Policy News Journal - 2016-17

The Chartered Institute of Payroll Professionals ……………………………………………………………Policy News Journal

The Court also said that the average age of the police force is significantly rising, and it is therefore essential to plan for the replacement of older officers by recruiting younger staff. A young police officer is able to perform physically demanding tasks more effectively, it said, and "with a view to re-establishing a satisfactory age pyramid, the possession of particular physical capacities should be envisaged dynamically, taking into consideration the years of service that can be accomplished by a police officer after he or she has been recruited". Employment law expert Linda Jones of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com said: "This is a surprising decision, given that it appears to be based on an assumption that people over 35 are less fit and it may open the door for other employers to impose age limits when recruiting into roles involving a high degree of physical work."

With thanks to Pinsent Masons for providing this summary.

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Vicarious Liability: Assault at Christmas Party 20 December 2016

Is a company vicariously liable for injuries caused by an employee after a work Christmas party has ended?

No, held the High Court in Bellman v Northampton Recruitment .

The case involved an assault of a manager by a director after a Christmas party. Following a work Christmas party the two, along with other colleagues, went on to a hotel and continued drinking until the assault occurred at 3.00 am. The assault caused serious brain injury to the manager and the decision was taken to sue the company, and in effect its insurers, rather than the director personally. The question arose whether at the time the director struck the blow, was he 'acting in the course or scope of his employment" so as to make the company vicariously liable? The Judge held that the company could have been liable if the blow had been struck during the Christmas party itself, but the assault in the hotel occurred after the party during a private drinking session and so the company was not vicariously liable. The judgment provides useful analysis of the authorities on various liability, and a timely reminder to companies that they could be held responsible for improper behaviour at works events, especially where alcohol is flowing freely.

With thanks to Daniel Barnett’s employment law bulletin which provided the details of this case.

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Medical Evidence not required for Personal Injury Awards in Tribunal 6 January 2017

Does an employee have to provide an expert report when bringing a personal injury claim in the employment tribunal?

No, held the EAT in Hampshire County Council v Wyatt .

An employment tribunal held that a suspension meeting was an act of unlawful discrimination because of the manner in which the suspension was communicated, which it found caused, or materially contributed, to the Claimant's depression. The employment tribunal awarded the Claimant damages for personal injury without any expert medical evidence of her psychiatric injury and its extent. The EAT held that, although it is advisable for Claimants to obtain medical evidence of personal injury in such claims, there is no principle of law suggesting that an award cannot be made in the absence of expert medical evidence. The EAT noted, however, that a failure to produce medical evidence risks a lower award than might otherwise be made, or no award being made at all.


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