Glasgow Employment Law Blog

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Chancellor, George Osborne has warned that more than 800,000 jobs could be at risk if the UK votes to leave the EU.

He warned that if the UK left the EU, the likelihood of a recession would significantly increase, which in turn , would lead to more than 820,000 jobs going. The latest warning comes after Treasury which analysed potential unemployment and decline in the overall value of property if the UK leaves the EU.

An increase in borrowing in the public sector would result in a number of redundancies and a recession could be triggered.

Speaking in the event of a “Leave” vote, Osborne stated that the punishment faced by the UK economy for an exit would be severe. In a statement he said: "With exactly one month to go until the referendum, the British people must ask themselves this question: can we knowingly vote for recession?

"And to those who say we should vote to leave, I'd say this: you might think the economic shock is a price worth paying. But it's not your wages that will be hit, it's not your livelihoods that will go, it's not you who will struggle to pay the bills.

"It's the working people of Britain who will pay the price if we leave the EU."

Factors such as the EU refusing to strike a deal with the EU after their exit would only intensify the situation according to those who gathered the figures.

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Research from the TUC and an independent think tank has found that worker fathers receive on average, a 21% pay rise during parenthood.

The study, which investigated more than 17,000 employees, found that full-time men who had children had a “21% wage bonus” by the time they were 42 years-old in comparison to men who did not have children at the same age. While the reasons for the rise are not known, the BBC stated that factors such as hours worked, increased efforts and positive discrimination. On average, fathers with children tended to work one hour more than those without a child.

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Freelance fitness instructors in Glasgow are taking legal action over a £100 charge to teach in Glasgow life facilities, which they deem to be discriminatory.

Glasgow Life instructors have been informed that they must pay the annual tax in order to continue to teach classes in the facilities offered by the organisation. However, despite this, a number of instructors are opting to take legal action against the charge.

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Some Scottish universities have been accused of having a significant gender pay gap between male and female workers and academics. However, they have defended their position stating that the data used was out of date and not reflective of their policy.

Aberdeen, Glasgow, St Andrews and University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI) had all been accused of having significant pay gaps with the University and College Union (UCU) stating that the difference between different genders wages amounted to thousands of pounds.

However, all four universities had denied that this was the case and that UCU had used data that was out of date. They also stated that they had resolved many problems through hard word and that the gender pay gap was now nominal in all of their establishments.

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A new study analysing the gender pay gap has found that in a career, female workers are likely to earn £300,000 less than their male counterparts, with a study finding a difference of £5,732, or 24%, in the average annual salaries in the UK.

The findings from the report have led to an increase in calls to end the gender pay gap more than four decades after the Equal Pay Act was introduced.

The analysis, which was carried out by recruitment company Robert Half, found that in a career spanning 52 years women would earn, in a lifetime, an earnings shortfall of £298,064 in comparison to men. The report also highlighted faster growth for men’s full-time salaries of 1.6% compared with 1.4% for women in the year to April 2015, based on earnings figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS), stating that the projection of just under £300,000 could quickly change if the trend continued.

The study found that the gross pay for full-time male employees to £29,934, compared with £24,202 for women.

Many experts stated that the report from the recruitment agency was proof that females were punished for taking paid leave or maternity leave and called for more to be done to tackle such inequality.

The Fawcett Society, a women’s rights organisation, released a statement saying: “The gender pay gap becomes a significant lifetime pay penalty. The gap widens for older women and becomes a significant pensions gap in retirement,”

“The impact of having children means that as men’s careers take off, women’s often stagnate or decline.”

“Their salaries never fully recover. We have to make it easier for men to share care, create flexibility first at work and open up more senior roles as quality part-time jobs.”

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A former doctor at Chelsea Football Club, Eva Carneiro, has begun her private employment tribunal hearing against her dismissal which she deems to be unfair. The tribunal offers the football club the last chance to reach a settlement with Carneiro before a public hearing in June.

As well as having an unfair dismissal against the current Premier League champions, the doctor also has a claim against the manager at the time of her termination, Jose Mourinho.

Carneiro is claiming constructive dismissal against Chelsea citing alleged victimisation and discrimination.

