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All blog posts from Amanda Doyle Law Services

Distance Selling laws

The Office of Fair Trading has launched its Distance Selling hub, a very useful online resource for businesses which buy and sell goods on line, by mail order, interactive TV etc…

By |5 August 2011|

New rules on the use of cookies

New rules, the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) (Amendment) Regulations 2011, came into force on the 26th May 2011. These change the law around the use of “cookies”. Instead of a simple obligation for websites to be clear about their use of cookies there is now a requirement to obtain opt-in consent…

By |14 June 2011|

The Agency Worker Regulations 2010

The Agency Worker Regulations 2010 come into effect on 1 October 2011 and they give agency workers some significant new rights…

By |13 May 2011|

BIS Employment Law Review

2011 has been a bumper year so far for new employment laws and this despite the fact that the Government has an on-going review of employment law in its efforts to reduce business red tape! The Department for Business Innovation and Skills yesterday announced the next steps in that review and it will be looking at the arguments for reforming:

  • the unlimited compensation currently available in discrimination claims believed by some employers to encourage vexatious claims;
  • the consultation period for collective redundancies which many employers consider hinders their ability to restructure effectively; and
  • the TUPE regulations, seen by some employers as “gold-plating” the protections required under EU law.

Who knows whether any of this will eventually reduce the burden on UK business – don’t hold your breath!

See:

http://nds.coi.gov.uk/content/detail.aspx?NewsAreaId=2&ReleaseID=419433&SubjectId=2

By |12 May 2011|

Bribery Act 2010 – Update

The Ministry of Justice finally announced last week that the Bribery Act 2010 will come into full effect on 1st July 2011. For more details on the Act see Bribery Act 2010.

The Act has come under much criticism for being too general with many commentators suggesting that it is so wide it will sound the death knell for corporate entertainment.

Despite all the criticism the Coalition Government has decided to bring the Act into force as originally drafted but, at least in response to that criticism, the MoJ has issued guidance about which procedures commercial organisations can put in place to prevent bribery.

The Serious Fraud office and Director of Public Prosecutions have also issued guidance on how they will approach decisions on whether or not to prosecute under the Act.

This guidance will be of help to you in deciding what steps you need to take to ensure compliance with the new Act but one thing is for sure – they will not give you a clear / concrete blueprint. Businesses are going to have to make some judgement calls around how they address the issue.

See:

http://www.justice.gov.uk/guidance/making-and-reviewing-the-law/bribery.htm

http://www.sfo.gov.uk/media/167348/bribery act joint prosecution guidance.pdf

By |6 April 2011|

UK Government to review intellectual property laws

See:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11695416

By |5 November 2010|

Government considers restricting unfair dismissal rights

In an interview with Radio 4”s Today program on 1 Nov, Lord Young revealed that the Government is considering increasing the period before an employee can bring a claim for unfair dismissal from 12 months to 2 years.

This was the position during the 80’s and 90’s, although it was as low as 6 months in the 70’s.

Whilst this news may bring some relief for employers and consternation for employees you should remember that there is no qualifying period for a discrimination related claim. If this change does take place, perhaps all that will happen is the number of standalone unfair dismissal claims will reduce but discrimination claims will increase?

http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9144000/9144977.stm

By |2 November 2010|

European Commission takes UK to court over web privacy

The European Commission is taking the UK to court for failing to comply with EU rules on internet privacy.

For details see:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11443734

By |8 October 2010|

Equality Act 2010

It cannot have escaped your notice that a new Equality Act came into force on 1st October 2010. There has been a good deal of commentary in the press and on-line about this Act and on that basis alone you could be forgiven for thinking that there has been a revolution in the equality laws in the UK.

In reality much of the Act simply replaces the numerous existing anti-discrimination laws (nine different acts) with one single Act. This simplifies the law, making it easier for people to understand and comply with it. So despite all the “noise” much of the new Act is business as usual.

There are, however, some key changes businesses should be aware of in relation both to their staff and customers. The major changes are:

  • Protection applies to people who are discriminated against because they are perceived to have a disability or gender reassignment. Previously protection only went as far as actual disability or gender reassignment. Discrimination on grounds of perceived race, sexual orientation, religion or belief or age was already covered in existing legislation.
  • Protection now clearly applies to people who are discriminated against because they are associated with someone who has a protected characteristic. For example protecting carers who are caring for a disabled child or relative. Previously the law was inconclusive on whether this was the case in all circumstances.
  • It is unlawful for employers to ask job applicants questions about disability or health before making a job offer, except in specified circumstances.
  • Confidentiality clauses that prevent employees discussing their salaries are unenforceable and employees cannot be disciplined for such discussions.
  • It is clear that mothers can breastfeed their children in places like cafes and shops and not be asked to leave.

Even before the new Act this was a broad and complex area of law. The Equality and Human Rights Commission has produced statutory Codes of Practice and a starter guide full of practical advice and training modules for service providers and employers that may help in navigating through the maze.

See:

http://www.solicitorsjournal.com/section.asp?navcode=123 and

http://www.equalityhumanrights.com/advice-and-guidance/new-equality-act-guidance/equality-act-starter-kit/

By |5 October 2010|

IR35 victory for the contractor- Novasoft and HMRC

In a recent case described as borderline by a tax tribunal held in Manchester, it was ruled that Novak Brajkovic IT analyst and director of his company Novasoft Limited, was not subject to IR35 legislation.

The legislation, which came into force on 6 April 2000, allows HMRC to tax IT contractors employed by a business through an intermediary as if they were direct employees of the business.

In reaching its conclusion that Mr Brajkovic was self employed, the Tribunal looked at a broad range of factors, from the fact that he had no typical employee benefits to the fact that he had no contractual right to substitute another person to perform the work. In short the Tribunal decided it was necessary to look at the “overall picture painted”.

Clearly IR35 cases will continue to be decided on their individual merits but independent contractors may indeed take some heart from this case.

To read the case in full:

http://www.bailii.org/cgi-bin/markup.cgi?doc=/uk/cases/UKFTT/TC/2010/TC00456.html

By |4 October 2010|