In this latest edition of our ‘Need To Know’ employment and HR newsletter, we look at whether long Covid could amount to a disability; a recent case where the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decided that voluntary redundancy is not a fair dismissal, and an ACAS survey which revealed that one in five UK businesses are considering redundancies in the next 12 months.
We also have included our usual HR Bullets – which cover other significant employment law updates from the past month.
- UPDATE on ‘Long COVID: Could it amount to a disability?’
- Is voluntary redundancy by nature a fair dismissal?
- One in Five UK Businesses ‘Considering Redundancies in the Next 12 Months’
- Frewer v Google
In relation to a claim brought by a former employee, Google applied for orders to anonymise its clients and redact commercially sensitive details from the tribunal documents, including within the judgment. The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has now held that the Employment Tribunal (ET) had erred in granting these orders in the first instance. The EAT stated that there is a public interest in hearings being conducted in public to allow the media to report on the names involved and, that in this case, there was a strong public interest argument in light of the former employee’s allegations about the tech giant’s competition practices.
- Brake v Guy
A judge found that an employee who had used a shared company enquiries email account for personal emails had no reasonable expectation of privacy or confidentiality. The fact personal email addresses had been separately set up for the employees at the time the enquiries account was created was stated to be highly significant; the inference being that the personal email addresses were subject to a reasonable expectation of privacy, whilst the general enquiries email address was not.
- Clark v Middleton and another
The EAT held that a failure to inform affected employees of the identity of a transferee in relation to a TUPE transfer warranted compensation. The fact that the transferee company was only incorporated shortly before the transfer did not mean that information about it could not be passed on to the transferring employees.
- Mr D Warburton v The Chief Constable of Northamptonshire Police
Mr Warburton claimed victimisation when his application for a role as a police officer was put on hold. He alleged this was due to his on-going claim against another police force (which he said was a protected act). The Employment Tribunal agreed that the Claimant had undertaken a protected act but found that he had not suffered the detriments alleged, and, even if he had suffered detriments, they were not because of the protected act (but instead were because of a failure on the part of a third police force to provide information necessary to complete his vetting). The EAT upheld Mr Warburton’s appeal, holding that the ET had been wrong to find that the failure to progress Mr Warburton’s application was not a detriment; the case was remitted for rehearing as a result. The decision potentially widens the scope for individuals to successfully claim that they have been victimised as a result of making complaints about discrimination.
- Dodd v UK Direct Business Solutions
Considering the issue of disclosure in whistleblowing claims, the EAT rejected an application for disclosure of specific documents that the applicant believed would evidence that the allegations of wrongdoing were factually true. The Judge was not persuaded that their disclosure was necessary for the fair disposal of the case as they were “of limited relevance”.