Author: Zhanna Koval

DISCRIMINATION IN EMPLOYMENT

A new case – 3 Jan 2020

On what kind of beliefs can an employee claim discrimination?

Most people are aware that it is unlawful to discriminate on grounds of gender, race or nationality, religion or belief, sexual orientation or disability.

An employment tribunal within the last week re-affirmed a fundamental principle of the Equality Act 2010, namely that the concept of ‘belief’ is not confined to just the Abrahamic religions, or any other religions, as some would have us believe!

‘Belief’ includes any philosophical belief, provided it is held genuinely and seriously, and includes, as in this case decided on 3rd January 2020, veganism. The claimant here was a vegan who believed that this was the reason that he had been victimised in the course of his employment. The employee had ethical objections to the way in which his employer behaved.

Of course, vegetarianism is included as well, as is, for instance, atheism and agnosticism and paganism. No belief has any privilege over any other – which I would say is exactly what you would expect in the law in a modern civilised secular society.

Kuldeep Clair

Senior Employment Solicitor

If you need expert advice on an employment issue, contact our consultant employment solicitor:

Kuldeep Clair – 07484 614090 or kuldeep@sterlinglawyers.co.uk

EQUAL PAY DISCRIMINATION IN EMPLOYMENT

Just on Friday, a prominent new case was reported in the news involving equal pay.

It is prominent because it involved a claim by a well-known BBC journalist, Samira Ahmed, against her employer, on the basis that she had been underpaid for several years, for presenting one programme, amongst others. Her equal pay ‘comparator’ or rival BBC male journalist, was Jeremy Vine. Salary figures at the BBC had been made public as a matter of policy, and these showed that Mr Vine had been paid at a rate considerably more per programme, even though they both have been similarly experienced in their fields – over 25 years or so.

Of course, the BBC attempted to offer an alternative explanation for this disparity to the employment tribunal, but it was not accepted by the tribunal on the facts before it. The programmes in question were very similar and required similar skills. If the opposite had been accepted, the case would not have succeeded. Samira Ahmed’s success means that she will receive back pay for perhaps six years amounting to a six-figure sum. Six years is the maximum period for which an employee can claim back pay in an equal pay claim.

Our senior specialist employment solicitor, Kuldeep Clair comments, “I have found that claims for equal pay commonly turn on the ability of an employer to provide an explanation for the difference in pay. This can be difficult, but sometimes an explanation may not even be necessary, because the work simply is not easily ‘comparable’ at all. So there can be potential problems in both bringing and defending claims, unless you have expert professional representation.

Kuldeep dealt with an equal pay claim last year for a claimant which was settled for a substantial five figure sum. He was opposed by a prominent City firm, defending a national hospitality company. “The defence initially put forward by the employer was essentially the same”, says Kuldeep, “namely,  that my client’s work was of a different nature and could not be compared to the dozen male managers who occupied comparable positions to her. But they had a change-of-mind two weeks before the tribunal hearing date, when they realised the strengths of my client’s claim.

Kuldeep goes on to note that this year it is exactly 50 years since the introduction of the Equal Pay Act 1970, which was a turning point in anti-discrimination legislation. “We have now moved forwards a long way since the days when women were expected to either stay at home and do the dishes, or at most possibly expect to take menial work at whatever pittance of a rate was offered to them without any argument.

For advice on any employment issue, Kuldeep Clair can be contacted on 07484 614090 or kuldeep@sterlinglawyers.co.uk

ARE MATHEMATICAL EQUATIONS PROTECTED BY COPYRIGHT? ARE THERE ANY LEGAL PROVISIONS THAT LEGALIZE AUTHOR’S RIGHT ON IT?

So, mathematical equations are not protected by copyright, because they were created for public use. It would be unfair towards everyone and it will create a monopoly! Moreover, it will restrict the free-flow of information and can be used by only the owner. Every person should have an opportunity to use mathematical equations for personal or business purposes. The law gives the creators of literary, dramatic, musical, artistic works, sound recordings, broadcasts, films and typographical arrangement of published editions, rights to control the ways in which their material may be used. The key point is that you can be inspired by the form of expression, but not an idea of the expression. Unfortunately, it is often becoming difficult to see the difference between the idea and expression. When the expressions are inseparable from the ideas, those expressions are not protected.

Thus, if you would like to create a math book, you can use mathematical equations that are all available for you. However, be careful with personal diagrams and illustrations because they are protected under copyright law. By adding an original idea, it can be protected under copyright law.

In Eastern Book Company & Ors v. D.B. Modak & Anr, the court set up the two condition:

  1. Sweat of Brow; and
  2. Modicum of Creativity.

Meeting these criteria, the work will be considered to be ‘original‘ and will be protectable under the copyright.

Please do not hesitate to contact us.

By Katsiaryna Pazniak

contact@sterling-law.co.uk

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