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News Update

December 2017

An ET finds that an employee’s colour blindness did not come within the definition of disability because his coping strategies mean there are no substantial adverse effects on his day to day activities.

Acas has published new advice on sexual harassment at work for employers and employees that outlines what kind of workplace behaviours could be considered sexual harassment and how to report it.

The Ministry of Justice has announced that all those eligible for employment tribunal fee refunds can now apply, following the successful opening phase of the scheme.

The Work and Pensions Committee has called for evidence from carers and employers about the realities of juggling caring duties with paid employment.

Employee’s colour blindness did not come within the definition of disability

In Bessell v Chief Constable of Dorset Police, an ET had to determine whether Bessell (B), who has colour blindness, is a disabled person under the Equality Act 2010. B argued that his impairment has a substantial and long term adverse effect on his ability to carry out three normal day-to-day activities, i.e. cooking, reading/Interpreting documents/text and watching sport. The ET found that B’s impairment did not create a substantial adverse as each adverse effect was matched by a coping strategy that effectively negated its impact. For example: B could not tell whether chicken was under-cooked just by looking at it but could and did use a skewer to test to see whether the juices were clear; the colours used on subway maps were of no assistance to him, but he could use destinations and other information about the lines; commentary and captioning would assist him when watching snooker or distinguishing between the strips worn by Tour de France cyclists.

New Acas advice on sexual harassment at work

Acas has published new advice on sexual harassment at work for employers and employees that outlines what kind of workplace behaviours could be considered sexual harassment and how to report it. The guidance comes after news stories involving high profile cases of abuse over the past few weeks, drawing attention to sexual harassment in a variety of settings. The advice is set out within eight sections and covers the following related topics: 1. What is sexual harassment? 2. How does sexual harassment happen? 3. Sexual assault and physical threats 4. Who can it happen to? 5. Historical allegations 6. Making a complaint of sexual harassment 7. Handling a complaint of sexual harassment and 8. Getting support.

Applications open for employment tribunal fee refunds as scheme rolls out

The Ministry of Justice has announced that all those eligible for employment tribunal fee refunds can now apply, following the successful opening phase of the scheme. The first phase, giving 1,000 people the chance to complete applications has now been completed. Now, anyone who thinks they may be eligible for a refund can apply on GOV.UK. Applications can be made by email or post using: (i) form 1-C if you paid the fees and made the claim; (ii) form 3-S if you paid the fees for someone else to make the claim (for example, a lawyer or trade union); and, (iii) form 2-R if an ET ordered you to pay the fees of someone who brought a claim against you.

Inquiry launched on employment support for carers

The Work and Pensions Committee has called for evidence from carers and employers about the realities of juggling caring duties with paid employment. Currently, over three million unpaid carers in the UK are in paid employment. The Committee wants to hear from carers and their employers about their experiences in trying to balance caring duties with paid employment, and the kinds of practical help that can be provided to get, and keep, people in the paid work they want, while crucially ensuring their friends, relatives, and loved ones can continue to receive the best possible care. The deadline for submissions is Friday 22 December 2017.

Content

This update provides summary information and comment on the subject areas covered. Where employment tribunal and appellate court cases are reported, the information does not set out all of the facts, the legal arguments presented and the judgments made in every aspect of the case. Click on the links to access full details. If no link is provided, contact us for more information. Employment law is subject to constant change either by statute or by interpretation by the courts. While every care has been taken in compiling this information, SM&B cannot be held responsible for any errors or omissions. Specialist legal advice must be taken on any legal issues that may arise before embarking upon any formal course of action.


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