Employment law update
Could anonymous application procedures pave the way for equal employment? There’s been considerable press interest around this subject, where the process of ‘depersonalising’ the recruitment process (removing name, gender and age) is seen as a way to eliminate ‘subliminal discrimination’.
It’s now got to the stage where civil servants have been sending out false applications to employers. They apply for each post with two or three CVs, all fundamentally the same, apart from one having a traditionally English name and the others with what could be considered to be more foreign sounding names.
The findings from this ‘experiment’ are yet to be revealed. However, the Government has recently confirmed that they will consider amending the Equality Bill to ensure that recruitment efforts are conducted under a cloak of anonymity.
Just as students who sit exams are asked to put a number down instead of their name to ensure the marking is unbiased, so job applicants should put down their national insurance number or phone number or address instead of their name to ensure those who get to interview stage can let their personality shine through.Lynne Featherstone, the Lib Dem youth and equalities spokeswoman
The amendment to the bill is currently progressing through Parliament as we speak. It is unlikely that this proposal will become law, but we will keep you informed.
Dismissal by post
Communicating dismissals by post can create difficulties which can easily be avoided. It may seem easier to send a letter of dismissal to an employee who is absent from work, but this can leave you open to unfair dismissal claims. The problems that can arise from dismissals by post are considered in the case of Gisda Cyf v Barrett.
Miss Barrett received a letter of dismissal via recorded delivery, which informed her that she had been instantly dismissed for gross misconduct. Miss Barrett filed a claim for unfair dismissal with the Employment Tribunal, but her employer claimed that she was outside the 3 month time limit for raising a claim. The employer claimed that the date of termination was the date when the dismissal letter was written and sent out in the post, while Miss Barrett claimed that it was the date that she opened the letter and read that she had been dismissed.
The Court of Appeal decided that where a dismissal is communicated using a letter in the post, provided that the employee had neither gone away purposely to avoid receiving the letter nor avoided reading it, the actual date of termination of employment - and the date from when the three month time limit starts running - is when the letter is read by the employee, not when it is posted or even when it arrives in the post. If it is vital to the employer that a definite date for dismissal exists, then delivery in person would be the best option.
Important legislation changes for October
Employers are prevented from including tips in minimum wage
The National Minimum Wage regulations will now exclude the use of all service charges, tips, gratuities and cover charges in payment of the NWM. This is effective from 1 October 2009
Redundancy pay increase
The increase in the weekly limit used to work out statutory redundancy pay will increase from £350 to £380 as of 1 October 2009. The limit is normally increased each February, but the Government has decided that it will not be increased again until February 2011.
National Minimum Wage Regulations 1999 (Amendment) Regulations 2009 come into force
As of 1 October 2009 The Regulations increase the rate of the national minimum wage. The main rate rises from £5.73 per hour to £5.80 per hour and the development rate from £4.77 per hour to £4.83 per hour. The rate for workers aged 16 to 17 years increases from £3.53 to £3.57 per hour