Employment law news from Spirit HR
Happy New Year Newsletter from Spirit HR

We have been lucky with a mild winter (so far!) - but in February, the last month of winter, we bring you cases that may stir up some emotions this month.  We start with a case in which an Employment Tribunal awarded a penalty to a Claimant it found to to be untrustworthy - at Appeal it was all turned on it's head.   Prepare to be amazed as you read our summary.  Meantime, we bring you some good news about a Company who took an ex-employee to court for breaching the restrictive covenants while working for her new employer (who was also cited).  Are your clauses good?  Will they protect your business?  And next something to be aware of.  Recent cases confirm that Respondent's loosing at ET (mostly employers) should expect to pay the claimant's fees.   Perhaps our Thought for the Day about preparation is suitable this month?  Our Top Tip also hints at planning - here it's planning return to work interviews.  Consistently regarded as one of the most effective sickness absence actions that is simple for a business to do - but, do ask us for tips to get it right!   Don't forget the Diary column - we've noted early April's statutory pay increases.


Claimant lies at ET - but may not get penalised after all

A Claimant, with previous experience of supporting her brother in an unconnected discrimination claim, brought a claim against her own ex-employer of race discrimination, harassment and victimisation.  Having sworn at Employment Tribunal Court to tell the truth about her claim, at conclusion the ET found the Claimant's evidence to be untrustworthy, unbelievable and included falsified documents.  The court awarded her to pay £8,900 to the Respondent, her ex-employer. She appealed and the EAT thought the ET got it wrong, it seems a lie is not a lie "as simple as that" - read more here.

Restrictive Covenants are enforceable - ex-employee has to pay up for breaches of clauses

An employee left a company where she had worked for around 2 years.  Her contract of employment had clear restrictive covenants that were common in her industry.  It was discovered that after joining her new company (in the same industry) she breached the restrictive covenants. (With, in our opinion, staggering arrogance.) The old company took the former employee, and the new employer to the High Court ... read our summary to find out what the court thought of her, and new employer's conduct here.

If your Company looses at ET you will have to pay the claimant's fees

You will remember that in the Summer of 2013 there was an introduction of fees to be paid for making a claim to Employment Tribunal.  Most ET claims are made by individuals.  We certainly hoped it would reduce the number of speculative claims - in the old days dubious types would fill in the ET1 form online, for free, and try to frighten the company out of some cash.  However, recent judgements means that companies must be very clear about how secure their position and defence is before attending at ET.  If they loose, they can expect to pay the claimant's fees - see the current fees and our summary here.  We work hard to keep our clients out of ET.  Remember, you can always give us a ring about other strategies on 0845 463 3231.

Thought for the day

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail"

Benjamin Franklin

Diary Dates

Diary Dates

1 January 2014
Pension auto-enrolment staging date - 350 - 499 employee

31 January 2014
Changes to TUPE legislation come into force

1 February 2014
Pension auto-enrolment staging date - 250 - 349 employee

6 April 2014
Changes to Statutory Sick pay come into force

6 April 2014
Changes to Statutory Maternity, Paternity and Adoption pay come into force

The most effective sickness absence action

When employment law often feels overwhelming, and not on your side, we give Top Tips that are quick and simple for any business to do - and importantly, make a difference.  For years it's been well evidenced that the single most effective sickness absence step any business can take is the return to work interview. Give us a ring to find out the most productive strategy for this meeting - 0845 463 3231.

Guaranteed time with a Spirit HR 

We have a number of clients who benefit from guaranteed time with Spirit HR each month. These companies get a whole lot more than trouble-shooting support.  If you'd like to join our exclusive entourage, give us a ring for an easy going chat and see what you think.  Ask for Donna on 0845 463 3231.

Here's what our Clients think of us ....

Donna, at Spirit HR, was called upon to aid in an employment tribunal case, and throughout the whole process was on hand to offer support, guidance and a completely professional service. Donna’s knowledge of employment law is second to none and even when I thought I knew what I was doing, Donna was able to offer an insight that would otherwise not have been obvious to me. I had tried to manage the redundancy process alone in order to save money but, with hindsight, I wished I had included Donna right from the start of the process as this would have prevented some of the pitfalls along the way.

Donna is someone that is approachable, professional and is someone that every small company should have on the end of the phone. She is fab!!

Tanya Richardson | Director | A Touch of Eden

Read all our testimonials here 

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