Employment Law – Review of the Year 2022 – Virtual Conference


16th December 2022


Chaired by Dominic Regan this live broadcast conference will consider some of the most topical employment law issues of the past year including the P&O Ferries scandal, the explosion in flexible working requests and the Forstater ruling.

Each session will provide opportunity for questions and answers.

Conference Agenda

This live and interactive 5-hour conference will cover the following:

10am – 11am: Dismissal Update

Professor Dominic Regan

So many disputes stem from dismissal yet the law continues to evolve with novel points emerging. This talk will remind practitioners of the core decisions before looking at recent developments including:

  • COVID-19 claims
  • The enhanced scope of health and safety dismissal protection
  • USDAW V TESCO (2022)
  • The P&O farce
  • Can a claimant seek anonymity on account of an embarrassing occupation?
  • TUPE dismissals after ISS FACILITIES

AM break

11:15am – 12:15pm: Flexible Working Requests – What Does the Law Require & What Does the Future Hold?

Paul Jennings

Given the highly flexible way in which many people have been working over the past two years, employers are very likely to continue to face a marked increase in flexible working requests. This may include requests to work from another location, or indeed another country.

The right to flexible working is one that has evolved over time. Enshrined in the Employment Rights Act 1996, eligible employees can currently make a written request specifying the change or changes that they are seeking. Requests can only be refused on the basis of one of the eight statutory grounds.

However, the statutory right to request flexible working is just one part of a complicated picture. Often a flexible working request is linked in some way to a ‘protected characteristic’.

Further, there are additional complications and considerations where an employee is seeking to work some or all the time from another location (including working from other countries).

This session will cover:

  • The statutory framework that employees must follow when making flexible working requests, and which employers must abide by when responding
  • Consider where the statutory right began, how it has developed over time and what the future direction of travel may be, particularly in a post-COVID-19 context
  • High-risk situations and cases which involve potential indirect discrimination
  • The information and knowhow you need to carefully navigate these types of requests
  • Practical considerations where an employee is looking to work abroad

12.15-13.15: Current Issues in Collective Labour Law

Douglas Leach, Guildhall Chambers

Periods of economic difficulty, and high inflation in particular, tend to produce an increase in the number of industrial disputes arising out of failed pay negotiations.

When the point of contemplation of industrial action is reached, it is vitally important for unions to be clear about how protected action is achieved, and for employers to know whether and/or how proposed action might be resisted in the courts, or its effects legitimately limited where litigation is not a viable option.

Further, before action is taken by a recognised union after failed pay negotiations, employers need to understand the potential consequences of making pay awards without union agreement.

This session will cover:

  • Requirements for protected industrial action – Will action be susceptible to a successful injunction application or a claim for damages?
    • Is there a trade dispute?
    • Action excluded from protection
    • Balloting requirements
    • Notice requirements
  • Mitigating the effects of protected industrial action
    • Temporary redeployment of other staff
    • Use of agency workers
  • Collective bargaining – Union recognition and de-recognition
    • Voluntary vs statutory
    • Effects of recognition
  • Collective bargaining – The dangers of making a unilateral pay award when negotiations break down
    • Kostal UK Ltd v Dunkley and ors (Supreme Court)
    • Ineos Infrastructure Grangemouth Ltd v Jones and ors (EAT)

Break for lunch

2:15pm – 3:15pm: Belief – What Has Recent Case Law Told Us?

Professor Kathy Daniels

The recent ruling in Forstater v CGD Europe and others [2022] is one of several cases that has caused us to think again about what we understand by the definition of a belief in the Equality Act 2010. In this session we will be looking at this ruling, think about some of the specific issues that have arisen relating to beliefs surrounding gender identity and biological sex, and we will be looking afresh at how the definition of a belief should be addressed.

This session will cover:

  • The definition of a belief in the Equality Act 2010
  • The Forstater ruling
  • What we can learn from recent cases relating to beliefs surrounding gender identity and biological sex
  • Practical steps, applying the definition of a belief

PM Break

3.30pm – 4.30pm: Status & Employment Claims

Professor Dominic Regan

Who now counts as an employee or perhaps a worker?

The law has undergone fundamental adjustments after cases such as UBER. What is more, different principles are being applied depending upon whether a claim is in respect of dismissal or detriment rather than tax liabilities or vicarious liability. Another Supreme Court hearing looks likely in 2023 on the last point.

This session will cover:

  • Key indicators as to status
  • Why UBER is not relevant in IR35 cases, but AUTOCLENZ is
  • Vicarious liability developments 2022
  • The individual with multiple occupations
  • Illegality and the impact upon rights

Recording of live sessions: Soon after the Learn Live session has taken place you will be able to go back and access the recording – should you wish to revisit the material discussed.

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