News and Events

Employment Update

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1. Legislation
2. Forthcoming issues
3. Cases


As notified by Henry Scrope on 29th July, the Employment Relations Act 1999 received Royal Assent last week (27th July). No sections have yet been brought into force.

Slightly better publicised in the press was the Disability Commission Act 1999, which also received Royal Assent on 27th July. This establishes a Disability Rights Commission which aims to eliminate discrimination against disabled people and keep the 1995 Act under review. The Commission should be formed before April 2000.


The Health & Safety Commission has issued a Code of Practice to consider prohibiting smoking in the workplace. It encourages employes to agree procedures to minimise exposure to smoke. Failure to adhere is evidence of negligence. Perhaps more importantly, it may strengthen 'SOSR' dismissals when rendering workplaces non-smoking. Comments by 29th October 1999. The Code is available at

The CBI has warned employers that they may be liable for damage to workers' eyesight if they fail to warn them of the risks involved looking at the solar eclipse on 11th August. This may be somewhat dubious advice from a strictly legal point of view, but must be regarded as good practice. It is probably too late to notify clients formally!


Governing Body of Clifton Middle School v Askew, Times, 2nd August 1999, CA

Teachers are employed by local authorities, not school governors. Accordingly there is no TUPE transfer when a school is closed down and another school opened because there is no relevant change of employer.

Bernadone v Pall Mall Services, Times, 2nd August 1999, CA

When a TUPE transfer occurs, a transferor's tortious liability towards an employee injured at work, together with the benefit of the transferor's existing insurance policy, also transfer to the transferee.