A road map has been published for employment tribunal hearings in England, Wales and Scotland for 2022-2023. The road map explains reforms underway to modernise tribunal processes and the role of video and in-person hearings in the future.
Video hearings are set to continue, but the good news for businesses is that the aim is to return to more in-person hearings where possible. Tactically, in-person hearings can be useful to focus a claimant’s mind and test whether they’re really committed to litigation given they’re more expensive, require travel and are generally a more daunting experience.
Video hearings will remain the default position for:
Case management hearings
Open preliminary hearings
Strike out or deposit order applications
Interim relief applications
Final hearings for claims relating to unpaid wages, notice, holiday and redundancy pay
In-person hearings will be the preference for claims such as unfair dismissal, discrimination and whistleblowing (relying on a hybrid video/in-person approach where there is a backlog of cases). Parties to a case can apply to the tribunal for a change of format if a video or in-person hearing would be preferred.
If you’ve received a tribunal claim and need advice and support to manage the process and your defence, get in touch.
This update is accurate on the date it was published (28 April 2022), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.
Clients often tell us that post-termination restrictions (otherwise known as restrictive covenants) are never enforceable – we beg to differ. We always explain that well-drafted, up-to-date covenants that don’t go beyond protecting ‘legitimate business interests’ are enforceable. A recent High Court decision shows that in some cases even non-compete clauses lasting 12 months are capable of enforcement in respect of senior employees.
A director had resigned from her role in order to move to a direct competitor and had created a ‘business plan’ for her new role with how she would transition clients worth £250,000 a year to the new employer. She tried to argue that her non-compete clause with her previous employer was unenforceable. The High Court disagreed – her previous employer was entitled to protect client connections that had been secured by her for 12 months.
Legitimate interest – be clear about the specific interests you want to protect. In this case, the previous employer only sought to protect their legitimate business interests with a non-compete clause relating to the services that they provided and the specific geographical location in which they operated.
Be specific – casting the net too broadly will likely render restrictions unenforceable. In this case, the previous employer had limited their restrictions to prevent former employees from working in direct competition with them in the North West of England and Hertfordshire for 12 months. The High Court held that this was no wider than reasonably necessary to protect their interests.
Poorly drafted post-termination restrictions may not be worth the paper they’re written on – get in touch to review and update yours to ensure you’re securing the maximum protection possible.
This update is accurate on the date it was published (21 April 2022), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.
As part of keeping you in our focus, our ‘legal lightbulb’ update ensures you’re on top of the latest changes in legislation, case law, and people trends.
Right to work checks reminder
From today, you must carry out an online right to work check for those holding Biometric Residence Cards and Permits or a Frontier Worker Permit. It will no longer be possible to carry out manual checks. Here’s more detail in our previous update.
Increase to SSP and more
From 11 April 2022 weekly statutory rates/limits will increase for:
Sick pay – from £96.35 to £99.35 per week
Parental bereavement pay – from £151.97 to £156.66 per week
Maternity, paternity, adoption and shared parental pay – from £151.97 to £156.66 per week (or 90% of the employee’s average weekly earnings if this figure is less than the statutory rate).
Disability reporting consultation
The consultation is looking for responses on improving transparency and reporting practices to help build a more inclusive working environment. You have until 08 April to have your say here.
Ethnicity pay gap reporting
The government has confirmed they will not be legislating for mandatory ethnicity pay gap reporting “at this stage” to avoid increasing reporting burdens on businesses as they recover from the coronavirus pandemic. This summer, new guidance is expected to provide support for employers wanting to report voluntarily.
This update is accurate on the date it was published (06 April 2022), but may be subject to change which may or may not be notified to you. This update is not to be taken as advice and you should seek advice if anything contained within affects you or your business.