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What are the key employment cases to look out for in 2015?

A number of cases are before the appeal courts which may have a significant impact on UK businesses.

Working Time

Lock v British Gas Judgment given on 25 March 2015. Further dates will be listed to determine whether holiday pay is due and if so, what is the correct reference period to determine the calculation. The Employment Tribunal has decided that the Working Time Regulations can be re-written to comply with the ECJ’s ruling that commission payments which are intrinsically linked to the performance of a worker’s contractual duties must be included in holiday pay calculations. Now the case has cleared that hurdle, the Employment Tribunal has to decide how much compensation British Gas must pay to ensure that workers like Mr Lock are not disadvantaged by taking a holiday.
Fulton v Bear Scotland

Remitted to Employment Tribunal but no date set for hearing

Whether regular contractual overtime that a worker can decline on reasonable grounds must be included in holiday pay calculations in light of the EAT’s decision in Wood and others v Hertel and Bear Scotland
Federación de Servicios Privados del sindicato Comisiones obreras

ECJ - Application lodged on 1 August 2014

Whether time spent travelling at the beginning and end of the day by a worker who didn’t have a fixed place of work, and was required to travel every day from home to the premises of a different customer and to return home from the premises of another customer, was "working time" or a "rest period". 


Griffiths v Secretary of State for Work and Pension
Court of Appeal – hearing heard in February 2015 (Judgment awaited) 
Whether an employer's duty to make reasonable adjustments for disabled employees includes disregarding the absence triggers in the employer's absence policy.
Anderson v Chesterfield High School

EAT – appeal heard on 7 November 2014 (Judgment awaited)

An Employment Tribunal held that a belief in public service and the need to engender in others a desire and commitment to serve the community for the common good was a philosophical belief capable of protection under the Equality Act 2010. 

Taiwo v Olaigbe and another

Supreme Court - Permission to appeal was granted on 30 October 2014

Whether two Nigerian employees, whose employers felt able to treat them badly because of their status as vulnerable domestic migrant workers, had suffered direct or indirect race discrimination.

Pay and Benefits

Hartley and others v King Edward VI College
Due to be heard in March 2015
Whether sixth-form college teachers who went on strike should have their wages docked at 1/365 of their annual salary (in accordance with the Apportionment Act 1870) or 1/260 reflecting only days when the claimants would be required to work and paid holidays. 


Rangers Football Club Ltd (formerly Sevco Scotland Ltd) v Professional Footballers Association Scotland and another
EAT – judgment reserved on 13 May 2014
Whether a football club in liquidation failed to inform and consult employee representatives about the TUPE transfer of players to the newly created company.

Collective Consultation

USDAW and Wilson (the ‘Woolworths’ case) 

ECJ will determine issue later this year [Advocate General's opinion delivered on 5 February 2015]
Whether the words "at one establishment" in TULRCA 1992 are to be disregarded for the purposes of any collective redundancy involving 20 or more employees and whether the European Directive requiring collective consultation has direct effect against the Secretary of State. 
Lyttle and others v Bluebird UK Bidco 2 Ltd 
ECJ will determine issue later this year [Advocate General's opinion delivered on 5 February 2015] 
Whether the duty to collectively consult is triggered when 20 or more employees are dismissed at a particular establishment or across the whole of the employer's business, seeking clarification on the meaning of the term "establishment".
Balkaya v Kiesel Abbruch and und Recycling Technik GmbH
ECJ – application lodged 12 May 2014

Whether a member of the board of directors of a limited liability company, interns and trainees should count towards the number of affected workers for the purposes of triggering the obligation to collectively consult in respect of proposed redundancies.
University College Union v University of Stirling

Supreme Court – Hearing took place in January 2015 (Judgment awaited)
Whether the dismissal of fixed-term employees on the expiry of their contracts is a redundancy, or for a "reason relating to them as individuals", in which case there is no duty to collectively consult. 
United States of America v Nolan

Court of Appeal due to hear case on 15 July 2015
At what stage is the duty to consult about redundancies triggered? Is it when an employer is proposing to make a strategic business or operational decision that will foreseeably lead to collective redundancies, or only once the employer has made that strategic decision and is proposing consequential redundancies?

Employment Tribunals

R (UNISON) v Lord Chancellor and another 
To be heard by the Court of Appeal between 8 June and 2 November 2015 
Latest round of UNISON's challenge to the introduction of fees in the Employment Tribunals and EAT.
R (Compromise Agreements Ltd) v Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills
Permission to appeal hearing to take place on 19 May 2015
Judicial review challenging the statutory cap of one year's salary in unfair dismissal cases which was refused in the High Court. 

Contract Claims

Brogden and another v Investec Bank plc

Court of Appeal - An oral hearing for permission to appeal will be heard on 29 April 2015

Is a bank required to act rationally in calculating the bonus pool available for distribution to its employees?

Key Contact

Jenny Arrowsmith