IGA News

Be Aware - October 2017

Be Aware - October 2017

29 September 2017

Suspending Employees in Disciplinary Matters

The High Court has recently given a Judgment in which the suspension of an employee pending a disciplinary investigation amounted to a breach of the implied term of trust and confidence. The case has worried many employers.

Facts

In Agoreyo v London & Borough of Lambeth a teacher was suspended because of the force she used with two children. She had not been asked for her response to the allegations at the time of the suspension and there was no evidence of consideration given to any alternative. She resigned in response to the suspension and claimed Constructive Dismissal.

The High Court found, on these facts, that suspension was not a neutral act, at least in the context of a qualified professional in a vocation such as a teacher. This was in the educational sector where there was also statutory guidance for local authorities. The Court’s view here was that suspension was a knee-jerk reaction and must be avoided.

Comment

Although only a High Court case, this authority may be used by Claimants in an Employment Tribunal to try to support claims for Constructive Dismissal arising from suspensions. Employers will argue that this case is limited to its facts in the teaching profession.

The case does show that consideration should be given by an employer to the reason for suspension and any possible alternatives. In this case the teacher was suspended before she had been given any chance to respond to any allegations so it may be wise for employers to at least hold an initial investigatory meeting with the accused, before suspension is considered. Generally, in employment law, suspension should only be used for matters of potential gross misconduct and where the investigation is significantly impeded by the employee’s presence in the workplace.

Are You Ready For The General Data Protection Regulations? Part 5 - Breach Reporting

The GDPR has effectively rewritten the Data Protection Directive, the mainstay of current data protection regime. From May 2018, the GDPR will have a significant effect on your responsibilities when storing data and the uses you can put data to. All businesses are affected, particularly where they use customer details for marketing purposes or exchange them with other businesses in any way. Failure to get this right can result in fines, or worse.

In this the fifth of our series covering this significant change to the law, we look at the requirement for reporting a breach to the Information Commissioner.

Breach reporting

The GDPR includes a requirement to report any breaches to the Information Commissioner without delay, and where feasible within 72 hours. Where the breach also results in a high risk to the rights and freedoms of a data subject you are also required to report the breach to the data subject.

This requirement has the potential to result is a significant number of reports.

The ICO has recently clarified that a report will only be expected where it is likely to result in a risk to people’s rights and freedoms. To quote the ICO,

“if it’s unlikely that there’s a risk to people’s rights and freedoms from the breach, you don’t need to report”

Conclusion

The above is a very broad overview of one aspect of the GDPR. The legislation and guidance is still developing in the weeks and months in the run up to their implementation. This advice is general in nature and we will endeavor to keep you informed through regular articles and case studies.

For further information please visit the Information Commissioner’s Office website here.

Remember, as an RMI member you have access to the RMI legal advice line, as well as a number of industry experts for your assistance. Should you require further information in respect of the article above, contact the legal advice line at any stage for advice and assistance as appropriate.

Compensation for injury to feelings

Compensation for injury to feelings in the Employment Tribunals have long been assessed by reference to the “Vento” bands which set out guidelines for Employment Tribunals to follow.

The Presidents of the Employment Tribunals in England and Wales and Scotland have released a joint response to the recent Vento bands consultation.

In summary, the new bands will apply to any claims issued on or after 11th September 2017 and will be:-

  • Lower band (less serious cases): £800-£8,400
  • Middle band: £8,400-£25,200
  • Upper band (the most serious cases): £25,200 to £42,000
  • Exceptional cases: over £42,000

We understand these bands will be reviewed in March 2018 and thereafter annually.

Stolen Vehicles

“I took a car in part exchange, now the police have contacted me and told me the car was stolen and have seized the vehicle what can I do”

You first need to know more about the allegations, particularly, was the vehicle taken without the permission of the owner or did the owner intend to sell the vehicle but were mistaken or mislead as to who the purchaser was.

Is the vehicle stolen?

Where a vehicle is taken without the permission of the owner then the thief will have no legal title to the vehicle despite having possession of it. With a few exceptions, you cannot receive a better title than the person selling you the vehicle. Therefore, you have no title to the vehicle and will lose it. If you have already sold the vehicle you will have to reimburse the buyer any funds paid and you will be liable to compensation for any losses.

Did the previous owner intend to sell the vehicle?

Fraud is something different. Where the owner of a car intends to sell a vehicle, and pass legal title but the payment details used are fraudulent then title to the vehicle will pass to the ‘fraudster’ unless and until the true owner takes steps to cancel the contract, e.g. by reporting it to the police etc… If you buy the vehicle during this period for a fair price and without knowledge of any fraud, then you will gain legal title to the vehicle even after the fraud is discovered. You will not have to return the car. You will also pass title to any subsequent owner should you have sold it.

The best option remains to avoid the situation where possible. If the vehicle has recently changed owners you should satisfy yourself why it is now being sold. Sufficient identification details should be kept so that you can satisfy yourself of the identity of the person selling the car, their address and that this corresponds to the banking details and the registered owner’s details.

Conclusions

This advice is general in nature and it will need to be tailored to any one particular situation. As an RMI member you have access to the RMI legal advice line, as well as a number of industry experts for your assistance. Should you find yourself in the situation above, contact us on 0845 305 4230 at any stage for advice and assistance as appropriate.