Reed Smith Newsletters

Welcome to our monthly newsletter, with a summary of the latest news and developments in UK employment law.

In this June edition we look at Labour’s proposals for employment law reform, explore developments in AI, and provide an update on the Sexism in the City inquiry.

Case law updates

Employment tribunals – list of issues: Ahead of a hearing, it is usual for the parties to agree a list of issues for determination by an employment tribunal (ET). The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has been considering the status of a list of issues in circumstances where an unrepresented claimant’s claim for discriminatory constructive dismissal had been included in their claim form but did not feature in the list of issues (which had been largely prepared by the respondent). In concluding that the ET should have considered the claimant’s claims, the EAT clarified that a list of issues was a useful case management tool but should not be elevated to the status of a pleading. It was relevant in this case that the claim was clearly pleaded, the relevant circumstances featured in the list of issues, and there was no suggestion that the claim had been withdrawn. Against another factual background, the ET may be entitled to rely more strictly on the list of issues, highlighting the importance of the parties taking time to ensure these cover everything. (Z v. Y)

Employment status – volunteers: The EAT has concluded that a coastal rescue volunteer was a worker in circumstances where there was a requirement for minimum levels of attendance for training and rescues, and where the volunteer had a right to remuneration (to cover costs of volunteering and the disruption caused to his personal life by the unsociable hours), even if it was never claimed. The EAT found, on the facts, that the arrangement gave rise to a provision of services and there was a requirement for personal service, and as a result the volunteer was a worker whilst doing work for which he was entitled to be remunerated. It remains unclear what his status was whilst carrying out activities which were not subject to remuneration. As with many status decisions, the specific facts and circumstances are highly relevant, but this case will be of interest to employers who work with volunteers, especially where there are minimum expectations on volunteering activities and some remuneration is given for the volunteers’ time. (Groom v. Maritime and Coastguard Agency)