This Valentine’s Day Employers may be forgiven for feeling somewhat “humbug” regarding romance as this day of love triggers individuals to take that additional step and ask the person they have had a crush on for some time out on a date. Given that the majority of individual’s time is spent in the workplace it is not unusual that such a declaration of intent to want to date or declaration of love are not announced within the workplace. Rather than encourage such workplace romances Employers should be encouraged to look towards their relationship at work policy to establish if there are any breaches by the pending love birds.
As an Employer when you reach for that Work Handbook and note that there is no such policy, a wave of dread might wash over you. Having two Employees form a personal relationship can have a huge impact within the workplace. As an Employer, what are you going to do in relation to kissing or holding hands between the “lovebirds” in the workplace, what about those e-mail communications that are sent via your e-mail system and if the relationship breaks down how will the atmosphere between the parties effect your other employees and what happens when all those “lovey dovey” e-mail messages start becoming a cause of concern.
If one of the love bird’s behaviour becomes inappropriate what, as an Employer would you do to bring the employee back into line?
The truth is the impact of relationships to a small business can be huge and so can the fines that small business owner could have to pay out if sexual harassment is established.
Even solicitor’s firms are not immune to large pay-outs for sexual harassment. In August 2015 Bolton based AA Solicitors Ltd was ordered to pay £20,000.00 to a younger female Solicitor after the young female Solicitor was dismissed when she declined his advances. More recently a small business owner has been ordered to pay £4,500.00 for persistently informing a male colleague that he should ask a female colleague out on a date. This made the male employee feel extremely uncomfortable at work especially given the female colleague had already got a boyfriend. £4,500.00 for many small business is a large sum to pay and therefore we would strongly encourage business to ensure a workplace policy dealing with purpose of relationships.
Our colleagues over the pond are now introducing “Love Contracts” which require Employees in relationships at work to confirm that they are both in a consensual relationship and signs them up to dos and don’ts within the workplace. Thankfully such contracts here are not required and certainly not encouraged by us and actually depending on the restraints that play upon the individuals could be deemed as a breach of human rights and certainly such contracts are not enforceable within the Employment Tribunals currently.
If our Employments Services department can help you with the preparing of policies and procedures, please do contact Salena Dawson for a transparent quote.
Wishing you all a very happy Valentine’s Day.
Separation and Divorce often leads to uncertainty, arguments, disagreement and some very difficult discussions between the parties.
Even through the conciliatory act of mediation, separating couples find themselves talking about how the break will affect them in the short and long term and that fine detail can seem like a vast ocean to cross especially as it comes under the header of “Negotiation”.
The PM’s long awaited speech set out the objectives for the UK’s divorce from the EU. Like many couples who begin by believing that holding on to some aspects of the assets may be beneficial, as time moves it becomes more apparent a Clean Break is Desirable and the time has come just to get on with.
The New Global UK’s ambition has been set. It intends to leave the EU single market, Gain Control Over Immigration, Be in Control of its Own Laws and seek a new Custom Arrangement. Although these are big factors, couples make a similar list at a domestic level: house, bank accounts, cat, kids, shed, holiday home?
You could be forgiven for thinking of Bridget Jones throughout Mrs Mays speech, the part where empowered music plays and Bridget takes back control of her life. Mrs May was clear to Europe and her opposition, its time to do what’s right for the nation. Like parents on separation – its time to act in the children’s best interests.
The PM’s pledge is ambitious and only time will tell if it is achievable. However Sometimes in separation it is difficult to appreciate there is life around the corner. What you must do is rely heavily on the support you must stay strong professional and other wise.
Dawsons Law pride themselves in assisting couples get that position of co-operation after separation and divorce. Perhaps the PM should give us a call 01953 883535
The laws on children car seats is soon to change with the new regulations set to be in force from March 2017. But do you know what these changes are? Are YOU ready?
The rules on children travelling on backless booster seats are set to change.
At the moment, it is usually children who are over the age of three years and by law must weigh more than 15 kilograms who can travel in a car on a backless booster seat.
From March the rules will state that a child may only travel on a backless booster seat if they weigh more than 22 kilograms and they are more than 125 centimetres tall. It is believed that these new requirements will improve the safety of children travelling in a car in the event of a side on crash.
These changes will affect the whole of the United Kingdom.
DON’T PANIC! Although these changes are due to be enforced from March, if you already have a car seat for your child you will not need to buy a new one to comply with the new rules. The car seats available now do meet the current safety standards required.
The consequences for not having a child travel on the correct car seat can be a £30.00 fine for the driver of the vehicle. If the case goes to court, the maximum fine is £500.00.
Dawsons Law is your Solicitors Firm; we are here to serve you. If you require legal advice in relation to your children or family, put your mind at ease and contact us on 01953 883535 or 01603 813920.
