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Humour in the workplace is something most people would surely encourage. Let’s face it, we spend around half our waking hours at work and if we can’t have a laugh, it would be a sad day.
In an employment context, are employers required to meet the legal fees of employees when they get into trouble with the law.
The problem stems from the Holidays Act itself, which is antiquated, complicated and fails to cater for modern working arrangements.
These technical wonders of a smartphone can perform a multitude of handy functions and go everywhere with us. One of the more contentious functions is the ability of these phones to record high quality digital sound. When this is done covertly it can lead to trouble.
It has become disturbingly common to read about teachers losing their jobs and then being disciplined by the Education Council.
The incident attracted worldwide attention last week and was featured by US based comedian, John Oliver on his HBO Show.
There is another legal twist relevant to Butler’s case, in that it is arguable that she was expressing a political opinion regarding the TPPA and should be free to do so. Expression of political opinion is protected under the Human Rights Act 1993.
While record keeping requirements might sound dull and technical, the Authority has made it clear that these matters are not viewed as minor failings. The reality is that employers are required by law to keep accurate documentation, and can expect to be penalised if they don’t comply. Further, where a disgruntled employee brings a wage recovery claim, in the absence of clear records, proving otherwise, the Authority may simply accept the claims.
One of the striking developments in employment law in 2015 was a trend towards former employees being ordered to pay massive damages awards and penalties to former employers, where they had breached their obligations to them.
So what are the rights of workers left out of pocket? When a company is placed into liquidation, a process of settling its outstanding debts kicks into action. A liquidator is appointed to gather together any available money and assets, and then distribute these proceeds amongst creditors.
The law sets out who gets preference – at the top of the list are secured creditors, then come preferential creditors including the liquidator, followed only then by employees. Unsecured creditors get to fight over what’s left after that, if anything.
WorkSafe Guidelines have led to an increase in consciousness amongst employees of what bullying is and is not, and in turn a rise in bullying claims.