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Employment Case Law Update – 2021 So Far

Here at ViewHR we like to stay up-to-date with the latest employment law cases, and the impacts these may have for employers.  2021 has been a busy year so far!  In this blog we look at some key cases, and their implications, that we believe it may be useful for employers to be aware of.

Uber BV and others v Aslam and others

In February, the Supreme Court ruled in the much-publicised case regarding the question of whether or not Uber drivers were self-employed[1].  Uber has insisted throughout the case, which has been through various stages of appeal since it was first brought in 2016, that drivers were self-employed and therefore not entitled to the National Minimum/Living Wage or holiday pay, however the Supreme Court disagreed, ruling that the drivers should be considered as workers (with the commensurate rights).  Alongside the upcoming changes to IR35 regulations, this case highlights that it is important for companies to ensure that the people who do work for them are allocated the correct status as self-employed, a worker or an employee.

Royal Mencap Society (Respondent) v Tomlinson-Blake

In March, the Supreme Court gave it’s much-anticipated judgement in the long-running case of Royal Mencap Society (Respondent) v Tomlinson-Blake.  This case concerned the question of whether or not sleep-in workers (in this case, within the care sector) were entitled to receive the National Minimum/Living Wage, a question which had caused many years of uncertainty within the care sector.  The Supreme Court ruled that only time spent awake and working during a sleep-in that counts as working time for the purposes of entitlement to the National Minimum/Living Wage.

Asda Stores Ltd v Brierley and others

In March, the Supreme Court ruled against well-known supermarket chain Asda on the topic of Equal Pay.  This case was brought by 35,000 shop floor workers at Asda, and related to rates of pay for predominantly female shop floor staff, which compared unfavourably with largely male distribution centre employees.  Asda had argued that the two were not comparable, as the two groups of workers are not based at the same establishment, however the Supreme Court disagreed, meaning that any discrepancy in pay between the two roles could constitute a failure to pay men and women equally.  It is estimated that the compensation due to the shop floor employees could amount to £500m, however this has not been decided at the time of writing this blog.

And finally, one to watch:  Flowers and others v East of England Ambulance Trust

In June, the Supreme Court is due to consider the case of Flowers and others v East of England Ambulance Trust.  This case centres around the question of whether voluntary overtime should be included in the calculation of holiday pay under the Working Time Directive.  A decision at appeal ruled that it should, in situations where the overtime was paid “regularly”.  How to calculate holiday pay is something we are asked about regularly here at ViewHR, and so this case could have a bearing on quite a few employers.

For further updates, and blogs on a range of HR topics from Absence to whistleblowing, please visit our website and follow ViewHR on LinkedIn.