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February 2017 - Gain ISO Certification with Acton Jennings LLP

Posted on Friday 3rd Feb 2017


ISOs are internationally recognised standards. A business that achieves ISO certification has demonstrated a commitment to meeting the standards that are important to that business, its customers or clients and its employees and stakeholders. It is a commitment that is instantly recognizable by the logo that accredited organisations are entitled to display. 
We are, then, naturally delighted to announce that Acton Jennings is now able to provide professional and experienced assistance to help organisations  gain  or maintain ISO certification in three standards -health and safety (OHSAS 18001) , quality (ISO 9001) environmental (ISO 14001).
If you want to find out more follow the link to our website:

Wording of Settlement Agreements

Tax tribunal decisions would seldom impact upon our clients but the case of Campus Living Villages UK v. HMRC and Sexton relates to the wording of a COT3 (the form ACAS use to settle an employment tribunal claim) and Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP).
Ms. Sexton was made redundant when pregnant and claimed unfair dismissal and discrimination on grounds of pregnancy related dismissal. Following ACAS conciliation, her claim was settled by way of a COT3 form. The COT3 wording was the standard “all and any claims relating to [the claimant’s] contract of employment and its termination". Clearly the employer had intended that the payment be made in full and final settlement of all the claims and the matter would therefore be closed.

However, because the claimant remained employed by the respondent within 11 weeks of her expected week of childbirth, she was entitled to SMP. The COT 3 contained no specific reference to SMP. The claimant complained to HMRC that she had not received her SMP.

HMRC held that the claimant was entitled to receive her SMP because the COT3 form did not expressly state that SMP was included in the settlement payment and neither had the employer deducted tax and national insurance contributions, which it should have done if an apportionment of the settlement payment had been SMP. As a separate point HMRC also stated that the claimant's discretionary bonus, which she had received during the SMP calculation reference period, should be used to calculate her average normal weekly earnings for SMP purposes.

The FTT upheld both aspects of HMRC's decision.

Clients need to make us aware if an employee has entitlement to SMP so the wording of the settlement agreement can reflect the fact that the sum payable to the employee incudes SMP. It would also be prudent to identify the SMP component in a breakdown of compensation showing how it was calculated and that it was subject to appropriate tax and national insurance deductions.

One question remains to which we do not have the answer. The employer clearly envisaged that the COT 3 removed the possibility of any further claims being brought by the employee. That it failed in this regard is due, it could be argued, to the wording of the COT3 by the ACAS conciliation officer. Whether the employer has an action against ACAS is a moot point.

Mobility Clauses.

The case of Kellogg Brown & Root (UK) Ltd ~v~ Fitton and another confirms the usefulness of mobility clauses subject to the requirement to act reasonably.

The employer relied on a very wide contractual mobility clause "The location of your employment is ….. but the company may require you to work at a different location including any new office location of the company either in the UK or overseas either on a temporary or permanent basis. You agree to comply with this requirement unless exceptional circumstances prevail.". The actual move was from their workplace in Greenford, which was being shut down, to Leatherhead a distance of 36 miles but of course for individuals it was the distance of their own commutes to and from work that counted. The employees were dismissed for refusing to transfer. They brought tribunal claims.

The Employment Tribunal said that the employees had been unfairly dismissed for redundancy. However, on appeal the EAT said that the dismissals, whilst made against the backdrop of a redundancy situation, were actually for misconduct - namely the employees’ refusal to comply with the instruction to move workplace. Despite this, the EAT said that the employees were unfairly dismissed because

•    the contractual mobility clause was too wide to be enforceable;
•    the employer’s instruction to the two claimants to relocate was unreasonable, given their additional travelling time of  between 20 to 35 hours a week; and 
•    it was reasonable for both employees to refuse to travel to the new workplace because their personal circumstances meant the change was very substantial and the measures the employer had taken to reduce the impact of the workplace change were insufficient.

So although an employer can rely on an express contractual mobility clause to move an employee to a different workplace rather than making the employee redundant, it will be unfair to dismiss an employee who refuses to relocate if the employee's refusal is reasonable.

Bosch Angle Grinder Recall (BN1701A0954)

Bosch Power Tools have discovered during their quality controls processes that, due to a faulty component, the cutting or grinding disc together with the fastening fixture (spindle) could become detached during operation on a limited number of angle grinders.

The devices that are affected were manufactured during February through to August 2016 in Russia. The series numbers of the affected devices are prefixed with GWS 20, GWS 22, GWS 24, PWS 20, PWS 1900, PWS 2000 as well as model GWS 24-230 JVX Professional with brake.

Bosch have advised that, with immediate effect, the angle grinders with the models and serial numbers listed in the table below should no longer be used,  provided to others or sold on.

The affected grinders can be clearly identified by way of the country of manufacture in conjunction with the device and serial numbers.

If your company does have one of the listed models, check if it is one of the affected devices using the following link:

If it is affected, immediately withdraw and prevent the angle grinder being used.

Model                      Device Number                                                                  Serial Number
GWS 20 - 230 H       3601H50L02/3601H50L01                                                606….. 608…..
GWS 20 - 230 JH     3601H50M01                                                                      606….. 608…..
GWS 22 – 180H       3601H81102/3601H81L02                                                606….. 608…..
GWS 22 – 18JH       36018H81M02                                                                  606….. 608…..
GWS 22 – 230 H      3601H82103/3601H82L03                                                  606….. 608…..
GWS 22 – 230 JH    3601H82202/3601H82M03                                                606….. 608…..
GWS 24 – 180 H      3601H83101                                                                     606….. 608…..
GWS 24 – 180 JH       3601H83M01                                                                  606….. 608…..
GWS 24 – 230 H      3601H84101/3601H841P1                                                606….. 608……
GWS 24 – 230 JH    36018H4201/3601H84M01                                              606….. 608…..
GWS 24 – 230 JVX    3601H64505/3601H64U07                                              602….. 610…..
PWS 20 – 230            3603C59W09                                                                  606….. 608…..
PWS 1900                  3603C59W08                                                                  606….. 608…..
PWS 2000 – 230JE     3603CC6000-3603                                                         606….. 608…..


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