Employment Law Newsletter – May 2012

Welcome to May’s edition of our employment law newsletter, keeping you up to date with changes in employment law, and informing you of recent case law developments.

Sunday Trading

The Sunday Trading (London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games) Bill received its second reading in the House of Lords on 24 April.  The Bill is intended to suspend restrictions on large shops’ Sunday trading hours between 22 July and 9 September 2012.  The government have indicted that they will publish guidance on the Bill’s implications for employers and employees after it has received Royal Assent.

Working Time

The Road Transport (Working Time) (Amendment) Regulations 2012 were made on 2 April 2012 and will come into force on 11 May 2012.  The regulations extend the scope of the Road Transport (Working Time) Regulations 2005 by extending their scope to self-employed drivers.


Age Discrimination

The long awaited Supreme Court decision has been revealed in Seldon v Clarkson Wright and Jakes, which related to the retirement of a partner from a firm of solicitors.  The Supreme Court held that the compulsory retirement age in the firm’s partnership agreement was directly discriminatory, but was capable of justification as it was founded on legitimate social policy aims.  The ‘aim’ relied upon must be considered in the context of the business concerned to see if it is legitimate for that employment.  The case has been referred back to the employment tribunal for consideration of whether the specified age of 65 is a proportionate means of achieving the aims in the business.

A second age discrimination case, Homer v Chief Constable of West Yorkshire Police, has also been reviewed by the Supreme Court who have upheld Mr Homer’s appeal against the decision of the EAT and Court of Appeal who had rejected his claim of indirect age discrimination.  The Supreme Court held that Mr Homer had been disadvantaged because of a reason directly related to his age, as his impending retirement meant that he could not obtain a degree, and thereby benefit from increased status and salary.  The question of justification has been remitted to the employment tribunal for consideration.

Wording of Retirement Notices

The Court of Appeal has rejected an employer’s appeal in R & R Plant (Peterborough) Ltd v Bailey, and upheld the decision of the EAT that the employer had failed to properly notify an employee of their right to request not to retire.  The retirement notice should have specified that the right to request to continue working arose as a result of Schedule 6 of the Age Regulations.

Costs in Employment Tribunals

The EAT held in Doyle v North West London Hospitals NHS Trust that in some circumstances, when considering whether to award costs or the amount of such costs, an Employment Tribunal should raise the question of the potential paying party’s ability to pay such costs, even if this issue has not been raised by that party.  The EAT also commented that tribunals should be cautious before making a large costs award, given the serious consequences of such an Order to a Claimant, and also because such order may act as a disincentive to those bringing legitimate claims.

If you require any further clarification in relation to the above developments, or if you need any other assistance then please do not hesitate to contact our team of specialist employment solicitors on 0161 832 3304:

Shiva Shadi                      Partner

Anna Bunting                   Partner

Claire Smith                       Associate

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