March 31

The gender pay gap

The European Commission defines the gender pay gap as the average difference between men’s and women’s aggregate hourly earnings.

The government is taking steps to address this. Draft regulations have been published which will require organisations with 250 or more UK employees to publish information on their gender pay gap by April 2018.

The reporting requirements for employers covered by the regulations will have to:

• calculate difference between male and female employees’ mean pay and median pay
• report on number of men and women in each quartile of overall pay distribution;
• confirm difference in mean bonus pay between male and female employees
• state proportion of male and female employees who received a bonus.

February 26

Commercial contracts – implied and express terms

The Supreme Court has recently clarified the issue of implied terms in the area of commercial contracts.

In Marks and Spencer plc v BNP Paribas Securities Services Trust Co (Jersey) Ltd and another, Marks & Spencer lost its legal battle against BNP Paribas regarding overpaid rent. The issue to be decided was whether a lease contained an implied term entitling the tenant (M&S) to repayment of part of the rent, given the lease was terminated early through a break clause – and rent had been paid in advance for a period after the break date.

December 18

Employment: disability discrimination

In the recent case of Muzi-Mabaso v Commissioners for HM Revenue & Customs, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) upheld the Employment Tribunal’s (ET) finding that the Claimant Mr Muzi-Mabaso had not been put at a disadvantage by being placed in the Respondent’s (HMRC) redeployment pool.

However, it allowed Mr Mabaso’s appeal in part with regard to the requirement to sit an online test as part of a recruitment process for a higher grade vacancy. Mr Mabaso who was employed by HMRC, commenced a training course for promotion and temporarily promoted to a higher grade. He failed the second module of the programme, and was to be reverted to his original grade. Two weeks before the reversion, he went on sick leave and remained off for over five months, suffering from stress and depression. HMRC began to look for positions for him and told him that promotion opportunities could only arise through open competition.

November 26

Fraud in family cases

On 14 October, 2015 the Supreme Court (SC) gave judgment in Sharland v Sharland [2015] UKSC 60. Mrs Sharland was successful in a consent order being set aside due to significant non-disclosure of assets by her former husband.

The parties were married 1993 and separated 2010. Mr Sharland is an entrepreneur with a substantial shareholding in a software business, AppSense Holdings Ltd which he developed. In financial proceedings between the parties the value of the shareholding was the matter in dispute. Mr Sharland gave evidence confirming that there was no IPO for the company ‘on the cards today’, and the parties reached a settlement by which Mrs Sharland agreed to receive 30% of the net proceeds of sale of the AppSense shares, together with other assets. The judge approved the agreement and a draft consent order was drawn up.