This case has been rumbling on for over seven years. It relates to a bakery’s refusal to make a cake with the slogan ‘support gay marriage’.
This now infamous case has been rumbling on for over seven years. It relates to a bakery’s refusal to make a cake with the slogan ‘support gay marriage’ on it for Mr Gareth Lee.
Whilst Mr Lee had previously successfully argued that the bakery’s refusal to undertake his request was direct discrimination on the grounds of his sexual orientation at both the County Court and Court of Appeal within Northern Ireland, the Supreme Court then overturned these decisions and held that the Mr Lee’s discrimination claim should be dismissed.
The Supreme Court ruling was related to articles 9 and 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which refer to freedom of religious beliefs and freedom of expression. Ultimately, the Supreme Court’s assessment was that the Christian bakers were not obligated to provide anyone with a product bearing a message that they profoundly disagreed with. Therefore, whilst it would have been discriminatory to refuse to supply Mr Lee with a cake because of his beliefs or sexual orientation, the bakers retained the right to not express a particular opinion that they disagreed with, and so the claim was dismissed.
Mr Lee subsequently took his case to the European Court of Human Rights which also dismissed his case. The Court said that the case was inadmissible due to Mr Lee not invoking his rights under the ECHR at any point during his domestic proceedings in the UK courts. It decided that convention arguments must be raised explicitly before domestic authorities, prior to being bought to the European Courts. This has now seemingly brought to an end a claim that has raised serious questions around religious freedom and discrimination law.
Some will see this as a missed opportunity to consider the discrimination issues at the heart of this case, but nevertheless, this once more demonstrates the subtleties and difficulties behind bringing and defending discrimination claims.
Employers and business alike, need to remain alive to the possibility of discrimination within the workplace, ensuring that they are acting as promptly and thoroughly as possible, all while being assisted by robust policies and procedures.
Official statistics show that 15,336 claims which included a complaint of age discrimination were received at the Employment Tribunals between March 2020 and March 2021.
The outcome of the Employment Tribunal claim brought by Gulnaz Raja against Starling Bank Limited (1) (Starling), and Matthew Newman (2) was reported last month.
In the Autumn Statement delivered on 17 November, rises to the National Living Wage and National Minimum Wage rates were announced, to take effect from 1 April 2023:
The World Cup kicks off in Qatar on Sunday 20 November 2022, with the final taking place on Sunday 18 December 2022. Undoubtedly, this is a huge sporting event, and many employees will be keen to show their support for their favourite teams. However, due to the time difference, start times for the matches are between 10 a.m. and 7 p.m. UK time, which could have an impact on employers if employees who wish to watch the matches are scheduled to work.
Settlement agreements are commonplace in an employment context and are ordinarily used to provide the parties to the agreement with certainty following the conclusion of an employment relationship. There are already restrictions on the extent to which personal injury claims can be settled by a settlement agreement. There have also been numerous consultations about the use of non-disclosure agreements and confidentiality clauses, particularly where allegations of sexual harassment and discrimination have been raised. In any event, it is clear that settlement agreements should not be used to prevent an employee from raising a protected disclosure.
National law firm Browne Jacobson has advised long standing retail client, Wilko on the sale and leaseback of its Nottinghamshire distribution centre in Worksop to logistics specialist DHL for £48m.
Where an employee appeals against their dismissal under a contractual appeal procedure and their appeal is successful, reinstatement to their previous role is automatic and does not require approval or agreement from the employee.
Settlement agreements in an employment context are ordinarily used to provide both parties with certainty following the conclusion of an employment relationship – but what happens when there is alleged discrimination after entering into a settlement agreement?
In a judgment handed down yesterday the Supreme Court has affirmed that a so called “creditor duty” exists for directors such that in some circumstances company directors are required to act in accordance with, or to consider the interests of creditors. Those circumstances potentially arise when a company is insolvent or where there is a “probability” of an insolvency. We explore below the “trigger” for such a test to apply and its implications.
Created at the end of the Brexit transition period, Retained EU Law is a category of domestic law that consists of EU-derived legislation retained in our domestic legal framework by the European Union (Withdrawal) Act 2018. This was never intended to be a permanent arrangement as parliament promised to deal with retained EU law through the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill (the “Bill”).
A few weeks ago we brought you news that following the Government’s mini-budget it was confirmed that the off-payroll working rules (known as “IR35”) put in place for public and private sector businesses from 2017 and 2021 would be scrapped from April 2023.
In Mogane v Bradford Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) considered whether it was fair to dismiss a nurse as redundant on the basis that that her fixed-term contract was due to expire before that of her colleague.
The majority of people do not feel the need to embellish their CV to get that coveted position and move on up the career ladder. Their worthiness and benefit to the hiring organisation are easily demonstrated through the recruitment process – application, psychometric testing, selection day or interview.
In July 2022, the Supreme Court handed down its long-awaited Judgement in the case of Harpur Trust v Brazel relating to the correct calculation of statutory holiday pay for part year workers. This decision has implications for all part year workers on contracts which subsist all year round, whether their hours are normal or irregular.
