1. Employers can continue to rely on the default retirement age of 65 - for the time being. The High Court ruled that the default retirement age was justified when it was introduced, but only just. It seems likely that the age will be increased or removed altogether following the Government's review in 2010. (Age UK (known as Heyday) v Secretary of State for Business, Innovation & Skills, HC)
  2. Statutory holiday accrues and can be taken during sick leave. Although UK law does not permit carry over of entitlement from one year to the next, workers may be able to claim compensation for untaken holiday accrued in previous years once their employment ends. EC law means that public sector employers must allow a worker who is sick during statutory holiday to reschedule it, if necessary in the following holiday year. (Stringer v HMRC, HL; Pereda v Madrid Movilidad SA, ECJ)
  3. More employees are now within the definition of disabled, following a House of Lords ruling that "likely" means "could well happen", rather than "more probable than not". Employees will find it easier to produce medical evidence of the "likely" effects of their condition sufficient to come within the statutory definition of disability. (SCA Packaging v Boyle, HL)
  4. Employers must not discriminate against an employee because they hold a serious philosophical belief worthy of respect. This could include a belief in climate change and the need to take urgent action to address it, or a belief that the dead can be contacted through mediums. (Grainger v Nicholson, EAT; Power v Greater Manchester Police, EAT)
  5. An employer is not required to allow an employee to manifest a religious belief that is itself discriminatory, at least where providing a non-discriminatory service is one of its aims. This is so even where it would be possible to accommodate the employee without disrupting the service. (LB Islington v Ladele, CA)
  6. An employee working abroad may be able to claim remedies for EU-derived employment rights in England if his employment contract is governed by English law, even if there is no other connection with England. This includes the right to be treated as a permanent employee if employed on successive fixed-term contracts without justification, enabling the employee to claim wrongful and unfair dismissal on the expiry of the final contract. (Duncombe v Secretary of State, CA)
  7. Employers who have dismissed on discriminatory grounds can be liable for the additional loss caused by the stigma of having brought a discrimination claim. This is so even though the loss is caused by the unlawful acts of third party employers refusing to employ the individual because of his claim. (Chagger v Abbey National, CA)
  8. Using length of service as one of the criteria for redundancy selection can in principle be lawful, at least where this is pursuant to the terms of a collective agreement. In contrast, use of length of service as the sole criterion or as a tie-breaker for redundancy selection is very likely to be unlawful age discrimination. (Rolls Royce v Unite the Union, CA)
  9. An employee may be entitled to be legally represented at a disciplinary hearing where the outcome of the hearing could deprive him of any future in that profession. The Court of Appeal agreed obiter with recent High Court authority (currently being appealed). The decision is particularly relevant to employers in the education and caring sectors, financial services and other regulated professions. (Kulkarni v Milton Keynes Hospital, CA; G v X and Y, HC)
  10. Homophobic taunting of a known heterosexual is unlawful harassment on grounds of sexual orientation. Employers that fail to clamp down on taunting about sexual orientation or other protected characteristics such as race, religion or age face an increased risk of discrimination claims. (Thomas v Sanderson, CA)