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Author Archive: Jennifer Hoult

3 things you need to know about settlement agreements

1. Settlement agreements are legally binding.

They came into effect in 2013 and are contracts that are used to end an employment relationship between the employer and employee.

The agreement must be in writing and it is a completely voluntary procedure. Employees must be given a reasonable amount of time to consider the offer and the ACAS Code of Practice suggests providing employees with a minimum of 10 calendar days to consider the proposed formal written terms of a settlement agreement and to receive independent advice, unless the parties agree otherwise.

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SCE Fundraiser as Total Warrior is postponed

As many of you know, SCE Solicitors have chosen Leeds Mind to support and raise money for. Leeds Mind aims to help people build on their strengths, overcome obstacles, and become more in control of their lives. This Sunday 28th June the team were set to take part in Total Warrior, sponsored by Leeds Mind.

https://www.totalwarrior.co.uk/

Due to Covid-19, unfortunately SCE’s plans to take part in Total Warrior 2020 have been postponed until June 2021.

Although Total Warrior may be cancelled, we can still come together to raise money for such a great cause. That is why we have decided to create some new challenges for ourselves throughout the month of July.

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COVID-19 furlough scheme update

As many businesses are starting to reopen their doors the Government has made its coronavirus job retention scheme more flexible from July and employers are settling in to a new way of working. Business life may have drastically changed, but employment law still applies.

Coronavirus job retention scheme update

The Government has started to ease the lockdown allowing many more businesses to reopen. The furlough scheme will be more flexible from July and you will be able to bring staff back part time and furlough them for the remainder of their hours. From July the minimum period of furlough will be one week. Staff can still be furloughed more than once.

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SCE Solicitors Welcomes you to our new Well-Being Room

This year on Mental Health Awareness Day (10 October19), we marked the occasion by launching our new Wellbeing Room. The purpose of this room is to provide a getaway from the hustle and bustle of the working day. The room is painted in pastel colours and features candles and reed diffusers for visitors and colleagues to relax with aromatherapy. There are also soft furnishings to wind down on whilst listening to soothing music. Or alternatively, games and jigsaws are available to provide mental stimulus.

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SCE Solicitors are Fundraising for Leeds Mind!

SCE Solicitors are proud to announce our new collaboration with Leeds Mind. This is an exciting time for us, and we would like to get our clients and local businesses involved as much as possible.

We are looking for raffle prizes and donations for our first fundraiser so if you can help in any way, please get in touch with Jennifer at Jennifer.Hoult@scesolicitors.co.uk

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Don’t Get Spooked By Employment Law This Halloween

It is no surprise that Halloween is one of the holidays that nearly everyone celebrates. Celebrations range from trick or treating, pumpkin carving contests, adult costume contests to parties with alcohol. 

For employees’ they all encourage interaction and workplace engagement but for employers’ they all open the door for potential liabilities and concerns. So what are the 5 top legal issues that employers need to be aware of to avoid the scare this Halloween?

1. Discrimination against Pagans 

Religion is simply defined by the Equality Act as “any religion”, and does not state the belief has to be a major religion to be protected. Therefore employers must take non-mainstream religions as seriously as they do with the major religions. 

In Holland v Angel Supermarket Ltd and another, a Wiccan witch succeeded in bringing a religion or belief discrimination claim. She claimed that she was mocked and later dismissed after switching her shifts to celebrate All Hallows’ Eve. 

2. Discrimination by fancy dress 

Quite often employers use fancy dress to encourage positive morale amongst employees, however they have the scope cause controversy and offend some groups of people. For example, a Halloween costume that stereotypes a particular nationality, religion or someone with a mental health problem, could lead to a discrimination claim.

Further, problems can also occur when employees are given no option but to take part in fancy dress events at the workplace as demonstrated by the case of X v Y. In the said case, the Tribunal held that a gay employee suffered harassment when he was subject to banter that was of a sexual nature at a workplace fancy dress event which he could not opt out of. 

Brown v Young & Co.’s Brewery is another case that demonstrate how fancy dress in the workplace can cause issues. In this case, it was found that a black pup worker was harassed by his manager when he told him that he “looked like a pimp” when he was wearing a promotional St Patrick’s Day hat.

3. Misconduct during Halloween

Employees may commit misconduct during Halloween. For example employees’ may use Halloween related images in an inappropriate way. 

In Biggin Hill Airport Ltd v Derwich an employee was dismissed for putting an image of a witch on the computer of a colleague who “unfriended” her on Facebook. 

4. Social media misconduct

No doubt employees will be posting statuses and pictures of their Halloween celebrations on social media platforms such as Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. 

So from a practical point of view it cannot be stressed enough how important it is for employers to make it clear that any inappropriate social use of the internet outside the workplace could result in disciplinary action if it brings the company’s reputation into disrepute.

5. Absence management

Employers should reinforce their company’s policy in relation to alcohol at work and their disciplinary policy, particularly, because Halloween falls on a Tuesday this year. 

Employees should be reminded that absence because of a hangover, or coming to work but being unable to function, following the Halloween weekend is completely unacceptable.

If you need any help and advice in relation to the above, please do not hesitate to contact me or the team on 01133 50 40 30 or at hello@scesolicitors.co.uk.

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SCE Solicitors is a boutique employment law and dispute resolution practice based in Leeds which advises clients nationwide.  Please note that the information in this blog is to provide information of general interest in a summary manner and should not be construed as individual legal advice. Readers should consult with SCE Solicitors or other professional counsel before acting on the information contained here.

Managing annual leave during the school holidays

For most families, the school holidays kick off this week.  This means various things to different people; be it summer holidays, keeping the kids entertained for 6 weeks or (for me) quieter roads during rush hour.  For employers, the school holidays in particular can be a difficult time.  Many employers face a high volume of holiday requests, especially from those employees who have children of school age.

So, how do employers successfully and fairly manage an influx of holiday requests during this time?  Here we bring you our top tips to ensure your business runs smoothly.

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