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The United Kingdom employment law is not a single piece of legislation, rather it is a set of Acts and codes which has been implemented over the years in the region depending on the needs and rights of the employers as well as the employees. it can be hence, stated that the major source of the United Kingdom employment Law assignment is legislation and statutes. The presented submission is on the cases faced by the company Spotless Cleaning Solutions. The report is presented outlining three cases and instances which is been faced by the company by four of the employees who are unwilling to attend the training programme of three days outside the locality. The four employees have been two single mothers who are unable to attend the programme as they could not leave their children for two days, a senior salesman Richard Buff whose ex-girlfriend is expecting to deliver their baby and Yasmin Fogger who had a bad experience of injuries in a previously attended program.
The report highlights the legislations of Employment Rights Act 1996, Workmen Compensation Act 1923, Health and Safety at Workplace Act 1974 and Equity Act 2010 and various other employment rules and regulations. Briefly, the company shall face the possible claims of compensation from Yasmin Fogger, a claim of rejection of paternity leave by Richard Buff and a claim of rejection to permit the two female single mothers and exempting them from the training.
Facts of the case
Spotless Cleaning Solutions Ltd was a company founded in the year 2006 by Joan and Margery who sold the company on retirement to Dave. The new owner Dave planned the growth of the company by implementing various strategies which could improve teamwork within the employees and hence, he planned a two-day trip where the employees shall remain away from home and practice certain tasks which shall boost enthusiasm and teamwork among the employees. it was also stated that the trip was a compulsion for the employees and many employees responded positively towards it. Whereas, three employees were not willing to attend the trip. The employees were two female members who stated that they were single mothers and could not leave their children alone for two days. There was also a senior salesman Richard Buff who stated excuse on the ground that his girlfriend was about to give birth that week and hence, he shall be on paternity leave. Another employee was Yasmin Fogger who was recently recruited who stated that she was not mentally prepared to attend the trip as her experience of a similar trip was not good and she suffered mental trauma due to which she was unable to work for several months. All the demands of the three employees were rejected and soon the three employees signed a formal letter stating that attending the trip would exceed their weekly working hours to more than 48 hours but this contention was too rejected by Dave.
On the last day of the trip, while Yasmin Fogger was completing one of the tasks, she slipped from a slope causing a serious head injury and also broke her arm. She was admitted to hospital and she shall not be able to work for several months. Such an accident has given rise to several issues that shall be faced by the company Spotless Cleaning Solutions Ltd and these issues shall be discussed further.
Legal issues faced by the company Spotless Cleaning Solutions
As per the facts mentioned in the scenario, there are three claims which the company could face. The claims are from the side of the four employees who are unwilling to attend the training program due to their issues. The three claims to be faced by the company is as follows:
As per the United Kingdom employment laws, the companies shall make the workers and employees work only for 48 hours per week. But it is on the employees if they wish to opt-out from working for only 48 hours per week. As per the first issue of the single mothers, firstly, the company is making them work more than 48 hours a week. As per the Working Time Regulations 1998, the companies are not allowed to force the workers to work for more than 48 hours per week unless the workers have opted out from working more. Apart from this regulation, there is also application of Section 57A of the Employment Rights Act 1996 which provides that the employees are permitted to take time off from their working hours if they have dependents. In the first case, the two single mothers are unwilling to attend the training program as they have small children who cannot be left alone for two days. The rejection of their application for this reason by the company is a violation of the employment rights of the two workers (Aylott, 2018).Hence, the matter can be brought up before the tribunal where the two single mothers can claim compensation from the company for the violation of their rights under the enacted statute. Moreover, the company is also in violation of making the workers work for exceeding hours as per the regulations. Hence, the company shall also face an issue under the Working Time Regulations 1998.
The second claim which the company shall face is by the senior salesman Richard Buff who is unwilling to attend the training due to the pregnancy of his ex-girlfriend who is about to deliver their child in the same week. On analysing the facts, it has been observed that the provision of Section 80A of the Employment Rights Act 1996 is made applicable in this case as this provision provides for paternity leave of the employees. This provision states that if the employee satisfies the employer the need for paternity leave, the employer shall give him leave for a requisite time. Hence, the company shall face a claim before the tribunal as the company has rejected the application of Richard Buff for his leave and forced him to attend the training program (Cabrelli, 2020).
