Employment and Labor Law


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Contracts of employment are binding on both parties but, if changes need to be made by the employer, what is the best way to do this? Usually the first step is to seek employees' agreement. If no agreement can be reached, the employer can attempt to impose changes unilaterally (risking constructive dismissal and breach of contract claims) or dismiss employees and offer them re-engagement on new terms and conditions (risking unfair dismissal claims). If an employer chooses to impose changes unilaterally, it is not always clear when an employee can be taken to have agreed.

Read more: When can there be a deemed acceptance of changes to terms and conditions of employment contracts?


Last month, in an effort to clarify what types of employee handbook rules are lawful under the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA”), the General Counsel of the National Labor Relations Board (“NLRB”) issued new Guidance on the topic. Determining which rules are permissible and which may violate the NLRA has troubled both union and non-union employers in recent years due to the Obama-era NLRB’s tendency to find that standard handbook rules (e.g. those on basic civility, insubordination, confidentiality, etc.) violate employees’ rights to engage in “concerted activity” for “mutual aid and protection” under Section 7 of the NLRA.

Read more: Clarity on Legality of Work Rules Under NLRA has Arrived!


Authors: Matthew Smith and Debra Gers

The recent judgment of the Supreme Court in Pimlico Plumbers Ltd v Smith is undoubtedly the most significant decision of the recent employment status cases which impact in particular the so-called "gig economy".
Almost seven years after bringing his Employment Tribunal claim, the highest Court in the country has now upheld the earlier decisions of the Employment Tribunal, the Employment Appeal Tribunal and Court of Appeal that Gary Smith was a "worker" and not "self-employed" and, as a result, had the right to the national minimum wage and paid holiday.

Read more: Landmark decision for \"gig economy\" workers in the UK


Authors: Mark Brookes and Tom Pepper

When a claimant has suffered loss as a result of a person’s negligence in the course of that person’s ordinary employment, the person’s employer will usually be vicariously liable for the actions of its employee.

A recent Queensland Court of Appeal decision has indicated that in Queensland, it may still be possible for an employer to seek a contribution or indemnity from an employee whose negligent acts have exposed the employer to legal liability to a third party, if the employee’s acts amount to a breach of an implied term in their employment contract to exercise due care and skill in discharging their role.

Read the entire article.


Author: Scott J. Wenner

On Monday, June 4, the United States Supreme Court (“Court”) announced its decision in the highly publicized Masterpiece Cakeshop case. Employers and business owners were among many closely watching this case, hoping for insight on how to handle complicated situations involving competing rights of business owners, customers and/or employees, where charges of discrimination could result regardless of the employer’s or owner’s response. The Court’s decision in this case did not create any new law to guide businesses, but it does further highlight the need for employers to create processes to recognize and effectively manage the risks that arise when religious beliefs and expression intersect with antidiscrimination rights and protections.

Read more: No Clear Answers for Employers: Colorado Baker Who Refused to Create Wedding Cake for Same Sex...