… in brief

This month’s news in brief

Legal wrangling over validity of strike ballots

New laws on strike balloting that come into effect this month could lead to
legal wrangling over the validity of ballots. The provision provides scope for
courts to ignore "small accidental failures" in the organisation of
ballots. The code of practice says the errors may be disregarded if "taken
together they are on a scale that is unlikely to affect the result". But
the vagueness means employers and unions are likely to fight it out in court,
lawyers have warned.

New corporate killing offence consultation

Consultation on the Government’s proposals for a new offence of corporate
killing closes on 1 September. The proposed new offence will require proof of a
management failure. The penalties envisaged include possible imprisonment and a
ban from working in a managerial capacity.

McMullen appointed editor of law series

Dr John McMullen, head of employment law at Pinsent Curtis has been
appointed series editor of the Oxford University Press Employment Law
Practitioner series. The books will examine important aspects of UK and EC law
and will be aimed at specialists in private practice and industry.

Whistle blower wins compensation award

An employment tribunal has awarded £293,441 compensation to an accountant in
one of the first cases under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. Antonio
Fernandes was dismissed by Netcom Consultants UK Ltd after blowing the whistle
on the chief executive for claiming £370,000 in cash advances and expenses
without receipts.

Call on teleworking

A huge rise in the teleworking workforce means the time has come for
"joined-up" thinking about the implications for employment, housing
and transport policies, according to a report from the Institute of Employment
Studies. An increase of 19 per cent over the past year means 1.5 million people
work from home.

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