Reps' information service - April

31 March 2009

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

Tribunals and cases

In Zimmer Ltd v Brezan, the employment appeals tribunal (EAT) has upheld an employment tribunal finding that a dismissal was automatically unfair because the risk of dismissal was not made clear in the step one letter.

An upper age limit of 35 on applications to train for the post of air traffic controller has been held to be unlawful direct age discrimination by an employment tribunal in Baker v National Air Traffic Services Ltd (24 February 2009).

In Dickins v O2 plc, the Court of Appeal has held that a county court judge had not erred in finding an employer liable to pay damages to an employee who suffered a breakdown as a result of stress at work.

In Royal Bank of Scotland plc v Harrison the EAT has upheld an employment tribunal decision that an employee was entitled to take time off to care for dependants and suffered a detriment for doing so. The meaning of “unexpected” in relation to the disruption to an employee's childcare arrangements does not involve a time element.

In Richmond Pharmacology v Dhaliwal an EAT has held that a remark by a director to a female manager that she might be "married off in India" constituted harassment within the meaning of section 3A of the Race Relations Act 1976.

In Matuszowicz v Kingston Upon Hull City Council, the Court of Appeal held that in disability discrimination claims, where there is no deliberate omission to make a reasonable adjustment, the time limit in which to bring a claim runs from the end of the period in which the respondent might reasonably have been expected to have done what was omitted.

In the Child Support Agency (Dudley) v Truman, the EAT overturned an employment tribunal’s finding of disability-related discrimination based on the comparator test established by the Court of Appeal in Clark v TDG Ltd t/a Novacold.

Reports and publications

Tax avoidance by wealthy UK residents through tax havens costs UK taxpayers at least £4bn a year, according to new research published by the TUC.

The latest annual report of the Civil Service Appeal Board is available for download in PDF format on the CSAB website.

A study of 2,214 British civil servants, published by the American Journal of Epidemiology, found that Britain’s long working hours could be putting workers at risk of dementia. The report, ‘Long working hours and cognitive function’, found that the stress and exhaustion of long hours could be as bad for the brain as smoking.

In its latest report 'Challenging perspectives', the New Local Government Network looks at “the state of the public sector infrastructure, exploring whether the civil service understands contemporary realities in the field, and if departments of state have a sufficiently attuned sense of policy conditions within regions and localities”.

A Centre for Policy Studies report 'Freedom for public services', examines the delivery structures in health, education, policing and local government and calls for current centrally imposed targets, regulations, quangos and guidance to be replaced with a system of local and parliamentary accountability.

Many government departments are not learning from experience or their mistakes and so are not getting the best value for money from public spending, according to a National Audit Office report ‘Helping government learn’.

The communities and local government’s departmental annual report 2008 looks at how well the department “enables, enthuses and encourages its many partners to deliver on its promises”.

RSI online

PCS has produced a guide to repetitive strain injury (RSI) and has information about how to make a compensation claim.

The TUC has also produced a guide to repetitive strain injury, including how to identify potential risks in the workplace.

The Health and Safety Executive has a section on its website dedicated to information about upper limb disorders.

RSI Awareness is a resource for those interested in musculo-skeletal disorders. The information is categorised into a library of factsheets, an open forum for discussion, and a directory of support services.

The RSI hazards handbook focuses on prevention with practical information to empower workers to organise and take action in their workplaces.

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

Telephone: 020 7801 2650

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