In Brief: Important Updates from May 2018

Posted in : Supplementary Articles NI on 4 June 2018
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June is here and the sun is out… May went in the blink of an eye and it certainly was a busy month! The UK Supreme Court sat in Belfast for the first time hearing two very important cases, including the renowned Ashers v Lee 'gay cake' case; as organisations grappled with the dreaded deadline for GDPR compliance, the new Data Protection Act 2018 was published – and whilst the GDPR has direct effect in all Member States, national laws need to be amended in order to regulate aspects such as sectoral regulations, transitional rules and additional requirements where discretion is given by the Regulation; we marked Mental Health Awareness week outlining the legal responsibilities and how reasonable adjustments can help employees stay in work while managing a mental health condition; we reviewed a number of noteworthy cases and our hit webinar series 'Employment Law at 11' with Seamus McGranaghan of O'Reilly Stewart had its highest number of attendees yet!

GDPR in NI – Differences in Employment Record Retention Periods 

GDPR and the Data Protection Act covers the UK as a whole. GDPR Principles require that personal data is kept for specified purposes. The data should be limited and kept for no longer than necessary for the purposes for which the data is processed. Determining retention periods for employment-related data is central to compliance with GDPR.

In this article, Fiona Cassidy, Senior Partner and employment law expert at Jones Cassidy Brett Solicitors, clarifies the position in Northern Ireland regarding retention periods under the GDPR.

What is a Manifestly Unfounded or Excessive SAR under the GDPR?

In this month’s First Tuesday Q&A, Chris Fullerton of Arthur Cox offers comprehensive legal advice on a number of employment law issues, including subject access requests under GDPR.

Alcohol and Drug Misuse at Work  

Alcohol and drug misuse in the workplace is a sensitive and complex issue which many employers struggle to confront. While recent reports suggest that drinking cultures across both private and public sectors are stronger than ever, with an increasingly high proportion of workers drinking above recommended guidelines, many companies feel ill-equipped to address the problem.

In a brand new video series in partnership with A&L Goodbody, Jenny Moore, Solicitor in the Employment & Incentives team, discusses the damaging effect alcohol and drug misuse can have on a business, for example, on absenteeism, productivity, morale and reputation.

Let’s Talk About... Mental Health in the Workplace 

We all know what it is like to feel stressed. To mark Mental Health Awareness Week (14 to 20 May 2018) Lisa Bryson, Principal Associate at Eversheds Sutherland, discusses mental health in the workplace, a subject matter that is becoming ever more prevalent. Mental health is rarely out of the media, reflecting campaigns by health trusts, charities, even celebrities and the Royal Family. This is perhaps not surprising given that research has highlighted that one in four adults currently working in Northern Ireland have been diagnosed with some form of mental health disorder.
In her latest article Lisa offers advice on how to deal with overlapping issues, for example, disciplinary and capability issues and mental health and concludes the article with a number of recommendations derived from the Stevenson/Farmer review, including a set of ‘mental health core standards’ that all employers should consider and adopt.

Lisa is lead facilitator of our 'Mock Employment Tribunal' event (held on 14th June):

Hextall v Chief Constable of Leicestershire Police [2018] UKEAT 0139_17_0105 

An interesting case on shared parental leave - the EAT had to consider whether the claimant was unlawfully discriminated against as a male because the rate of enhanced maternity pay was higher than the rate of SPL pay. The decision raises obvious comparisons with the recent EAT decision of Capita Customer Management Ltd v Mr M Ali, in which it was held that SPL taken by men is not comparable to women on maternity leave for direct discrimination purposes.

Addison Lee Ltd v Gascoigne [2018] UKEAT 0289_17_1105 

The EAT ruled there was "an unimpeachable conclusion that there was a contract during the log-on periods with the requisite mutual obligations" in relation to couriers at Addison Lee, in the latest gig economy case to go in favour of claimants.

Nicola McLoughlin v Clear Channel NI Ltd (2018) 4191/17 

A budget note at a meeting which made reference to £4,000 was considered documentary evidence of an intention to pay a sales commission bonus.

Ginger v Department for Work and Pensions [2018] 3401940/2015 

In this case the claimant was refused leave to attend IVF treatment. This amounted to direct sex discrimination and harassment for which the Claimant was awarded over £24k in compensation, including £17k for injury to feelings.

Employment Law at 11

'Employment Law at 11' is a new series of webinars from Legal-Island in association with O'Reilly Stewart Solicitors. This month focused on uniforms & unlawful deductions; GDPR & fit notes; discipline v attendance procedures; mediation, PILON; & much more.

News Story of the Month

Our news story of the month highlights the importance of whistleblowing protections and how any concerns raised by staff should be taken seriously and investigated fully. A woman who complained of a racist and misogynistic culture in a Scottish government agency claims she was taped to a chair and gagged by two male colleagues as a warning to keep quiet. The claimant said the restraint took place amid years of bullying and harassment at Marine Scotland's Scrabster office. More from the BBC:


This article is correct at 04/06/2018

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

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