Reps' information service - February

30 January 2009

An update about current cases, tribunals, and useful reports and links, from our reps' information service.

Tribunals and hearings

In Weare v HBOS plc, the employment appeals tribunal (EAT) said that if the grievance is about a disciplinary process, tribunals can hear a claim presented more than six months after the grievance was lodged because disciplinary action is a continuing act.

In Eweida v British Airways plc, the EAT found that an employer’s insistence that a cross worn visibly on a necklace by a customer-facing employee be removed or concealed, in accordance with its uniform policy, did not amount to indirect discrimination on the ground of the employee’s religion or belief.

In Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police and others v Homer, the EAT ruled that a 61-year-old employee who was rejected for the top salary grade because he did not have a law degree was not indirectly discriminated against on the ground of his age, despite his inability to complete the degree before his retirement.

In Seldon v Clarkson Wright and Jakes, the EAT held that a law firm's compulsory retirement of a partner when he reached 65 was not justified.

In the case of English v Thomas Sanderson Blinds, the Court of Appeal has held that the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 do cover homophobic abuse against a man who is not gay and who is not perceived to be gay by those who made the remarks.

Reports and publications

Workers in the city of London are top of the British pay league according to figures released by the GMB union.

In 'Nice work if you can get it', the Institute for Public Policy Research accuses the government of failing to tackle the problem of 'in-work poverty'.

Stonewall recently published its 'Top 100 employers 2009', showcasing Britain's best employers for gay staff. It names Lloyds TSB as the best place to work in 2009 for lesbian and gay people. There are also some public sector organisations in the top 100.

While in 'Race to the top', Business in the Community found that boardrooms across the private and public sectors have remained stubbornly white.

The TUC's annual working time survey has found that more than five million people worked unpaid overtime in 2008, bringing its total value across the UK to a record £26.9 billion.

A copy of the newly revised 1977 safety representatives and safety committees regulations, the related approved code of practice and associated guidance can now be downloaded from the TUC website as a PDF document. These replace the ‘brown book’ as the key to safety reps’ legal rights at work.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development reports that the real cost of redundancy can reach £16,375 per employee laid off, even before hidden costs like higher labour turnover and a fall in staff productivity are factored in.

Statistics online

Free access to data produced by the Office for National Statistics, and some data from government departments and devolved administrations.

Neighbourhood Statistics websites were developed to provide statistics for small geographic areas to inform policy and decision making.

The annual survey of hours and earnings provides information about the levels, distribution and make-up of earnings and hours paid for employees within industries, occupations and regions.

Information about staffing in the civil service has been collected and published since 1950, and data since 1970 is available.

There are websites for statistics produced by the Welsh assembly and the Scottish parliament.

There are also sites dedicated to departmental statistics, including the Department for Work and Pensions, the Home Office and the Department for Communities and Local Government.

For more information about any of these cases and reports, contact our reps' information service:


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