiety of the people involved.

Government extends parental leave

Employees with children aged under five years old can now take more than
three months off work. The Government has extended the right to unpaid leave to
parents of all children who were aged under five when the Parental Leave
directive was first introduced on 15 December 1999, bringing UK legislation
into line with the EU and benefiting an additional three million employees.

Right to reduce pension contributions

The House of Lords has ruled that an employer was entitled to deal with a
surplus that has arisen in a pension scheme by reducing the amount it paid into
the scheme. International Power (formerly National Power) and National Grid Co
were appealing against a decision by the Pensions Ombudsman who had upheld
National Grid members’ objections to their employers using any part of the
surplus to reduce its own payments.

Ban on genetic testing

The Disability Rights Commission has called for a ban on employers asking
people for genetic test results. The DRC wants the Disability Discrimination
Act 1995 to be extended to protect anyone with a genetic predisposition to
certain illnesses being forced to take genetic tests.

Arbitration scheme

The alternative arbitration scheme, proposed by the conciliation service
Acas will be launched on 20 May. It will enable unfair dismissal claims to be
heard by independent arbitrators in a confidential setting, rather than in an
employment tribunal. However, it’s thought that only 1,000 cases will be heard
next year, out of an estimated 53,000 cases.

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