The Law Society of Scotland has urged the Scottish and UK governments to undertake an urgent review of employment tribunal fees. It argues that the fees, introduced a year ago, were behind an 81% drop in the number of cases going before tribunals in the UK. The Society added that the fees represent “a major barrier to access to justice”. However, the UK ministers have said that it is “reasonable to expect people to pay” towards the £74m annual cost of the service.

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The Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has ruled that the use of all-female shortlists to get more women in the boardroom is unlawful under equality law. The EHRC’s guidance said: “It constitutes unlawful sex discrimination to select a person for a role because of their gender. The law does not permit positive discrimination when making an appointment or a promotion. However, the law provides scope for companies to address any disadvantage or disproportionately low participation on boards by enabling or encouraging applications from a particular gender, provided selection is made on merit.” The rejection of women-only lists was supported by the Institute of Directors. Oliver Parry, the IoD’s corporate governance adviser, said: “We hope that the guidance issued today will help boards to appoint more women through measures including aspirational targets, wider advertising for posts and mentoring and shadowing programmes.”

The MoJ is looking to reemploy 2,000 prison officers who recently took voluntary redundancy, in response to the rising number of prisoners in Britain’s jails. Former staff have received a letter, seen by the Observer, explaining that Her Majesty’s Prison Service Reserve has been set up to “respond to particular short-term pressures in prisons”, which “may be due to unforeseen increases in prisoner numbers or as a response to the operational pressures which surface from time to time”. The MoJ has so far spent £50m on redundancy payments at an average cost of £35,000 per officer

In Kaltoft v Municipality of Billund (C-354/13) the Advocate General has given the opinion that obesity may amount to a disability for the purposes of the EU Equal Treatment Framework Directive (No.2000/78) but only if it is ‘severe’. The Advocate General thought it probable that only obesity with a body mass index (BMI) of over 40 would hinder an individual’s participation in professional life to such an extent as to amount to a disability. He also rejected the argument that there is a freestanding prohibition in EU law on discrimination on the ground of obesity per se.

Holiday pay claims could cripple small firms

An ECJ ruling giving British workers the right to claim for holiday pay and overtime they are owed running back to 1998 could drive many SMEs out of business, according to research from EFF. The manufacturers’ organisation estimates that an SME in the manufacturing sector with a £30m annual revenue can expect to face a £2.5m bill, with NI and pension contributions adding on a potential £250,000. Neil Carberry at the CBI, said: “We are totally convinced the costs will reach billions and in one sector alone they have estimated £750m.”

The Sunday Telegraph, Business, Page: 3   The Mail on Sunday, Page: 83

Simon Robinson, employment law partner at Gordons, Leeds, is interviewed in the Yorkshire Post. When asked: What law would you like to see changed? Mr Robinson responds: “Costs should be awarded automatically against claimants who bring unsuccessful claims. Even though I’ve secured costs awards for clients on numerous occasions, I’ve been frustrated in other hearings I’ve won where the claimant didn’t have to pay my client’s costs.”

Yorkshire Post, Page: 7