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    Employment Law & HR Roundup 03/09 – 09/09

    September is well and truly upon us! In this week’s roundup, we’ll help you snap out of holiday mode with all the latest essential HR and employment law news.

    Focusing on the rights of employers to monitor their employees’ messages, increased injury to feelings compensation bands in employment tribunals and Mike Ashley’s latest spate of criticism, your essential weekly briefing contains all the stories you need to keep up to date with the world of employment law.

    Get your essential weekly Employment Law & HR briefing directly to your inbox every week. Subscribe here.

    Worker whose messages were monitored had human rights breached

    This week, the European Court of Human Rights ruled that an employee’s right to privacy was breached when his company monitored his private messages.

    The employee, who sent private messages from a professional Yahoo Messenger account, was warned not to use the account for non-business-related correspondence. The worker was dismissed when he was found to have used the account for personal and private communications with his brother and fiancé.

    However, after two failed appeals, his claim was brought to the ECHR who ruled that his right to a private life was infringed by the Romanian Courts.

    This surprise decision means that employers may be forced to give more explicit warnings to employees if they wish to monitor internet use.

    Find out more about this case and the effects that it could have on the ability of employers to monitor the internet use of their employees.

    Increase to bands of compensation for injury to feeling awards

    The President of the Employment Tribunals in both Scotland and England & Wales this week released guidance on the increasing bands of compensation that can be awarded for injury to feelings in discrimination or whistleblowing cases where the Claimant alleges detriment/discrimination

    In certain exceptional circumstances, the compensation awarded will be capable of exceeding £42,000.

    This award, which is separate from any for compensation for financial loss, makes employment tribunals even more of a threat to employers.

    Read more about the increased compensation bands and the impact that a claim could have on your business.

    Sports Direct fails to meet 2016 pledge on working conditions

    Sports Direct, exposed frequently for their employment law failings and criticised heavily by the press, trade unions and MPs alike, has reportedly failed to meet a pledge to offer guaranteed hours to shop and warehouse workers.

    After an investigation exposed last year how temporary workers at Sport Direct were effectively paid below the minimum wage, Mike Ashley promised to put an end to zero-hour contracts and instead offer retail staff guaranteed hours. A year down the line, these promises have yet to come to fruition.

    From being trounced in the press to being forced to compensate underpaid workers to a sum of around £1m, Sports Direct are a prime example of what happens to businesses who get it wrong when it comes to employment law & HR.

    Read more here.

    UK parents penalised for flexible working requests, says TUC

    Employees with more than 26 weeks of service have the right to request flexible working. Upon receiving a request, employers have a responsibility to consider the request in a reasonable manner and can only reject it if there is a business-related reason for doing so.

    Despite the law surrounding flexible working, a recent survey by TUC has found workers who request family-friendly hours are often left with fewer hours, worse shifts and even facing dismissals.

    According to the survey, 42% felt they were penalised at work when they asked for flexibility.

    Read more about the challenges facing lower-paid workers over flexible working and childcare.

    Are you up to date on auto-enrolment?

    With over 7.8 million workers at 550,000 businesses enrolled in the workplace pensions scheme, it could be argued that auto-enrollment has been a success.

    However, from knowing which of your workers need to be automatically enrolled, keeping tabs on changing employment statuses and ensuring your HR systems are aligned with your pension provider, there is still a lot for employers to consider.

    Read more about keeping up to date with auto-enrolment here.

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