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Employment Tribunal Decisions Update

1) Successful outcome for Unison’s challenge of Employment tribunal fees

The decision to quash tribunal fees, which were first introduced by the Government in 2013, is deemed to be one of the most important court decisions of 2017.

The Supreme Court judges voted unanimously that the employment tribunal fees system was unlawful and that the legislation introducing them should be quashed.

The Government must now repay the £32 million of fees collected under the legislation, to those affected individuals.

2) Enhancing Shared Parental Pay

In the Ali v Capita Customer Management Ltd case, the claimant complained that since his employer offered enhanced maternity pay, he should be entitled to enhanced pay as well, under shared parental leave.

The employment tribunal upheld his claim, however this decision is likely to be appealed by his employer. Future updates to follow.

3) Long term sickness absence and disability 

In the case of O’Brien v Bolton St Catherine’s Academy, Ms O’Brien was dismissed by her employer following a period of long-term sickness absence.

After presenting her employer with medical evidence indicating that she was fit to return to work at an internal appeal meeting, the appeal panel rejected this evidence and upheld the decision to dismiss.

The court found that it was unreasonable for the school to disregard the medical evidence without a further medical assessment.

2018 Decisions to come

1) The ongoing debate about ‘Employment Status’

In 2017, the court ruled against Uber, in connection with the ‘status of their workers’ – finding that they were not self-employed but ‘workers’ (granting them access to minimum wage and holiday pay amongst other benefits). This was a landmark ruling.

This year, Uber plans to appeal to the UK’s Supreme Court, and we all watch this decision as the final outcome will impact many firms operating in the gig economy. There is also a similar case involving Pimlico Plumbers which is due to begin in February 2018.

2) Minimum Wage for On-Call Night Workers

Mr Shannon is currently appealing the decision made during a tribunal, which stated that Mr Shannon was only entitled to receive minimum wage for the actual hours he worked on night call, due to an exception in the National Minimum Wage Regulations 2015. The exception states that where salaried workers are provided with suitable facilities for sleeping at or near work, only time spent when the worker is awake for the purpose of working, should count towards salaried hours.


There will be plenty of case law over 2018 which will impact the world of employment law and with the introduction of GDPR, which comes into force on May 25th 2018, this is set to be a year that may challenge HR functions across the country!

To discuss any HR issues with our team, please call us on 01302 341 344.

By Kris Kerins BSc (Hons) PGC (Tech Mgmt)Risk Services Adviser

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