Which employment cases are waiting in the wings for 2015?

Here we round up some of the significant employment law decisions expected in 2015, including legal cases pending on the calculation of holiday pay and the interpretation of the AWR.  Other notable employment judgments expected in 2015 cover: adjustments for disabled people; the meaning of disability; caste discrimination; age discrimination in retirement; equal pay and collective redundancy.

1. Holiday Pay

2014 has witnessed a momentous change in employment law precedents which revolved around how employers should calculate holiday pay.  In May 2014, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that workers’ commission payments must be included in the calculation of their holiday pay.  This case is returning to the UK in 2015 for the employment tribunal to apply the ECJ decision.   An appeal against the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) decision in the case of Lock, that regular non-guaranteed overtime should be included in holiday pay calculations now looks unlikely.

2. Agency Workers

The judgment of an EAT held that workers are afforded protection under the Agency Workers Regulations 2010 only if they are supplied by a temporary work agency to work “temporarily” for the end user (as opposed to permanently). The contentious suggestion in this EAT decision that any open-ended assignment would fail as being “temporary” has recently been heard at the Court of Appeal and the judgment is expected shortly.

3. Equal Pay

Group equal pay claims have conventionally been the reserve of public-sector workers. However, this tradition may be about to change because Asda workers are planning a large-scale equal pay claim in an employment tribunal. Hundreds of female shop workers at Asda are claiming that they do work of equal value to staff in Asda’s male dominated distribution centres.  

4. Collective Redundancy Consultation

In what might be a significant employment law case for large UK employers, the ECJ is considering whether or not the 20 employee threshold for triggering a collective redundancy consultation applies to one ‘establishment’ or the entire organisation.  The EAT in England and Wales has already held that ‘at one establishment’ should be deleted from collective redundancy consultation legislation. The Court of Appeal has referred the issue to the ECJ to be heard together with Northern Irish and Spanish cases on the same issue.

5. Discrimination

Other cases due to be ruled on in the New Year include whether “caste” needs to be added to the definition of “race” under the Equality Act 2010.  A case asks whether the use of regulation that forces police officers to retire “in the general interests of efficiency” amounts to unlawful age discrimination and finally, the Court of Appeal is hearing a case about how employers should treat absence triggers in an attendance policy for the disabled.

Happy New Year!


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