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Key judgements will affect employers

Four key cases last year will likely have significant implications for employers in the months to come.
1) Whistleblowing disclosures have to be “in the public interest” to qualify for employment protection. Chesterton Global vs Nurmohamed established that although Mr Nurmohamed’s disclosure of the company manipulating accounts was primarily made for personal reasons, it did affect enough other people (around 100 managers, whose commissions were also impacted) to qualify for the “public interest” criterion.
2) Holiday leave can only be carried over for a maximum of 18 months in the case of employees who are on long-term sick leave. Plumb vs Duncan Print Group clarified the law and brought the UK into line with European case law. The decision is significant for any employer who has staff on long-term sick leave, since they can now apply the 18-month rule confidently.
3) HR practitioners cannot comment on culpability. Ramphal vs Department of Transport involved the aftermath of a case in which an employee had been accused of fraudulently over-claiming their mileage expenses. In the case, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) criticised an HR department for apparently changing the conclusions of a manager in a report. The implication is that although HR may advise on the disciplinary process, it is the investigating officer who is responsible for establishing culpability.
4) Employees with no fixed base of work will count their journeys to their first appointment of the day and home from their last appointment of the day as work time – meaning that employers will have to pay for this. This was established by the Court of Justice of the European Union in Federacion de Servicios Privados vs Tyco. It has far-reaching implications for many employers, including those in the care sector and for heating and plumbing engineers.

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