The third issue faced by the company shall be the claim of compensation from Yasmin Fogger as she has sustained serious injuries on the last day of the training camp. Due to her past bad experience of injuries, she refused to attend the training program but the company forced her to attend and also told her that disciplinary action shall be taken if the employees refuse to attend the program. As a result, Yasmin Fogger has sustained a broken arm and also mental trauma which shall lead to her absence from duty for several months. The company shall face the claim of compensation from Yasmin Fogger and also the claim of salary during the months for which she shall be absent from her duty (Fagan, et. al., 2017).
The facts provided in the scenario provides for three different situations which may be faced by the company Spotless Cleaning Solutions. The first being the case of two single mothers, the second of Richard Buff and the third of Yasmin Forger. In each of the cases, there are chances of success in the claims but on the other hand, it has been analysed that the company is also a benefit at some places. As the matter shall be brought before the tribunal, some provisions are in support of the four employees but there are also provisions supporting the decision of the company.The strengths and weaknesses of each case are being outlined below:
Case 1: Two single mothers
As per the facts of the case, the two single mothers were not able to attend the training program as they cannot leave their children at home for two days. But the company forced them to attend the program and also stated that disciplinary action shall be taken if they refuse to attend the training session. Hence, the claim of the two mothers can succeed under the provision of Section 57A of the Employment Rights Act 1996 which provides that the employees can take time off from their working hours if they have dependents to look for. The section provides for children, spouses, old parents as dependents (Kasmuri, et. al., 2021). Further, it is also identified that the matter, in this case, shall be referred to the tribunal as Section 57B provides that the employees can take the matter before the tribunal against the employer. Reference of the case Qua v. John Ford Morrison Solicitors  ICR 482can be taken in which Mrs Qua was absent from her work for 17 days due to the medical condition of her young son. She did not inform her employer but Cox J held that Mrs Qua has not done anything wrong as the provision under Section 57A does not require to give a daily update of being absent from work.
But the weakness has been also identified in this case which is the exception for Section 57A of the Employment Rights Act 1996 which provides that the employees are only allowed to take time off from the working hours to make necessary arrangements for the dependents. This section provides that if the employees have reasonable time to make necessary arrangements for the dependents, they shall not be allowed to take additional time off from working hours. The training program was not at an immediate date and the two single mothers had enough time to make necessary arrangements for their children (Rose and Busby, 2017).
But to succeed in the claim, there is an additional requirement of information and in this case, it shall be important to know whether the employees applied for time off within reasonable time or not. If the application was filed within a reasonable time, the employees have a chance o succeed.
Case 2: Senior salesman Richard Buff
The facts of the second case state that the senior salesman Richard Buff was about to take paternity leave for the delivery of his ex-girlfriend who was about to deliver their child in the same week. On applying the provision of Section 80A of the Employment Rights Act 1996, it has been identified that Richard Buff is entitled to take paternity leave from his work as this provision allows the employees to take the leave in such respect. Hence, the strength of this case lies in the statutory provision of Section 80A of the Act. But the weakness of the case lies in the relation between Richard Buff and his girlfriend as they both are not present in the relationship. Hence, the tribunal may reject the claim of Richard Buff stating that the current relation of both Richard and his girlfriend does not exist. Further, information required to succeed in this case is whether Richard is still in connection with his ex-girlfriend and that whether she requires Richard’s presence during her maternity or not (O’Brien and Twamley, 2017).Hence, Richard shall be required to present a written statement of his girlfriend stating that she requires his presence during her maternity.
Reference of the case Cumming v. British Airways Plc UKEAT/0337/19/JOJcan be taken in which the Employment Appeal Tribunal held that an employer is entitled to get paternity leave for 18 weeks to take care of the child. The tribunal also held that this provision is equal for both males and females.
