Friday, November 24th, 2017 posted in Inspire News


Look Ma, no hands!

In Sinclair v Tayside Public Transport, the Claimant was a bus driver who was sacked for gross misconduct, namely putting passengers at risk.

The Respondent received a complaint from a member of the public who claimed to have seen the Claimant looking down while driving — as if he was on his phone. An internal investigation was launched and CCTV footage showed that whilst he had not used a phone, he had an electronic cigarette in his hand and was driving using only his thumbs without his hands on the wheel.

The cheeky scamp brought a claim for unfair dismissal.

An employment tribunal in Dundee heard evidence that, during the internal disciplinary proceedings, the Claimant admitted becoming “over-confident” in his driving and that he “should have known better”.

However, he maintained that the risk factor was low because the bus had not been driving at great speed or attempting to turn a corner, which only goes to show just how incompetent he was because everyone knows that if a bus goes slower than 50mph it explodes. Maybe that famous Keanu Reeves bus safety video should be compulsory viewing for drivers at induction. I can’t remember what it was called. The Lake House I think. Anyway, it’s not my job to know.

Back to the case. The claim failed – obvs!

How the flip did this reach a full hearing? There’s no mention in the article about whether a costs order was made but I hope one was. The whole case sounds like a complete waste of everyone’s time and money – like most of Keanu Reeves’ films since The Matrix – apart from John Wick, which was awesome. Fact.

The judgment doesn’t appear to be available so click here to read the article in the paper.

Acas guidance

Those lovely people at Acas have published two new useful pieces of guidance:

  • Click here to read the guidance on pregnancy and maternity discrimination.
  • Click here to read the guidance on sexual harassment.

Employment Law in the News

“Vile” boss accused of sexual assault

A 38-year-old boss allegedly sexually assaulted a 17-year-old trainee in her sleep, Peterborough Crown Court has heard.

Percy Chikobvu (who also worked as a science teacher at Greeton School in Girton) ran a recruitment agency for teachers, which was based at his home.

His alleged victim was not a pupil at the school.

The girl was offered work at Mr Chikobvu’s recruitment agency. She was supposed to be mentored by one of Mr Chikobvu’s female colleagues but after she began her training, he invited her for a night out.

After smoking cannabis and later drinking together in Cambridge they ended up at his house.

The court heard she agreed to stay in his bed with her clothes on but was allegedly woken up by him in the early hours of the morning.

She claimed Mr Chikobvu had pulled down her jeans and pants to her knees as she slept and was “kissing her lower back and buttock.”

She told the police: “I could feel someone pulling down my jeans. I’ve booted him in the chest. I’ve got up, my bra has been undone. I ran downstairs, grabbed my stuff and he came following me down the stairs. He sat on the floor for some reason. As I was about to leave, I said, ‘Percy you’re meant to be my boss, you’re vile and disgusting”‘.

Mr Chikobvu denies the allegation.

Click here to read the article.

Goodman not a good man

A married Ohio lawmaker who routinely touted his Christian faith and anti-LGBT views has resigned after being caught having sex with a man in his office.

Wes Goodman’s Twitter biography says he is “Christian. American. Conservative. Republican. Husband to @Beth1027”, has claimed “natural marriage” occurs between a man and a woman.

Mr Goodman was elected to represent the 87th District, in north-central Ohio, last year. Prior to that, he worked as an aide to US Representative Jim Jordan, a highly conservative, anti-LGBT Republican.

The Human Rights Campaign, the largest LGBT advocacy group in the US, named Mr Jordan in their Hall of Shame in 2014 for attempting to block marriage equality in the District of Columbia.

In 2013, Mr Goodman said: “Faith, family, service, stewardship, strong education, and investment in our local communities are what Ohioans value. My wife Bethany and I value those same things and are ready to get to work to serve you.”

In a statement, acknowledging he was stepping down, Mr Goodman said: “We all bring our own struggles and our own trials into public life.”

I have zero sympathy for the massive hypocrite.

Click here to read the article.

Who’s the boss?

A group of 75 workers are seeking a tribunal ruling that the University of London is recognised, along with facilities company Cordant, as their “joint employer”.

They are supplied to the University of London by Cordant but do not receive the same benefits as those employed directly.

Many organisations pay facilities companies to provide workers who are often low paid. This allows them to control the way people work, determining their pay and conditions, whilst avoiding many of the legal responsibilities of being an employer.

UK law does not recognise the concept of “joint employers” for the purpose of negotiating workers’ terms and conditions.

If established in the UK, unions could collectively bargain the pay, terms and conditions of outsourced workers with the “joint employer” – the employer that chooses to outsource.

The group of workers, which includes porters and receptionists, security guards and post-room staff, are being supported by the Independent Workers Union of Great Britain.

The case could apparently affect around 3.3 million outsourced workers in the UK.

What’s that you say? You think it’s just about the union trying to increase its membership? My word. You are a suspicious one aren’t you?

Click here to read the article.

Funny or not? That is the question

Russell Howard has been criticised for mocking a booklet which advises white people how to avoid offending black and Asian colleagues.   

On his TV show, he played a clip from GMB in which Richard Madeley asks: “Do white people need instructions on how to talk to black and Asian colleagues about race?”

Commenting on the clip, Mr Howard responds: “No! But for some reason – you will not believe this – a booklet has been made telling white people how to talk to ethnic minorities, and it contains helpful advice that nobody would ever f****** need.”

The booklet says: “If you missed the opportunity in primary school to touch a black girl’s hair, it’s a bit too late now.”

Mr Howard asked: “Who is doing that at work? Also who was doing that at school? There were no black girls at my school going, ‘Come on, rub away’. “It’s so insane.”

The booklet also recommends not asking women what they are wearing under their religious dress.

Mr Howard said: “You wouldn’t go up to a nun and go, ‘What we dealing with sister?’”

The comedian said the most unnecessary piece of advice was the recommendation to avoid asking people where they “really come from”.

Click here to read the article.

Email overload

Employers must take action to help workers who feel “enslaved” by the constant need to check and reply to emails outside of work hours, according to a new report by those crazy cats at the University of Surrey.

The report says:

• An increasing expectation to log on and work at all hours is damaging people’s health and and changes must be made to prevent a 24-hour work culture becoming the norm;

• Many employees feel pressured by their employer to constantly be available and to engage in work during non-work time;

• A desire to prove dedication and ‘go the extra mile’ were also found to be why people are working more than their contracted hours;

• Employees can find themselves in a loop where they have been available in the past and so are expected to be available in future; but

• Some employees actually prefer increased access to technology and working outside of office hours because they feel it gives them greater flexibility and makes them more efficient. Therefore, employers should give individuals control over their own working patterns and involve them in any decisions or policies about technology use so employees can reap the benefits of modern technologies without being enslaved by them.

Click here to read the article.

If you would like advice on any of the issues raised in this week’s update, or indeed on any employment law issue, please email me or call me on 0113 468 8523 or 07538 237 920.

Have a great weekend.


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