Employers’ Law: news in brief

In Meerts v Proost, the ECJ said that a worker who was dismissed without notice during a period of part-time parental leave was entitled to receive compensation for their notice pay based on their full-time salary. Under UK law, employees who are dismissed while on family-friendly leave are not entitled to be paid during their notice period if their contractual notice is at least one week more than the statutory notice period. The decision in Meerts provides a route to challenge this, and employers would be advised to pay in full for notice during periods of family leave. For more: www.bailii.org/eu/cases/EUECJ/2009/C11608.html

In Orr v Milton Keynes Council, the fact that an employee had been the victim of a racist comment did not mean that his subsequent dismissal because of his response to that comment was unfair or discriminatory. For more: www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKEAT/2009/0506_08_0511.html

In X v Mid Sussex Citizens Advice Bureau (CAB), the EAT ruled that a volunteer worker at CAB could bring a disability discrimination claim. Where there was no legally binding contract between the volunteer and the CAB, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 does not protect voluntary workers. For more: www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKEAT/ 2009/0220_08_3010.html

In focus

Employees who disclose information about certain alleged wrongdoings are protected against detriment and dismissal for making such disclosures under whistleblowing legislation. To qualify for protection, the disclosure must be about a certain type of wrongdoing (say the commission of a criminal offence or a failure to comply with legal obligations) and must be made only to certain persons.

In Cavendish Munro v Geduld, the Employment Appeal Tribunal confirmed that to be protected, whistleblowers must actually disclose some information. Simply voicing a concern, raising an issue or setting out an objection, is not the same as disclosure. A solicitor’s letter setting out a statement of position during negotiations did not meet the test. For more: www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKEAT/ 2009/0195_09_0608.html

One to watch

The Employment Appeal Tribunal’s (EAT) decision in Lyons v Mitie Security is due to be published any time now. The EAT is considering whether an employee can bring a constructive dismissal claim on the basis that his request for holiday was refused for not having given proper notice under his contract. The EAT will also consider whether, and if so in what circumstances, the employee is entitled to pay in lieu of untaken holiday entitlement

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