This is a brief blog on some important changes that were made on 25 June 2013 by the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act.
Workers will not be able to succeed with a whistleblowing claim unless they reasonably believe that making the protected disclosure is in the public interest. Due to the introduction of a public interest test, the requirement of good faith when making the disclosure has been removed. However, if a Tribunal consider that a disclosure was made in bad faith (i.e. motivated primarily by money or spite) then they can reduce any compensation by up to 25%.
Finally, the Act introduces the concept of vicarious liability for employers for detriments, on the grounds that a worker made a protected disclosure, by other workers on the worker making the disclosure.
The two year qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims has been removed where the reason for the dismissal was the political affiliations or opinions of the employee. This is a direct result of the Redfearn case. Bear in mind though that it does not mean that any such dismissal will necessarily be unfair only that a claim can be raised without the need for qualifying service.
The Secretary of State is now permitted to vary the statutory limit of the compensatory award for unfair dismissal claims by either increasing or decreasing it. Different amounts may be specified for employers of different descriptions. No change has been made at present but later this summer compensatory awards for unfair dismissal will be capped at the lower of £74,200 or one year's (gross) pay.
The Government now has the power to amend the Equality Act 2010 to specifically provide that discrimination on the grounds of caste as an aspect of race is unlawful. It is not anticipated though that the legislation will be in force for another year or two.
The general rule will now be that Employment Appeal Tribunal judges will sit alone as opposed to hearing an appeal with two lay people present.