17 July 2013

The transcript of the decision of the EAT in the case of USDAW and others v WW Realisation 1 Ltd (in liquidation) and USDAW v Ethel Austin Ltd (in administration) is now available and it confirms our previous report of the case. The EAT held that the words 'at one establishment' should be deleted from section 188 of Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 (“TULRCA”), in order to comply with the European Collective Redundancies Directive (Directive 98/59) (the “Directive”).

The duty to consult has, up until now, arisen where 20 or more dismissals are proposed at one establishment and so the impact of the decision is significant as it changes the current rules on collective consultation in a redundancy situation and extends the requirement to consult to situations involving multiple establishments that may not previously have been caught by the collective consultation obligations.

Any employers currently planning large-scale redundancies need to be aware of this change and should take advice on how it applies to their specific circumstances.

Other changes

On 25 June 2013 a number of employment law reforms came into force.  These include:

  •  a number of whistleblowing reforms, including the introduction of the requirement for the protected disclosure to be in the public interest and the removal of the requirement of good faith
  • protection for workers who have made a protected disclosure from detriment by a co-worker or agent of the employer. (A separate Order has brought this into force and now means that there is vicarious liability for employers whose employees (or agents of the employer) victimise a whistleblower and personal liability for co-workers who victimise a whistleblower)
  • the removal of the two year qualifying period for unfair dismissal claims where the reason for the dismissal was the political affiliation or political opinions of the employee
  • the power for the government to amend the Equality Act to make caste an aspect of race discrimination (but no indication has been given as to when this might be implemented)
  • the power for the Secretary of State to vary the statutory compensatory award for unfair dismissal claims.  No change has been made yet but it is expected that the compensatory award for unfair dismissal will be capped at the lower of 12 months’ gross pay or the existing maximum award (currently £74,200)
  • EAT judges will sit alone at EAT hearings (unless a full panel is ordered)
  • the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board for England and Wales.

If you would like more information, or specific advice on any of these issues please contact Roger Bull.

Key contact

Roger Bull

Roger Bull Managing Partner

  • Managing Partner 
  • Employment Disputes
  • Strategic HR Projects

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