Home » Website updates March to April 2021

Website updates March to April 2021

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This page does not apply outside Great Britain.
Last updated 30th April 2021.

Oral assessments and presentations in recruitment

Major review and update of Oral assessments in recruitment, including assessment centres and remote (eg Zoom) assessments, and Presentations in recruitment.

UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement

UK-EU Trade and Cooperation Agreement page updated for the final version of the Agreement (gov.uk) as approved, published in April 2021.`I’ve revised my page with the new link and new Article numberings.

Court of Appeal decision on ‘workers’, following Uber case

In Addison Lee v Lange the Court of Appeal has refused Addison Lee permission to appeal a decision that its minicab drivers were workers. The drivers were therefore entitled to the national minimum wage, and to paid holiday under the Working Time Regulations. Though not at issue in this case, it should also mean the drivers are protected by the Equality Act.

ACAS early conciliation

‘Early Conciliation’ – all claims to go first to ACAS updated.

Important change to Civil Procedure Rules

Important improvements to the rights of disabled people in the Civil Procedure Rules took effect on 6th April 2021. Where these rules apply, including in most County Court and High Court cases, the overriding objective now includes (so far as practicable) ensuring that parties “can participate fully in proceedings”, and that “parties and witnesses can give their best evidence”. A Practice Direction says more on how this is to be achieved. More: Historic inclusion of the rights of disabled and vulnerable people in the Civil Procedure Rules (lag.org.uk) by John Horan.

Added as an update at the top of my Appearing in court page – not yet reflected in the body of that page.

Applying EU law after 31st December 2020

Updates for two Court of Appeal decisions from March 2021:

As to where I’ve added these cases:

I’ve also added a new paragraph in Effect of EU law when interpreting Equality Act from 2021>EU court decisions made after 2020. This says I think that even if the discrimination happened before 1st January 2021, the UK court is not bound by a post-2020 EU court decision (but may have regard to it). Again we await a UK court decision on the point.

Compensation for injury to feelings

Revised ‘Vento bands’ for employment claims started on or after 6th April 2021. These three bands guide employment tribunals on levels of compensation for injury to feelings under the Equality Act.

Stammering starting in adulthood

“Adults new to stammering” support group (stamma.org), a new group started by Stamma and meeting online, added to links at the end of my Stammering starting in adulthood page.

O v TC Facilities Management

In O v TC Facilities Management, 2020, the claimant’s employment was terminated without notice due to his alleged “verbal and threatening behaviour towards management” at a meeting. Part of the problem was him speaking loudly and quickly at the meeting – he had a stammer which caused him to do this when trying to communicate under stress. The employment tribunal rejected his claims for unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal. He did not make an Equality Act claim.

This is only one of at least three cases where a claimant argued that behaviour perceived as shouting or threatening, which led to their dismissal, was a result of their stammer. I’ve added a new section to bring these three cases together: see Losing one’s job>Misconduct, such as sounding “aggressive”.

I’ve also generally reviewed and updated the Losing one’s job page.

Lowe v Cabinet Office

I’ve expanded my page on Lowe v Cabinet Office, a 2011 employment tribunal decision on an assessment centre day. Much of it relates to communication abilities. It’s not an appeal case, so not a binding precedent.

Ms Lowe was unsuccessful in her tribunal claim for reasonable adjustments to an assessment centre for the Civil Service Fast Stream. She had Asperger’s Syndrome. The tribunal said the further adjustments she sought would have meant that important competencies concerning relationships and communication were not assessed. There was compelling evidence that the competencies being assessed were, in practice, required on a daily basis in the workplace.

Examples of jobs

Added to Examples of jobs done by people who stammer/ stutter:

Stammering on BBC prime-time

‘I Can’t Say My Name: Stammering in the Spotlight’ (BBC iPlayer) is now available to watch online. It was shown on BBC One at 7:30pm Wednesday 10th March.

On the Stamma website you can also watch an exclusive interview with Felicity Baker and Sophie Raworth (stamma.org) on reactions to their BBC documentary.

These are linked from Felicity Baker on Examples of jobs done by people who stammer/ stutter.

VL v Szpital Klinicnzy

EU Court decision in VL v Szpital Klinicnzy added. It was decided after 31st December 2020 so British courts are not bound by it but “may have regard to it”. The employer offered a monthly allowance to people submitting a disability certificate after a certain date to encourage more people to do so, but not to those who had submitted a certificate before that date. The EU Court held this could be either direct or indirect disability discrimination, despite the fact that the claimant (who had submitted her certificate before the date) was comparing her treatment with that of other disabled people. The decision may encourage a broader approach to indirect discrimination: see VL v Szpital Klinicnzy>Williams v Swansea case. It also tends to broaden the EU concept of direct discrimination.

20th anniversary of stammeringlaw, 1999-2019