The incident which eventually led to her being forced from the club came on the opening day of the current Premier League season. After a player had suffered a head injury, Carneiro ran onto the pitch to treat him, angering Mourinho, who wanted to continue to play despite the injury.

Her presence on the pitch and the treatment of the player led to a touchline spat between the two. As a result of the dispute, Carneiro was banned from attending the ground on matchday and also banned from all first team affairs by Mourinho. As a result, she claims she was effectively ushered from the club. Critics stated that had Carneiro not gone on the pitch to treat the player she could have been dismissed for failing to act on her medical oath.

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Despite many initiatives and the passing of legislation to try and end discrimination in the workplace, a new report has found that ethnic minorities still face “significant barriers” when attempting to find a job in Scotland.

MSPs revealed in a new report that they found a number of ethnic minorities to be held back by racial discrimination with Holyrood's Equal Opportunities Committee urging the Scottish Government to take action to tackle "defective" employment and recruitment practices.

The investigation into the employment issues regarding ethnic minorities in Scotland found that ethnic minorities are on average, more likely to be unemployed or in low-paid work. As well as being underemployed or underpaid, ethnic minorities were also more likely to be underrepresented in senior management levels despite performing better academically in comparison to white Scots.

The issues were outlined in the committee's report which reads: "We heard of the significant barriers facing people from ethnic minorities in gaining employment and developing a career.

"The evidence indicated a situation that is not acceptable, and we were extremely concerned to hear of how discrimination and lack of access to opportunities are holding back many talented and committed individuals.

"To tackle discrimination and promote diversity in Scotland the Scottish Government must recognise the recommendations in our report. It should, therefore, give greater priority to the issue and target appropriately a range of resources."

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Figures from the Office of National Statistics have shown that employment in Scotland reached a record level between September and November

The latest data regarding employment in Scotland showed that there had been a substantial rise in the number of people in some sort of employment with 21,000 more Scots in work, compared with the previous quarter, bringing the total to 2,631,000.

Out of the four nations in the UK, Scotland has the highest employment rate with the employment rate in Scotland being 0.3% higher than the national average of 74.6%. Indeed, unemployment in the same period fell by 11,000, a rate of 0.7%.

Scotland's Fair Work Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: "I am very pleased to note this month's figures, which reinforce the positive longer-term trends in Scotland's labour market.

"Employment has continued to rise and unemployment to fall - with more Scots in work than ever before. Youth employment figures continue to be strong, outperforming the UK statistics.

"However, we are not complacent and we recognise that a number of significant challenges remain beneath these encouraging headline figures."

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A Polish woman has been awarded £5,000 after she was banned from speaking her native language with colleagues in the workplace.

An employment tribunal ruled that Magdalena Konieczna was subjected to racial harassment in her workplace in Aberdeen in what could be a landmark case. The worker had spoken to other members of staff in Polish as some of them were unable to speak or fully understand instructions in English.

However, her HR manager banned her from speaking unless it was in English. Nicol Hosie argued that speaking in Polish in the workplace was “more likely to create a greater health and safety risk than reduce it”.

The ban on speaking Polish applied to break times and at any time when in the workplace.

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Employees now have the right to take employers to an employment tribunal if they are punished for breach of an exclusivity clause in their zero hour contract.

Under such contracts, staff members are not guaranteed any set hours meaning that their wage can vary from week to week, or they can be effectively frozen out of employment. While many companies opt to use zero-hour contracts, some also inserted an exclusivity clause meaning that they could fairly dismiss or prevent an employee from working for another organisation without consent.

Although such clauses have been banned since May 2015, the start of 2016 grants workers the powers to take legal action if they are still forced into such an agreement. The legislation gives workers working under a zero hours contract the right to complain to an employment tribunal where they are dismissed or suffer a detriment for working for another employer or asking their employer for permission to do so.

The government guidance reads: “An employer must allow the individual to take work elsewhere to earn an income if they do not offer sufficient hours.

“If an employer includes an exclusivity clause in a zero hours contract, the individual cannot be bound by it, the law states the individual can ignore it.

“An employer must not attempt to avoid the exclusivity ban by, for example, stipulating that the individual must seek their permission to look for or accept work elsewhere.”

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An employment tribunal has ruled that B&Q unfairly dismissed an elderly worker from their branch in the East End of Glasgow.

