Employment News Round-Up

Employment law is ever-evolving in its attempt to keep pace

with the changes in a more transient and multicultural society,

and amidst immense technological advances. Here is a round up

of some of the recent developments, some perhaps more welcome

than others.

Employing Illegal Workers

New rules under the Immigration Asylum & Nationality Act

2006 came into force on 29 February 2008 and introduced higher

sanctions if an employer knowingly employs someone without

permission to work in the UK. The liability is now an unlimited

fine and a prison sentence of up to two years. Home Office

figures indicate that in the first 80 days of the new illegal

working regime action was taken against 137 businesses,

compared to only 11 successful prosecutions under the old

regime in the previous year.

Fingerprint Technology and Monitoring Employees

Budgens stores are piloting a scheme in which

fingerprint-based technology is being used to allow employees

to clock in and out of work. Ultimately if successful, the

pilot could mean the use of fingerprint technology to monitor

the movements of employees across the UK.

Corporate Manslaughter

The Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007

is now in force with the aim of making it easier to pursue

successful prosecutions against organisations whose management

failures have led to a death. There will be an unlimited fine

on an organisation where there has been a gross breach of the

duty of care to the deceased.

National Staff Dismissal Registers

A database containing details of employees who have been

accused or dismissed for misconduct is to be launched later

this year. The database will be available to companies by

subscription and is organised by Action Against Business Crime,

who act in partnership with the Home Office and the British

Retail Consortium. Though this has attracted little media

attention there is likely to be considerable protest once

launched as it will enable employers to report former employees

who are merely "accused" of acts of misconduct such

as theft and regardless of whether they were charged, and/or

found guilty. Whilst businesses may welcome the database they

would be advised to be cautious of the potential implications

for litigation.

Sex Discrimination Act - More Liability

Under the new rules employers are required to protect staff

from sexual harassment by customers, suppliers and anyone else

whom the employee may encounter in the course of their work.

Employees will be...

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