Case 3: Yasmin Fogger
As per the facts of this case, Yasmin Fogger was injured on the last day of the training. She was unwilling to attend the training as she had a bad experience in the past attending such training sessions. She was injured and was absent from her work for 8 months. The strength of this case lies in the claim of compensation that Yasmin could claim from the company for the injuries she has sustained. Further, she can also succeed in claiming for salary for the months she shall be absent from her work. On application of Section 64 of Employment Rights Act 1996, it can be stated that Yasmin shall be entitled to get remuneration from the company from being absent from work on medical grounds (Zahn, 2017).Further, the strength of the case also lies in the statute Health and Safety at workplace Act 1974 which provides that the employer shall take care and necessary measures to ensure the safety and security of the employees at their workplace.
The only weakness of this case is seen in the fact that based on experience; Yasmin cannot refuse to attend the training session presently. Further, on applying the exception mentioned under Section 65 of the Act of 1996, it has been observed that there are certain circumstances when the company shall not pay remuneration for being absent from work. The circumstance is the state of mental disorder. As Yasmin has also faced mental trauma, the tribunal may refuse to order for payment of remuneration and she could only be entitled to damages for her loss (Horton, et. al., 2018).
Further information to succeed in the claim requires the medical certificate and report of the doctor who shall assert the time for which she shall be unable to work.
It is also analysed that under the provisions of the Health and Safety Act 1974, the company is required to make a necessary assessment of the risk during the training program. The company Spotless Cleaning Solutions is under an obligation to carry necessary risk assessment as this is the most important aspect of managing health and safety. Reference of the case Allison v. London Underground Ltd  EWCA Civ 71can be taken in which it was held that the company is required to take risk assessment of every task required to be done by the employees. As per the facts of this case, the train driver has severe pain in her thumb due to prolonged use of brakes and she rests her thumb against a handle. She suffered injury as a result and after her injury, the employer informed the employees not to rest their thumb against it. It was held that the employer was in breach of duty and also failed to assess the risk associated with driving.
In the case of Yasmin Fogger, the company Spotless Cleaning Solutions also failed to make a risk assessment in respect of the training camp. The company failed to take necessary measures to prevent chances of injury and as a result, Yasmin suffered injuries. It is also analysed based on the above case law if the employer can foresee the injury and still failed to take necessary measures, the employer shall be held liable(Horton, et. al., 2018).In this case, Yasmin slipped from a steep slope and fell several feet. The employer Dave could have foreseen the risk and should have made necessary precautions to prevent accidents and injuries. Hence, the company shall be held liable for compensation to Yasmin Fogger.
Recommendation for Spotless Cleaning Solutions
The recommendation to the company Spotless Cleaning Solutions includes two aspects. One where the company shall succeed and the rejection of the company to the employers shall stand valid whereas, the other where the employees shall succeed in their claims against the company. It is also to be noted that there are two cases where there shall be settlement done between the employer and the employees. In the first case of the two single mothers, the employer Dave and the employees shall enter into a settlement. The best way of settling the claim is through an alternate mode of dispute resolution that is negotiation or mediation. In this case, the employer and the employee shall enter into the settlement as the employees have fewer chances to succeed in the compensation claim.
In the second case of Richard Buff, there shall also be a settlement between the employer and the employee as the case of Richard is also having very few chances of succeeding due to the present relationship with his ex-girlfriend(O’Brien and Twamley, 2017).Hence, it is advised to the company to enter into a negotiation with Richard as he is a senior executive of the company and the HR department shall look towards the retention of such employees.
In the last case of Yasmin Fogger, the company shall be liable to pay compensation to Yasmin and this claim shall be contested before the tribunal as Yasmin has suffered severe injuries due to the inappropriate measures of safety by the company. The company shall have to contest the claim of Yasmin and it shall be liable to pay compensation as well as remuneration to the injured employee Yasmin. The only thing in which the company could succeed in contesting is a reduction of remuneration which is to be paid to Yasmin (Horton, et. al., 2018).
Thus, to conclude it can be stated that the liability of Spotless Cleaning Solutions can be determined as per the statute of the United Kingdom regarding employment laws. The company is allowed to reject the applications in the first two cases as it has given reasonable time to the concerned employees for making necessary arrangements for the dependents. But in the third case of Yasmin, the company shall be liable to pay compensation and salary to her as she has sustained injuries due to the lack of safety measures by the employer. Hence, the claim of the first two employees can be settled but the claim of the last employee shall be contested before the tribunal.
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