The Supreme Court has unanimously dismissed the BTI v Sequana appeal and reviewed the existence, content and engagement of the so-called ‘creditor duty’; being the point at which the interest of creditors is said to intrude upon the decision-making of directors of companies in financial distress.
The Government has announced a change to the categorisation of “small” businesses to reduce the amount of regulatory compliance (or “red tape”) required. Currently, SMEs (those with fewer than 250 employees) are exempt from certain regulations – such as the obligation to comply with gender pay reporting. With effect from 3 October, these exemptions will be widened to apply to businesses with fewer than 500 employees.
In University of Dundee v Chakraborty, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) considered whether a first draft of a grievance report could retrospectively be deemed to be privileged.
The Chancellor’s recent mini-budget provided a significant announcement for business as it was confirmed that the off-payroll working rules (known as “IR35”) put in place for public and private sector businesses from 2017 and 2021 will be scrapped from April 2023.
It was reported in May 2022 that the BMW-owned manufacturer had been forced to put a temporary stop on the production of all manual transmission vehicles due to the global semi-conductor shortage and the war in Ukraine. Mini stated that the move was made in order to "ensure production stability".
The Government has published the Retained EU Revocation and Reform Bill which, if passed, provides for the revocation of all “EU-derived subordinate legislation” (i.e. UK statutory instruments which were introduced to implement EU law) and retained direct EU legislation on 31 December 2023, unless legislation is specifically introduced to save them.
On 20 July 2022, the Supreme Court issued its long-awaited judgment in the case of Harpur Trust v Brazel, upholding the decision of the Court of Appeal. For those of you familiar with this case, you will know that it concerns the statutory leave requirements for part-time and part-year workers. For schools and academies whose workforce consists of a variety of types of part-time and part-year workers, this case is one that must be understood before any changes are applied. Come and join Emma Hughes, Head of HR Services as she puts questions to Ian Deakin, Employment Partner, and Sarah Linden, Senior Associate.
Browne Jacobson has welcomed 10 future lawyers to its trainee scheme for 2022 – 2024 as it continues to grow its business. The new recruits have joined 36 trainees currently at the firm, bringing the total number of trainee solicitors at Browne Jacobson to 46 – a record number for the firm.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal’s recent decision in the case of Mr Michael Cowie & Others v Scottish Fire and Rescue Service provides a useful insight into favourable - or unfavourable - treatment in the context of discrimination claims.
Browne Jacobson has bolstered its commercial practice in the UK with the appointment of commercial contracts and international trade specialist, Emma Roake, into its City-based London team.
Browne Jacobson’s national private equity (PE) lawyers have advised leading mid-market PE investment firm, Palatine Private Equity (Palatine) on its exit from CTS Group, the fast-growing specialist in testing, inspection and geoengineering consulting services to the construction and infrastructure sectors.
Browne Jacobson’s corporate finance lawyers have advised leading mid-market private equity firm, LDC and management on the sale of specialist managed IT services provider, Littlefish to Bowmark Capital.
This month, HM Treasury issued a consultation on Administrative Control Process for Public Sector Exits with draft guidance. They’re proposing to introduce an expanded approvals process for employee exits and special severance payments, and additional reporting requirements. If approved, the proposals will impact public sector bodies and those that do not have a specific right to make exit payments.
The Digital Markets Act (the “DMA”) joins the dots between competition law and data protection law and actively targets data-driven platforms. It is also a comprehensive regulation to take note of, with familiar GDPR-style fines tied to turnover.
In Wierowska v HC-One Oval Limited, the Employment Tribunal had to determine whether the Claimant’s beliefs in relation to Covid-19 vaccines amounted to religious beliefs for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010.
Browne Jacobson’s private equity (PE) dealmakers have advised Palatine Private Equity backed CTS Group (Construction Testing Solutions Limited) on its acquisition of In Situ Site Investigation, a market leader in Cone Penetration Testing and Pressuremeter techniques and ground investigation services.
Janice Walsh applied for a job with Domino’s Pizza, hoping to secure a role as a Delivery Driver. However things quickly took a turn for the worse during her initial interview, with the very first question that she was asked relating to her age. Ms Walsh was ultimately informed that she had not been successful in her application.
Browne Jacobson’s corporate finance lawyers have advised leading private equity investor, Rcapital Partners LLP (Rcapital) on its majority stake acquisition of managing general agents (MGAs), UK General Insurance Ltd (UKG) and Precision Partnership Limited (PPL) alongside Montague Investment Group LLP who are taking a minority stake.
In an unreported case (Re Active Wear Limited (in Administration)), the High Court has ruled that an out-of-court administration appointment, instigated by a sole director of a company with unmodified model articles, was valid notwithstanding the earlier decision of Deputy Judge Farnhill (also in the High Court) in the case Hashmi v Lorimer-Wing (also known as Re Fore Fitness Investments Holdings Ltd)  EWHC 191 (Ch) (02 February 2022).
Rolls-Royce has shortlisted six locations for its first factory for small nuclear power stations. We look at the impact on regions & local businesses