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For the purposes of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA), someone has a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. If an impairment ceases to have such an effect, it is to be treated as having that effect if it is likely to recur.

Director Given Community Service After Construction Worker Dies

A company director has been given 100 hours’ Community Service and ordered to pay £6,000 costs, following the death of a construction worker.

Norman Ellis, director of Q Homes (Yorkshire) Ltd., pleaded guilty to a charge under the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 that the company had failed to discharge its duty to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare of an employee, Andrew Bridges.

New measures designed to tackle illegal migrant working came into force on 29 February 2008. These measures, contained in the Immigration, Asylum and Nationality Act 2006, include:

a system of civil penalties for employers who employ illegal migrant workers – the maximum civil penalty per illegal worker is £10,000;
a new criminal offence for employers who knowingly employ illegal migrant workers – this offence now carries a maximum two year prison sentence and/or an unlimited fine; and

Equal pay claims have been much in the news lately with many councils facing the threat of legal action by trade unions on behalf of low-paid female workers not being paid the same rates as men performing similar jobs. The Equal Pay Act 1970 makes it unlawful for an employer to discriminate between men and women in terms of their pay and conditions where they are doing the same or similar work, work rated as equivalent or work of equal value.

The Court of Appeal has overturned the decision of the Employment Tribunal (ET), upheld by the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), that an employee was unfairly dismissed because his employer had taken account of an expired disciplinary warning when deciding to dismiss him (Airbus UK Ltd. v Webb).

Following a Remedy Hearing of the Cardiff Employment Tribunal (ET), the Diocese of Hereford has been ordered to pay £47,345 in compensation to youth worker, John Reaney. Mr Reaney, who is gay, won his claim of discrimination under the Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003.


Informing and Consulting Employees – Be Prepared

A recent prosecution by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) serves as a warning to company directors and business owners of the importance of implementing comprehensive, safe systems for working at height.

The Employment Equality (Sexual Orientation) Regulations 2003 prohibit victimisation and harassment as well as other forms of discrimination in the workplace based on sexual orientation.

A recent case raised the question of whether an association could consist of a single person. Whilst the question might not seem to be of tremendous interest per se, it was in the case in point because the association had assets of more than £1¾ million.

In an interesting court case about health and safety at work and the legal liability of employers for health and safety breaches at work, the court heard how an employee was injured when a 50kg sack of basmati rice fell onto the back of his neck. The man’s employer, East End Foods plc, pleaded guilty to failing to take reasonable care of the health and safety of its employees under Section 2(1) of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974. The company was fined £25,000 with £28,000 costs.

As of 6 April 2008 the Control of Noise at Work Regulations 2005 are extended to the music and entertainment sectors. For other industry sectors these Regulations have been in force since April 2006, but the music and entertainment industry was given a two-year transitional period before implementation of the Regulations.


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