Welcome to the September edition of Up to Date. Included in this issue: Equal pay: female retail employees permitted to compare themselves to male distribution depot employees; Tribunal fees following the Supreme Court decision - where next?; What's on the horizon in employment law? 

Equal pay: female retail employees permitted to compare themselves to male distribution depot employees

The EAT has upheld a decision of the Employment Tribunal that 7,000 female retail workers working at supermarkets were entitled to compare themselves to male distribution workers working at depots.  This comparison was permitted under the Equality Act 2010 as the workers could be said to have common terms.

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Tribunal fees following the Supreme Court decision - where next?

It's been just over two months since the Supreme Court quashed the Employment Tribunal fees regime.  How does the land now lie?  Has there been an impact on the volume of Tribunal claims issued? Can past claims which were not pursued due to the fees regime be resurrected? How can respondents defend such claims? And what plans are in place within the Tribunal system to cope with the inevitable fall out of the decision?  We recently attended a talk where a panel of speakers made up of Regional Employment Judge Parkin and Bronwyn McKenna, a member of the UNISON legal team, debated these very issues. We share their thoughts, as well as our own, in this article.

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Pregnancy and maternity discrimination: protection against dismissal crystallises from conception and before the employer is notified

In Porras Guisado v Bankia SA and others (Case C-120/16) the High Court of Justice of Catalonia (High Court) considered the dismissal of a pregnant worker in line with the provisions in the Collective Redundancies Directive (CRD) and the Pregnant Workers Directive 92/85/EEC (PWD).  The Advocate General concluded that a collective redundancy situation is not necessarily an "exceptional case" which can be used to justify the dismissal of a pregnant worker. Further, the PWD should protect workers against dismissal from the moment they are pregnant, even if they have not yet informed their employer of their pregnancy.

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Jurisdiction: where should cabin crew working in multiple EU countries bring their employment claims? 

The ECJ has ruled on the jurisdictional test to be applied when determining where international cabin crew working in multiple EU countries should bring their employment claims.  The Court concluded that a number of different factors had to be considered in the round to determine the place where the crew member could be said to "habitually work".  Importantly, the question could not be answered by simply identifying a crew member's "home base" (Noguiera and ors v Crewlink; Osacar v Ryanair).

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Employees have a right to privacy even when messaging on a work system

Those of us who enjoy the uncertain privilege of working in open plan may have waved good-bye to any privacy at work long ago, but spare a thought for the Romanian engineer who used a work-related Yahoo messaging account to exchange intimate chat with his fiancée.  His employer then saw fit to deploy those messages when he was fired for misuse of that messaging service.

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What's on the horizon in employment law?

Has Brexit tamed the pace of change in employment law? Our employment team reports here on the key developments expected in the rest of 2017 and beyond.

Click here to view the Horizon Scanner

Key contact

Amanda Steadman

Amanda Steadman

Principal Knowledge Lawyer, Employment

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