Employment and business law bulletin - October 2017

Data Protection: ICO registration and fees are changing

With the implementation of the new data protection rules on 25 May 2018, businesses are likely to see an increase in the £35 data protection fee currently paid to the ICO. We report that the ICO and the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport are in consultation as to what the fee will be and a decision is expected on the issue before 1 April 2017.

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Update: Small Business Commissioner

We report the announcement that Paul Uppal has been appointed as the Small Business Commissioner (SBC). His first task is to establish a website to provide general advice and information to small businesses on matters such as resolving disputes.

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The new Debt Protocol for Business to Consumer Debt Recovery

If you have to take action to recover debt going forward, you should take note of the new Protocol that is in place from 1 October 2017. It is called the Pre-action Protocol for Debt Claims and it describes the conduct that the court would expect of parties, prior to the start of proceedings.

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Whistleblower awarded stigma damages due to evident loss of employability

Businesses and organisations may on occasion find it necessary to supplement their workforce with individuals sourced from agency services. Although the end-user has not entered into a direct contract of service (employment contract) with the worker, it is still possible that the end-user might be viewed as the "employer" of the agency worker. We report how being deemed as an employer may then give rise to potential risks and liabilities, especially if the working relationship later deteriorates and ends unlawfully.

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Sleep-in shifts and National Minimum Wage

This year’s revelation that any employer failing to pay National Minimum Wage (NMW) will run the risk of their employees either filing a complaint with the employment tribunal, or pursuing the matter in court or reporting them to HMRC. This has caused difficulties for many care providers across the UK, and left them trying to balance the needs of the service users with the rights of the staff to receive NMW when undertaking sleep-in shifts.

Read about the difficult experience of a care provider who was caught by this issue

Unfair dismissal of a whistleblower: Non-Executive Directors personally liable

Removing a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) from the Board is never an easy task and one which most businesses approach with a degree of caution. This should be the case even more so now when personal liability is now at risk. The case illustrates how exiting a senior executive without following any legal process and against the background of a protected disclosure complaint, caused two Non-Executive Directors to be personally, financially exposed for the litigation costs arising from the dismissal.

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