There are a number of employment related cases which are due to be heard in 2011. Here is a quick round up of those which may have the most signifi cant implications:
- In Old v Late Editions Ltd, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) will give guidance on whether a sale of a business via a “prepack” administration partially avoids TUPE, a decision which may have wide ramifi cations in an economically uncertain year.
- The Supreme Court should give guidance on when employees have the right to legal representation in disciplinary proceedings. The Court will consider whether Article 6 of the European Convention on Human Rights means employees can have their lawyer present (R(G) v Governors of X School).
- A case before the ECJ, Fuchs v Land Hessen, examines whether saving cost can justify a compulsory retirement age. This should provide employers with useful guidance ahead of the removal of the default retirement age.
- Last year, a sacked NHS Trust chief executive won a record £1.2m compensation for whistleblowing. The EAT will hear the employer’s appeal in 2011 (Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust v Watkinson).
- In UCU v Reading University, the EAT will consider whether the failure to renew a fi xed-term contract constitutes a redundancy triggering information and consultation obligations on the employer.
- In what appears to be an increasingly bitter battle, the British Airways plc v Unite dispute will go to trial at the High Court in March. BA is claiming damages in respect of the strikes in March last year. It is the most high-profi le example of a trend of employers using the courts to stop industrial action. We may see further examples with industrial unrest expected in 2011.
- On the other hand, British trade unions are bringing a number of European cases arguing that the balloting and other legal requirements before striking are incompatible with human rights law. In RMT v United Kingdom, the union is complaining that the interests of its members are unduly restricted by UK law in a manner incompatible with Article 11.
- In April the Supreme Court will hear Alemo-Heron v Parkwood Leisure Ltd, which decides whether a transferee is bound by subsequent changes to a third party collective agreement to which it is not party. A reference to the ECJ is a possibility and there may be particular implications for public sector outsourcings.