The causes of dementia have been linked to where people live, with research indicating that approximately 11% of dementia cases in people who live within fifty metres of busy roads could be due to the volume of traffic. The study found that the further away from a busy road you live the lower the risk of dementia.
Of course, this is new information and further research will be conducted on these findings. There are many risk factors for dementia such as ageing, genetics, smoking, physical inactivity and unhealthy diet to name a few…
In fact, nearly 50 million people suffer from dementia worldwide.
So how can you prepare for the unthinkable in case you brain and mind does not work in later years as it does now? BY PREPARING LASTING POWERS OF ATTORNEY NOW!
Appoint the people you trust to make future decisions on your behalf and in your best interests to protect you if you are no longer able to make those decisions. Did you forget to make a New Years Resolution for this year? Why not speak to your family and friends and make these decisions now so you are prepared for what the future brings your way. Plus, it will be a tick off the list of things to do you had been putting off last year!
There are two types of Lasting Power of Attorney; Health and Welfare, and Property and Financial Affairs so all aspects of your personal care and your financial matters can be dealt with if the unimaginable happens by having both types prepared.
We are able to prepare Lasting Powers of Attorney for both Health and Welfare, and, Property and Financial Affairs, for a Fixed Fee price of £350.00 plus VAT which includes our work to register them with the court. There is also a registration fee payable to the Office of Public Guardian of £110.00 per document which may be payable to the court. Fee Remission may apply in some circumstances.
Get ahead and prepare for your future this New Year, book an appointment by calling either 01953 883535 or 01603 813920.
Christmas is a time for family, friends and loved ones but families are never straightforward…
It is not uncommon for Clients to prepare Wills and have close family members who they wish to exclude from their Will. Sometimes there are family members you may want to benefit more than others from the Will, for example, by leaving unequal amounts to children, grandchildren or siblings.
Recent challenges being made to Wills by family members have been receiving media coverage;
v Heather Ilott’s late mother Melita Jackson left the majority of her estate to three animal charities. Mrs Ilott challenged the Will and was awarded a six-figure payout. The charities are now challenging the payout to Mrs Ilott.
v Iain Hayward recently disputed his father’s Will after he was left a harp and the rest of the estate was left to his sister and his father’s grandchildren. Mr Hayward argued that his father was not capable of making a Will at the time he signed the Will. His father had predicted that the Will would be challenged by Mr Hayward and had seen his doctor who confirmed he had capacity to make a Will at that time. Mr Hayward’s challenge to the Will was unsuccessful as a Judge this week ruled that his father had capacity at the time the Will was made.
You can prepare a Declaration under the Inheritance (Provision for Family and Dependants) Act 1975 to give the reasons why you have excluded a particular person from your Will. Although the Declaration cannot prevent a challenge to your Will, it shows clear intention that you do not want that particular person to benefit from the Will itself and makes it harder for your Will to be challenged.
Despite the government recently refusing to cut divorce court fees, this does not mean that you cannot afford a divorce.
You don’t have to be a rich Hollywood A lister to be able to commence divorce proceedings like Brangelina!
The new divorce fee of £550.00 was introduced on the 21st March 2016 which increased the previous fee of £410.00 by £140.00. This was a shocking 34% increase to the divorce court fee. This rise in fees was done to generate income for court services as funds have been taken away from court services by the government cuts in recent years.
The government have recently stated that ‘there is no evidence so far that the fee increase has led to a fall in applications for a divorce’, and therefore it will stay at £550.00 for the time being despite the huge surge in price.
If you are on a low income and are worrying about the court fee we can assist you in making an application for the fee to be reduced when starting divorce proceedings. If successful, this application can reduce the fee by a certain amount depending on your financial circumstances.
We are able to assist you through the divorce process and offer Fixed Fee divorce prices whether you are the Petitioner or the Respondent to the divorce proceedings. Further, we offer interest free monthly payments as an alternative way of paying our costs to make divorce more affordable.
If you are separated or thinking of getting a divorce do not hesitate to contact the office to make an appointment with Sophie Mitchell, our family law solicitor, on 01953 883535 or 01603 813920.
***DON’T FORGET – WE HOLD FREE 20 MINUTE FREE GENERAL ADVICE SESSIONS ON WEDNESDAY MORNINGS AT OUR WATTON OFFICE – CALL THE OFFICE FOR MORE INFORMATION AND BOOK A SLOT TO AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT***
It has been reported that in the last ten years the number of whiplash claims have risen by 50%. This as a statistic on its own is shocking, but even more so is the fact that one in nine claims for whiplash are thought to be fraudulent.
Whiplash is a common injury claim which motorists can apply for through their insurance company, with the AA reporting that 750,000 of the 800,000 small claims made through the courts last year were regarding whiplash. Insurance companies have called it the ‘whiplash epidemic’.
