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Employment Law Case Updates - October 2014

8 October 2014

Failing to pay enhanced additional paternity pay (APP) was not discriminatory

The Employment Tribunal has held that failing to pay enhanced APP was not direct or indirect sex discrimination. The employee believed that while on additional paternity leave he should receive the same enhanced pay as a female employee on maternity leave.

In relation to his direct discrimination claim, the Tribunal held that the correct comparator was a female employee applying for APP and held that she would not have been treated any differently.

In relation to his indirect sex discrimination claim, it was held that paying enhanced maternity pay to female employees on maternity leave could be objectively justified as it promoted the recruitment and retention of women in the workforce.

The case provides useful guidance for employers seeking to objectively justify difference in treatment, particularly given the upcoming introduction of shared parental leave.

(Shuter v Ford Motor Company Ltd, Employment Tribunal)

A US national working in the UK was not protected by British employment law

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has held that a US national employed by a US company who was required to spend just under 50% of his time in the UK was not able to bring claims in the UK for unfair dismissal and discrimination.

Although working abroad, the employee’s base had remained in the US. He had been dismissed in the US because his employer had not wanted to deliver the news while he was away from home and, at the time he was dismissed, his assignment to the UK had finished.

The EAT held that there was a stronger connection with the US than with Great Britain.  It also held that the test for territorial scope in relation to whistleblowing or discrimination claims should not be less strict than for unfair dismissal claims.

The case follows the view that the Equality Act 2010 does not provide protection for employees working part time in the UK, which is a reduction in protection from previous legislation. It remains to be seen whether this will be challenged in the future.

(Fuller v United Healthcare Services Inc & Anor, EAT)

Payslips should clearly state reasons for any deductions

The EAT has held that an employer must give clear reasons for any deductions being made on an employee’s payslip. In this case the employee’s monthly salary was frequently adjusted to account for time off sick, with the adjustments sometimes having to be made in his payslip for the following month. The deductions were marked on his payslip with a minus symbol, but no further details were given.

The EAT held that this was insufficient and that the reasons for any deductions should have been clearer. The case highlights that seemingly small issues can sometimes be of paramount importance to employees and employers need to ensure it has appropriate administrative procedures. 

(Ridge v HM Land Registry, EAT)

Employees wishing to take time off for dependants must contact their employer as soon as reasonably practicable

The EAT has held that an employee who did not contact his employer when attending hospital with his heavily pregnant wife was fairly dismissed. The employee failed to contact his employer “as soon as reasonably practicable” on two separate occasions when taking his wife to hospital.

On the second occasion, he claimed that his mobile battery had run down and that he had asked his father to contact his employer because he could not remember the number.

However, even taking into account the mental state of the employee on that day, the EAT held that he should have taken steps to ensure that his employer was contacted as soon as reasonably practicable to advise it that he would not be attending work.

It was relevant that this employee already had an active final written warning on his file relating to attendance issues and employers should therefore be careful in relying on this decision. 

(Ellis v Ratcliff Palfinger Ltd, EAT)

This article was written by Kirsti Laird.

For more information, please contact Kirsti on +44 (0)20 7427 6411 or kirsti.laird@crsblaw.com