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Trade Union Recognition + other matters

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1. Compulsory Trade Union Recognition - 6th June 2000
2. Bernadone v Pall Mall (Court of Appeal)
3. Recent EAT Decisions
4. Advertisement - Employment Law Service by CCH.NewLaw


1. Compulsory Trade Union Recognition - 6th June 2000

The provisions of the Employment Relations Act 1999 imposing compulsory recognition of trades unions on employers (if a sufficient number of workers vote accordingly) come into force tomorrow. The commencement order is SI 2000 / 1338 (The Employment Relations Act 1999 (Commencement No 6 and Transitional Provisions) Order 2000).

For a change of such stunning importance, very little has been written about it in the legal or popular press (perhaps because of the length and complexity of the relevant Schedules to the statute!). The unions have been gearing up to 6th June for months. Many employers are going to be caught by surprise.

The following documents have now been published:
- The Trade Union Recognition (Method of Collective Bargaining) Order 2000; and,

- the draft Code of Practice on Access to Workers during Recognition and Derecognition Ballots.

For copies of these documents in Word for Windows format, please REPLY to this Email (ensuring the subject line remains unchanged). This is an automated procedure, so I will not see any correspondence you include in your message.


2. Bernadone v Pall Mall

Subscribers probably spotted the Court of Appeal's decision in Bernadone v Pall Mall (CA, 16.5.00, reported in The Times, 26.5.00).

For those who missed it, the Court of Appeal held that:

(a) tortious liabilities (in these cases, liability for personal injuries which accrued before a TUPE transfer) transfer under the TUPE regulations; and,

(b) the benefit of the transferee's insurance policies will also transfer, so that the transferee's insurance company remains liable to satisfy any judgment, notwithstanding that the judgment is obtained against the transferor.


3. Recent EAT Decisions

These cases are unreported (although some may be reported in due course). All transcripts can be found at

Tchoula v ICTS (UK) Ltd [4.5.2000, HHJ Peter Clark]
An innovative decision from an appellate court which was desperate to interfere with a high award for injury to feelings in a discrimination case. Following a 21-day hearing, and a further 5 days of deliberation, the employment tribunal allowed 3 of the employee's 21 complaints of discrimination. They awarded £27,000 for injury to feelings and aggravated damages. The EAT held that injury to feeling cases should be divided into 'lower value' and 'higher value' cases, the threshold being around the £10,000 mark. Although it could not interfere with the assessment of damages within a 'lower value' or 'higher value' category, if it thought the tribunal had placed the case into the wrong category, it was entitled to correct this and substitute its own view for that of the tribunal. The EAT held that this was clearly a 'lower value' claim and substituted an award of £10,000.

Colt Group v Couchman [12.1.2000, Charles J.]
The issue for the EAT was whether the small employer exemption in the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (now 15, but then 20) applied to companies with less than 20 employees per se, but which were part of a huge national conglomerate (with many more than 20 employees!). The EAT held that the DDA envisaged looking at the number of employees of the company itself - not associated companies - and thus the small-business exemption applied. This is the same decision reached by an earlier division of the EAT in Hardie v CD Northern Ltd. (5.10.99, Lindsay J. - see bulletin dated 16.5.00), but the decision is reached as the result of wholly different arguments.




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