This week car insurers have announced that they plan on doing either one of the following;
1. To cap the amount of compensation that can be claimed by someone who suffers from whiplash. The suggested maximum compensation pay-out is £425.00. With the current average pay-out being £1,850.00 this would be a huge reduction in money available.
2. To completely cut the compensation to those who suffer whiplash injuries in England and Wales.
Hand in hand with this statement car insurers have also said that with these proposals car insurance could be reduced by £40.00 per year.
But what about those who are genuinely hurt and suffering from whiplash because of an accident and want to claim? The Association of British Insurers say the proposals will ‘give honest motorists a better deal’. Those who suffer from whiplash may need to provide a medical report by a medical expert before claims are paid out, and, a staggered payment system may be established for injuries suffered in a vehicle accident which would place whiplash on the lower end of the pay-out scale.
If you have suffered an injury, whether in a road traffic accident or elsewhere, and require legal advice give us a call on 01953 883535 or 01603 813920 to speak to our friendly team.
On the 3rd November 2016 the High Court ruled that Parliament must vote on whether Britain can begin the process to leave the European Union (EU). But what does this court ruling actually mean?
Put simply, the Government cannot currently begin exit negotiations with the EU. However, this does not now mean that Britain will not be leaving the EU.
Lets start at the beginning…. On the 23rd June 2016 a Referendum was held to decide whether Britain should leave the EU. The results were incredibly close, with 52% of voters wanting to leave compared to 48% of voters who wanted to remain. Britain therefore voted to leave the EU.
In order to begin the process of leaving the EU, Article 50 would need to be triggered which would give Britain and the EU two years to agree the terms of Britain’s exit.
Campaigners who opposed the Referendum outcome to leave the EU back in June 2016 say that it is unlawful for Britain to leave the EU without MPs voting on the decision. They therefore challenged the Prime Minister, Theresa May’s, right to trigger Article 50.
The High Court ruled in favour of the campaigners yesterday and stated that Britain could not leave the EU without the MPs agreement that the Prime Minister can start the Brexit negotiations. Although this could mean that the MPs can decide not to allow negotiations to start, it would be unlikely due to the Referendum result and the fact that the majority of voters wanted to leave the EU.
The court challenge could delay the start of the process to leave the EU as the Prime Minister had planned to begin exit talks with the EU by the end of March 2017.
The Government is appealing the High Court decision, with the next Hearing expected to start in December 2016.
Although the outcome of Brexit is still unknown, we can guarantee that we are open for business to serve you in our community. If you require legal assistance do not hesitate to call us on 01953 883535 or 01603 813920 for a quote today.
Its October, and that means one particular legal update for businesses to be aware of; changes to the National Minimum Wage. Are you paying your staff the correct wage in line with the National Minimum Wage?
For businesses and Employers, and I am sure Employees too, you are probably aware that there have been changes to the National Minimum Wage on the 1st October 2016. The National Minimum Wage has increased for all workers under twenty five, with the wage staying at £7.20 an hour and not increasing for workers aged twenty five and over. This being the current Living Wage implemented last year.
The new National Minimum Wages are as follows;
From 1st October 2016
Age 25 and over - £7.20
Age 21 to 24 - £6.95
Age 18 to 20 - £5.55
Age 16 to 17 - £4.00
Apprentices - £3.40
The government have also decided to amend the Minimum Wage Calendar, so these rates set on the 1st October 2016 for minimum wages will only be current until the 31st March 2017. Therefore, from April next year the National Minimum Wage and National Living Wage will be reviewed at that same time each year.
The Low Pay Commission, an independent body who advise the government on the National Minimum Wage, have recently suggested that the National Living Wage will be £7.64 by April 2017.
Further, the Low Pay Commission predict that by 2020 the National Living Wage will be over £9.00 an hour.
Whether you are an Employer or Employee, we can advise you on your employment issues. For Employees, we offer free general advice appointments on employment matters*. Contact the office today to make an appointment to receive city legal expertise, locally.
*Subject to Terms and Conditions
England is a nation full of football fanatics – do you know a household without a football fan?
It may have come as a shock to England fans when Sam Allardyce’s reign as the Senior England Men’s Football Team Manager ended earlier this week, after only 67 days in charge and having managed only one international game during that time.
According to the Daily Telegraph, Sam Allardyce advised undercover reporters posing as businessmen how to "get around" player transfer rules. This was before he had even taken charge of his first England training session!
The Football Association and Sam Allardyce mutually agreed to terminate his contract with immediate effect soon after the allegations and footage was published. It has been stated that he was not allowed to resign but had to leave by “mutual consent”. It was reported that if he had not agreed to that terminology, he would have been sacked.
If your employment has recently come to an end and you are negotiating your exit with your Employers, come and seek advice and clarification.
Perhaps you have been given a Settlement Agreement? Settlement Agreements are legally binding contracts which can be used to end an employment relationship on agreed terms. We can advise you on the terms of your Settlement Agreement.