Important new case on penalty clauses

For the last 100 years, anyone drafting a contract has had to beware of including “penalty clauses”, for breaches of contract, because they aren’t enforceable. The most typical example is where a contract party has to pay a big fine… Read on

Zero hours exclusivity ban in place

On 26 May 2015 s.153 Small Business Enterprise and Employment Act 2015 was brought into force, making exclusivity clauses in zero hours contracts unenforceable. There are, as yet, no anti-avoidance measures in place, but the legislation also gives the Secretary… Read on

Holiday pay – Tribunal re-writes WTR

Lock v British Gas has returned to the Tribunal on the issue of commission pay whilst on holiday. We have previously reported on the similar case of Bear Scotland, relating to overtime pay whilst on holiday (see also our guide… Read on

Changing Staff Handbook Terms

Can an employer unilaterally change the terms of its contractual staff handbook? No, said the High Court in the case of Sparks and another v Department for Transport. Background Generally, a contract may only be amended in accordance with… Read on

Clause allowing changes to contract effective?

Could school change teacher’s contract, which said it was “subject to variation, depending on the requirements of the school timetable”? Background We have recently reported on two cases where employers have tried to change the terms of their employee’s contracts… Read on

Could flexibility clause in contracts be relied on?

Could the National Audit Office change the contract of its employees without their consent, because their contract said that it was “subject to amendment”? No they could not, said the EAT in the case of Norman v. The National Audit… Read on

Forced repayment of training costs lawful

Was it lawful for a company to force their employee to repay their training costs even though this effectively took them below the minimum wage? Yes it was, where the contract was clear about this, and the dismissal was the… Read on

Return of confidential information not possible

Could a company force a director to return confidential documents when there was no clause dealing with this in his employment contract? No it couldn’t, said the High Court in Eurasian Natural Resources v. Judge. Companies will want to make… Read on

Sports Direct backs down on zero-hours contracts

As part of an out-of-court settlement, Sports Direct has agreed to rewrite its job adverts and employment contracts to make it clear that its zero hours staff (nearly 90% of its workforce) are not guaranteed work. Zahera Gabriel-Abrahem, who was… Read on

Bonus payments discretionary

In the case of Brogden v Investec Bank, the High Court considered whether the amount of a bonus pool was discretionary, meaning that Investec was required to act in good faith in calculating it. The bankers in question had received… Read on