Over the past few months, a recurring theme in news features concerning employment law has been the HR failures of large and often self-styled forward-thinking organisations. Whether it’s the constant flow of legal challenges mounted against Deliveroo’s style of flexible employment, sexual harassment at Uber or the gender pay gap at the BBC, these institutions are proving that no business is too influential to be exposed for its employment law mistakes.
This week, Google, the most influential company of our time, joined their tech contemporaries in the headlines when a leaked memo about diversity led to complaints of a gender imbalance within the corporation.
Also included in this week’s essential weekly briefing is information about the latest business to join our Retain & Assure Scheme, a familiar debate over employment status at Pimlico Plumbers, mental health among male employees and sex discrimination at BAE.
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Aftabs Join Wildings Solicitors in Retain & Assure Scheme
The team at Wildings Solicitors are delighted to welcome the long-established suppliers of cots, prams, pushchairs to the Retain & Assure scheme.
Talking about his ongoing relationship with Wildings and the benefits of the scheme, Aftab Ahmed Chughtai MBE said, ‘I have used Wildings for many years for conveyancing and lease documentation to Employment advice and have always received an excellent service. So, when they started their new Retain and Assure scheme I had no hesitation to sign up immediately. I now have the right documentation in place and have somebody to talk me through the legal jargon giving me the peace of mind to continue running my Business’.
Read more about Aftabs joining the Retain & Assure Scheme for Businesses.
Google employee fired over diversity row considers legal action
Undoubtedly the story that led to the largest debate this week involved a Google computer engineer who was fired for circulating a memo that suggested women are less suited to certain roles in tech and leadership.
The debate sparked by the dismissal of James Damore who studied at Harvard, Princeton and MIT, raged on two fronts: firstly, over whether the attitudes towards diversity displayed in the memo were indicative of those among the tech industry as a whole and secondly, whether Google were lawful in firing Danmore for what his lawyer termed ‘communicating with fellow employees about improving working conditions’.
Read more about diversity at Google here.
Employment status: Pimlico Plumbers case heads to Supreme Court
The ‘gig economy’ once again found itself as a talking point this week after the Supreme Court granted Pimlico Plumbers permission to appeal against the Court of Appeal decision that a plumber who signed an agreement with the company describing him as self-employed was in fact a worker.
In Feb 2017, the Court of Appeal ruled that the plumber, who was contracted to wear Pimlico’s uniform, use a leased Pimlico van and work a minimum number of weekly hours, was a worker. The decision entitled the plumber to basic employment rights such as receiving the national minimum wage and holiday pay.
Pimlico announced on Tuesday that they would be appealing the decision in the Supreme Court. Read more about the appeal and the circumstances that led to it here.
One in three men blame work for poor mental health
Mental health charity, Mind, revealed this week that one in three of men polled in their survey say that their jobs are causing them to have poor mental health.
The charity raised concerns that many male employees do not feel that the culture in their organisation allows them to speak openly about their mental health problems.
The findings in this article hark back to a feature in a July roundup that questioned whether HR staff should encourage sick days for mental health related issues.
Read more about how male employees deal with mental health issues and the affect it could have on businesses.
Beware of the law - some ‘banter’ can go too far
BAE Systems was landed with a six figure fine after a manager’s comment that ‘women take things more emotionally than men’ landed the arms manufacturer in an Employment Tribunal facing complaints of sexual discrimination.
BAE appealed the decision claiming that the compensation awarded was disproportionate to the severity of the indiscretion showed by the BAE manager.
The following article lays out some dos and don’ts for employers when it comes to sex discrimination.