On 25 June 2013 the following important changes to employment law took effect:-  

  • 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. It is no longer necessary for the disclosure to be made in good faith. However, if made in bad faith, the Tribunal can reduce compensation by up to 25%. Also employers can now be vicariously liable for detriments (on the grounds that a worker made a protected disclosure) by other workers to the worker making the disclosure.
  • the two year qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims no longer applies where the reason for the dismissal is the political affiliations or opinions of the employee. This is as a result of the Redfearn case. Bear in mind though that this 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 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 (although it is expected that legislation will not 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.