The legal profession has been resilient and innovative in the face of unprecedented challenges over the past two years.
To ensure that you can continue to provide your clients with the solutions they require, our new Scots Law series, Practical Advice Beyond Disruption, looks at the crucial next phase in eight key practice areas.
Employment law has been a particularly busy area of practice as a result of the pandemic. This will be reflected in our online Employment Conference with detailed discussions on the challenges of hybrid working and the employment issues arising from health and safety considerations. Away from Covid-19, the options available to employers who want to change terms and conditions will be considered together with the future of collective bargaining and the inherent tensions in senior employment contracts.
With key developments in employment status and discrimination also being looked at, join us and our panel of experts who will consider possible solutions to the following questions to help your practice and guide the advice you provide to your clients:
Questions to be considered will include:
will the return to the office prompt more detriment and dismissal for health and safety reasons claims?
how do you deal with the legal challenges resulting from increased hybrid working?
what options are available to an employer who wishes to change terms and conditions of employment?
how do you resolve the tensions in senior employment contracts?
what is the impact of Kostal on employers’ options in the face of stalled collective bargaining negotiations?
how is the distinction between employees, workers and the self-employed currently being made?
what developments in discrimination law should you be aware of?
What's being covered?
Reimagining the workplace: hybrid working - the key legal issues
This session will focus on the key legal considerations for employers implementing hybrid or ‘blended’ flexible working arrangements which have proven successful in terms of productivity and cost savings for significant numbers of businesses. A hybrid working offering has become critical for employers seeking to attract and retain talent, with employees now having an expectation that hybrid working will be available. Despite the benefits which have become apparent as a result of the pandemic, hybrid working comes with a number of challenges, including additional legal issues. Topics covered will include potential legislative changes following the conclusion of the UK government consultation on ‘making flexible working the default’ on 1 December 2021, the interaction with the right to request flexible working, two tier workforce risks, confidentiality and data protection implications, employee monitoring, discrimination and the nature and extent of restrictions placed on employees when not in the office (e.g. the location they work from and to what extent an employer can impose requirements which may impact on home/family life).
Lorna Davis, Harper Macleod LLP
Detriment and dismissal for health & safety reasons
The prospect of employers facing a wave of claims under ss.44 and/or 100 of the Employment Rights Act 1996 has made headlines throughout the pandemic. This talk will consider the extent to which such fears came to pass, the success or otherwise of the cases that were brought on these bases, and the extent to which the gradual return to pre-pandemic working practices poses the risk of creating a new variant of ss.44/100 claims.
Changing terms and conditions of employment
As the workplace continues to change, many employers are struggling with historic terms and conditions which are no longer fit for purpose. This session will look at the options available to an employer who wishes to change terms and conditions of employment. The session will include consideration of the ACAS guidance published in November 2021 relating to the practice of "fire and re-hire".
Tony Hadden, Brodies
Restraint of trade or protection of legitimate business interests?
We’ll look at the tension between what employers may want in contracts with their senior people and what employees may be prepared to agree to. Focusing on the clauses that should be included in senior contracts, we’ll look in particular at: post-termination restrictions; confidentiality and confidential information; fiduciary and other duties owed by employees; termination with or without notice; and changes to contractual terms.
Marie Macdonald, Miller Samuel Hill Brown
Kostal and the future of collective bargaining
In Kostal UK Ltd v Dunkley & Ors decision of the UKSC in October 2021, the Court decided that an employer could try to agree changes to terms and conditions outside of a collective bargain if negotiations with the union on the changes had been exhausted. The decision has reignited interest in the legal status and mechanics of collective bargaining and in this talk, we will revisit some of the law relating to collective bargaining and in particular consider the impact of Kostal on employers’ options in the face of stalled negotiations.
Joan Cradden, Brodies
Recent developments on employment status
This session will look at recent developments in relation to employment status. It is recommended viewing for those who advise on employment status and rights relating to employees, workers and the self-employed. It will provide delegates with an understanding of: the legal distinction between employees, workers and the self-employed including associated rights and protections; the relevance of employment status within modern business structures, including the gig economy; and the latest case law on 'employee', 'worker' and 'self-employed' status including the Supreme Court decision in Uber BV v Aslam and Others.
Katie Russell, Burges Salmon
Katy will discuss some of the most recent developments in discrimination law in the last year, including: competing protections of protected characteristics in light of Maya Forstater’s successful appeal to the EAT from the tribunal which held that her gender critical feminist beliefs were not a protected characteristic under the Equality Act 2010; menopause as a protected characteristic; employees’ vaccination status and disability considerations; ethical veganism as a protected characteristic; religious belief discrimination and wearing of headscarves at work; and the “reasonable steps” defence to a claim of harassment.