Australia: Proposed changes to the HVNL

The Heavy Vehicle National Law and Other Legislation Amendment Bill 2018 (the Bill) was introduced into Queensland Parliament yesterday to amend the Heavy Vehicle National Law Act 2012 (Qld) (the Act). A copy of the Bill can be found here.

The HVNL is national scheme legislation that, once commenced in Queensland, will apply in all participating states and territories. All states and territories in Australia except for Western Australia and the Northern Territory have adopted the Act.

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Filed under Jurisdiction: Australia, Workplace Health and Safety

EU: Data Use – Protecting a critical resource

Described by some as the “new oil” for the digital economy, there is no doubt that data are now seen as critical for organisations to succeed. Data are a powerful and lucrative fuel for productivity. If not adequately protected, data are vulnerable to leaks that can cause widespread damage, and their true value is only realised once they have been processed and refined. They are, however, an almost infinite resource when compared with the finite supply of oil.

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Filed under Data protection and privacy, Jurisdiction: Cross-border, Jurisdiction: France, Jurisdiction: Germany, Jurisdiction: Spain, Jurisdiction: UK, Resources

UK: Good Work consultations published

Following this morning’s announcement of the government’s response to the Taylor Review (see our earlier blog post), the government has just published its detailed response along with the four consultations trailed.  Links to the relevant documents are below.

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Filed under Employment status (including agency workers, casual workers, use of contractors and 'dispatch' arrangements), Jurisdiction: UK, Working hours (including holiday, sick leave, overtime, rest breaks)

UK: Government responds to Taylor Review with ‘Good Work plan’

The government has this morning issued a press release announcing its response to the independent Taylor Review published last year (see our summary here). The government has given a general commitment to pursue quality of work in addition to number of jobs, but specific proposals are largely limited to better information about and enforcement of rights; decisions on substantive changes to rights have mostly been deferred for yet more consultation.  The press release only mentions firm proposals for the following new rights: Continue reading

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Filed under Employment status (including agency workers, casual workers, use of contractors and 'dispatch' arrangements), Jurisdiction: UK, Working hours (including holiday, sick leave, overtime, rest breaks), Workplace flexibility and family-friendly rights

UK: Sex discrimination – Fawcett Society’s reform proposals

The Fawcett Society has published its Sex Discrimination Law Review, calling for:

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Filed under Jurisdiction: UK, Workplace culture, diversity and discrimination (including bullying and harassment)

UK: Working time rest breaks – compensatory rest must be one continuous period

Employers in certain sectors can rely on the exemption from the ordinary rest break requirements in the Working Time Regulations (or 20 minutes for every 6 hours worked) as long as they provide equivalent compensatory rest. The EAT has confirmed that, in the same way as for ordinary rest breaks, compensatory rest breaks must be a continuous uninterrupted period of at least 20 minutes and cannot be satisfied by a number of shorter breaks totalling more than 20 minutes. Organisations that rely on the compensatory rest provisions should review their policies to ensure compliance. (Crawford v Network Rail Infrastructure)

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Filed under Jurisdiction: UK, Working hours (including holiday, sick leave, overtime, rest breaks)

UK: Surveillance – European decisions highlight right to privacy in the workplace

Two recent decisions – along with the imminent implementation of the GDPR – highlight the importance for employers of reviewing monitoring practices and policies. In Antović and Mirković v Montenegro, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled that it was a breach of two professors’ privacy rights to install surveillance cameras in student auditoriums, with a view to protecting the safety of property and people and monitoring teaching. The ECHR stated that private life may include professional activities taking place in a public context and that the auditoriums should be treated like any other workplace. Given the intrusion that workplace surveillance represents (whether covert or not), the employer here had insufficient justification given that there was no evidence that people or property had been at risk.

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Filed under Data protection and privacy, Jurisdiction: Cross-border, Jurisdiction: Spain, Jurisdiction: UK

UK: Collective bargaining – no obligation on ‘de facto’ employer; risks of direct negotiation with employees

In Independent Workers Union of Great Britain v University of London the Central Arbitration Committee has decided that a union representing employees of an outsourcing company was not entitled to collectively bargain directly with the university to whom their services were supplied. This was so even if the university “substantially determined” the workers’ terms: recognition can only be sought from an employer in respect of its ‘workers’ and to be ‘workers’ individuals must have a contract with the employer. There was no contract here between the university and the individuals (and indeed their employer already recognised a different union for collective bargaining on their behalf). The CAC did not rule on the union’s argument that this is incompatible with Article 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights, as it has no power to make a declaration to that effect.

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Filed under Industrial/workplace relations, collective bargaining, works councils, Jurisdiction: UK

UK: Disability – employers acting on wrong assumptions about medical conditions risk perceived disability discrimination claims

Employers should take extra care when considering rejecting a job applicant because of a concern that a health condition is likely to deteriorate (even if that view is wrong). The statutory definition of disability includes progressive conditions which have an effect on ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities but this effect is not yet – but is likely to become – a substantial adverse effect. An employer’s concern based on an incorrect belief that the condition is likely to deteriorate may amount to a perception that the candidate has such a progressive condition; this will be a perception of disability as defined by statute and therefore an unlawful ground for refusing the candidate. It is not necessary to show that the employer knew the legal definition of disability and considered it satisfied, only that it thought the individual had an impairment with the features necessary to satisfy the definition.

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Filed under Jurisdiction: UK, Workplace culture, diversity and discrimination (including bullying and harassment)

UK: Whistleblowing – rulings on claims against colleagues working abroad, the importance of the employer’s and whistleblower’s motivation, and scope of remedy for detriment

  • In its first ruling on the issue, the EAT has ruled that an employee can bring a whistleblowing detriment claim in an English employment tribunal against their colleagues working overseas provided the “substantial connection” test (previously only applied to claims by an overseas employee against their employer) is satisfied. The tribunal has to assess the strength of the connection between each individual respondent and Great Britain and British employment law. In this case there was a sufficiently strong connection where the claimant and her colleagues all worked under English law contracts with the UK Government in an EU mission in Kosovo. (Bamieh v EULEX)

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Filed under International mobility (including secondments, migrant workers, territorial jurisdiction), Jurisdiction: UK, Whistleblowing