Welcome to our Spring 2017 round-up of issues relevant to UK construction businesses.

Each of the summaries below links to a recent article from colleagues specialising in health and safety, regulatory or employment law. 

Health and safety

  • Health and safety sentences: the new sentencing guidelines for health and safety offences came into force in February 2016. Click here to read our update on the guidelines one year on from their implementation. You can also read our article "Record fine under sentencing guideline" about one of the latest sentencing decisions, which shows that the courts have got to grips with the new sentencing guidelines and sentences are rising as a result.
  • Environmental, health and safety liability issues: the tension with the insolvency regime: what happens when environmental and health and safety liability issues arise when companies are in insolvency proceedings? Sam Boileau gives some practical guidance for practitioners.

Regulatory

  • Dentons' pick of global regulatory trends to watch in 2017: Dentons' team of regulatory lawyers from key jurisdictions around the world comment on regulatory trends to watch in 2017 in the US, Europe, the UK, China, Canada and Mexico. The UK element deals with Brexit issues including: what Brexit means for competition enforcement, merger control and state aid.

Employment issues

  • The European Court of Justice (ECJ) and the banning of headscarves in the workplace: the ECJ has given decisions in two cases involving the legality of banning headscarves in the workplace. These cases highlight the need for companies to carefully consider their approach to the wearing of visible signs of political, philosophical or religious beliefs and the need to ensure that any polices they apply that restrict such wearing are strictly necessary. Click here for our report.
  • The Gender pay gap: what do you need to do now: from 6 April 2017, when the Equality Act 2010 (Gender Pay Gap Information) Regulations 2017 come into force, qualifying private employers with more than 250 employees will have to prepare gender pay gap reports by 4 April 2018 and publish them on both their website and a central government website. Click here for information about what you need to do.
  • Employees' personal information must not be used unlawfully by employers: employers must ensure they use employees' personal information only for its intended purpose. A useful example can be found in Brown v. Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis. Read more here.
  • Unfair dismissal: can an employer take prior warnings issued to employees into account? This was an issue considered in the case of Trye v. UKME (UK Mission Enterprise Ltd). Since then, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has considered in Stratford v. Auto Trail VR Ltd UKEAT/0116/16 whether the fact that an employer took into account a history of expired warnings meant the employee's dismissal was unfair. Read our Focus on unfair dismissal for more information.
  • When negligence justifies dismissal: employers rarely rely on an employee's negligence as a sufficient reason to dismiss. Each case will turn on its facts but dismissal for one negligent act will on occasion be justifiable. Read more here.
  • When does stress at work amount to a disability? Click here to read about two recent EAT decisions.
  • Reasonable instruction to move working location? Employers who ask employees to move any significant distance under a mobility clause can expect their mobility clause wording to be scrutinised. Read about a recent EAT decision on this issue here.