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Today’s employment law changes

A reminder that from today –

The two-year qualifying period for unfair dismissal will not apply where the reason for the dismissal is, or relates to, the employee’s political opinions or affiliation (to comply with Redfearn v UK 2012 in which the European Court of Human Rights held that UK law did not adequately protect those dismissed on account of their political opinions or affiliation). This will not, however, create a new category of automatically unfair dismissal – unfairness will be judged in the usual way.

Hearings in the Employment Appeal Tribunal will be heard by a judge sitting alone, unless the judge directs otherwise.

The following changes to the law on whistleblowing come into force:

  • Qualifying disclosures must be made in the public interest, as well as in the reasonable belief of the worker making the disclosure. This will prevent claims that an employer has breached an individual’s contract from qualifying as protected disclosures.
  • The requirement for a disclosure to be made in good faith in order to be protected has been removed. Instead, tribunals have a new power to reduce compensation by up to 25% if the disclosure was not made in good faith.
  • The concept of vicarious liability for employers has been introduced to protect whistleblowers from bullying or harassment by co-workers.

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