Ivor Smith was sacked for gross misconduct after helping a customer with change at the firm's Parkhead branch in Glasgow in August 2014. He was dismissed as his till was open for more than three and a half minutes. However, an employment judge has ruled that he was unfairly dismissed, awarding him just under £5,000.

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A recent study has revealed that the gender pay gap has barely changed in the last four years despite many initiatives to try and reduce the pay gap.

The data which comes from HMRC showed that women made up less than a quarter, 27%, of all higher-rate taxpayers in each of the past four financial years. Last year, this meant women made up 1.21m of the 4.47m higher-rate taxpayers despite a rise of at least one million high-end taxpayers in the same period.

The survey is a blow to the government and organisations who have launched policies to try and reduce inequality in the workplace and obtain equal pay for women. Some banks have aimed to make their senior management team consist of at least 40% females following a study that showed that less than a third of the senior staff in the industry were female with HSBC adding that females were “significantly underrepresented at a senior management level.”

The Government have also launched a number of new plans to try and reduce gender inequality. It was announced in the summer that organisations with 250 employees or more were to publish the difference between the average pay of their male and female employees. These rules were to apply to all sectors and were also to include bonuses and other payments to all members of staff.

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A new study from ACAS has revealed that bullying in the workplace has increased across the UK with more people than ever suffering harassment.

Alarmingly, the study showed that while bullying in the workplace was increasing, more people than ever were unwilling to report the bullying with job insecurity and other factors resulting in people being afraid to speak up.
 
ACAS reported that they had received more than 20,000 calls regarding workplace harassment and bullying with the organisation calling for companies to take such complaints much more seriously than they currently do.

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Uber employees have taken legal action in an attempt to become employees of the controversial taxi company.

Currently under the contracts offered by Uber, those operating for Uber are self-employed contractors. However, an employee claim is seeking to change their status to employees of the company rather than such contractors. As a contractor, Uber were able to not have the same employment rights in place that other taxi companies had, thus leading competitors to claim that they had an advantage, especially regarding finances.

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Former employees at clothes store USC after 50 members of staff were given less than 15 minutes notice about losing their job.

Mike Ashley has been criticised for using "disgraceful" and "unlawful" employment practices have all secured a protected redundancy from the firm, with the figure expected to be in the thousands for the vast majority. The firm now lies in the hands of administrators Duff and Phelps.

In total, 88 members of staff lost their job at the USC warehouse in Ayrshire which led to severe criticism of the USC’s parent company Sports Direct.

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A chef who was dismissed from West End restaurant Cail Bruich has been awarded over £15,000 at an employment tribunal after citing unfair dismissal.

Christopher Hillis, who has worked as chef de partie at the Glasgow restaurant, was being paid less than the minimum wage, and when he asked the owners of the restaurant about the wages, he received an abusive text message dismissing him a few days later.

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The Scottish Government has launched a bid to abolish employment tribunal fees after powers were transferred to Holyrood from Westminster.

The proposals, which were laid out in the government’s programme for 2015-16 will abolish employment tribunal fees once it is "clear on how the transfer of powers and responsibilities" The move will only occur after consultation “in the shape of services that can best support people’s access to employment justice as part of the transfer of the powers of Employment Tribunals to Scotland.”

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Unite have responded to the government’s proposal of changing the way that employees can legally strike by removing the clause preventing illegal striking from their rules.

The move comes following new plans to attempt to prevent crippling strikes in the Trade Unions Bill.

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Female solicitors are effectively working for free from August to the end of the year in comparison to the salary received by male lawyers according to a recent study.

The findings, which come from a Law Society of Scotland showed that the female gender gap in Scotland could be as much as 42% with the average full-time and part-time salaries for males and females differing greatly, especially as careers progressed.

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Five swimming centre managers have been dismissed after claims that staff were paid more overtime than colleagues at other sporting facilities. However, satff are set to take legal action citing unfair dismissal.

The dismissals come following a probe by Glasgow Life, Glasgow City Council, arms-length management organisation. The investigation found that 33% more overtime had been signed off at the Tollcross International Swimming Centre than any other Glasgow Life run site. The main issue was that the overtime was given when the pool was undergoing a £14-million refurbishment for the Commonwealth Games.

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