Tag Archives: unfair dismissal

Expect thousands of unfair dismissal claims as Damian Green says porn appeared on his computer without being downloaded

Bad omens: Damian Green’s defenders have already caused a crisis over data protection breaches in Westminster; now they are offering an excuse to everybody who has ever been sacked for having porn on their office computer.

How kind of Damian Green to provide office workers across the world with an excuse if pornography is found on their computers!

How unfortunate for employers who have sacked who-knows-how-many office workers for having downloaded porn – and may now face multiple “unfair dismissal” claims from disgruntled ex-employees with an axe to grind!

If Tory ‘reforms’ of legal aid make it prohibitive for people to challenge their employers singly, This Writer can heartily recommend getting together with others to mount joint legal challenges.

According to the Torygraph, Mr Green has provided evidence from Deputy Commons Speaker Eleanor Laing “showing porn has been found on other parliamentary computers without being downloaded or watched by staff”.

Politics Home amplifies: “He has passed on an email from deputy speaker of the House of Commons Eleanor Laing to Ms Gray, explaining that a member of her staff also found porn on her computer without having accessed or watched it.”

How did it get there, then – by magic?

But Ms Laing is clearly one of the queue of Tories lining up to defend Mr Green, any way they can – like Education Secretary Justine Greening, who called for action to be taken against the former police officers who brought forward evidence of pornography they found on Mr Green’s office computer, along with evidence that he was logged in when the material was downloaded.

She said (again according to Politics Home): “I think it is important that we have high standards in public life.”

This Writer agrees – but there are grounds to believe the evidence would have been suppressed if the gentlemen concerned had not come forward in the way they did. And high standards in public life should start with our Parliamentary representatives.

One example of the failure of such standards is the behaviour of David Davis, Brexit Secretary and Cabinet ally of Mr Green. Sources (whoever they may be) were quoted as saying Mr Davis was ready to quit his government job if Mr Green is sacked – but now Politics Home is saying they have changed their tune: “A source told HuffPost UK that Mr Davis was not likely to step down, but did feel ‘aggrieved’ at Mr Green’s treatment.

“’David has an historic role in government and we are within touching distance of getting a major breakthrough on Brexit. Why would he walk away from that?’”

Obviously this was before the historic collapse of that “major breakthrough”. I wonder how Mr Davis feels about these matters now.


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The sick rules that make life harder for people who face workplace discrimination

Terry Foster with his daughter Sophie, now six [Image: Liverpool Echo].

Terry Foster with his daughter Sophie, now six [Image: Liverpool Echo].

The optimistic part of this is that people who have faced discrimination when returning to work after a serious illness can take their employers to a tribunal for large awards.

The part that isn’t mentioned is that this now costs a large amount of money.

Unfair dismissal and discrimination claims now cost a total of £1,200 to bring before a tribunal, thanks to Conservative Party legislation.

People who have been fighting serious illnesses often do not have that money to spare – especially if they have been struggling to get the Department for Work and Pensions to accept their claim for sickness and/or disability benefits.

See how the system is stacked against the vulnerable?

The message is as clear as it was in 1983 when Neil Kinnock uttered it about the then-Conservative Government: “Don’t get sick.”

What a shame cancer – and other serious illnesses – doesn’t listen to such messages.

A dad who won his battle with cancer after being told he had hours to live was cruelly sacked when he reported back to work.

Terry Foster was diagnosed with lymphoma in 2007, while his wife Melanie was pregnant with their first child.

The 58-year-old spent 19 days in intensive care, and at one point was given just hours to live and placed in a side room to die.

But the Southport dad… fought back, and doctors were surprised when his condition began to improve to the point he could be sent home.

However, after meeting up with his manager about returning to his job… [he] was shocked to hear he was being sacked.

“I went into a state of shock. When I told my wife she burst into tears, it was awful, we had a newborn baby and it was the most horrible time for both of us.

“We really struggled financially… and the stress and worry of it all impacted on my recovery.”

Terry took the company to an employment tribunal and won, being awarded more than £62,000 by the court.

He is now clear of his cancer and attends hospital every six months for a scan.

Sadly, according to new research by Macmillan Cancer Support, Terry’s story is not uncommon.

Source: Cancer patient and dad-to-be cruelly sacked after being given just 48 hours to live – Liverpool Echo

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Another Tory ‘bait-and-switch’ scam – shares-for-rights scheme is employers’ tax dodge

shares-rights-tax

“This government is taking action domestically on [tax] avoidance and evasion,” wrote George Osborne in an article for The Observer, back in February. How right he was.

The Tory-led Coalition has done everything in its power to facilitate tax avoidance and ignore evasion, it seems, including the latest wheeze, which is to link it with a feeble attempt to get working people to throw away their rights in exchange for a few shares.

The BBC has reported that the new status of “employee shareholder” has come into force, allowing working people to claim shares in the company that employs them, if they give up the rights to claim unfair dismissal and statutory redundancy pay, the right to request flexible working (except in the case of two weeks’ parental leave), and some rights to request time off for training.

Nobody in their right mind would do this and expert opinion is that take-up will be small. So why do it?

Well, it’s not about the workers at all. It’s about helping company bosses avoid paying their taxes. Even the right-wing-leaning BBC was unable to cover up the facts (although it left them until the end of the article):

“Companies can also claim some corporation tax deductions on the issuance of shares to employees.”

Yes – it’s a tax dodge!

Here’s how it works, according to the Mirror: “New analysis show[s] it could also allow executives to avoid paying revenue on company shares. Tax experts commissioned by the TUC believe ruthless bosses could classify themselves as ’employee owners’ to escape Capital Gains Tax. And the Office for Budget Responsibility estimates the scheme could cost up to £1 billion, mainly due to tax avoidance.”

This will, of course, involve a drop in tax income to the Treasury, meaning increases in the national debt and deficit, which the Tories will no doubt use to justify further cuts to public service budgets as part of their ‘Starve The Beast’ agenda. Remember, this country has a chancellor who, for ideological purposes, actually wants to harm the British economy.

Meanwhile, as our friend at Another Angry Voice has put it: “If you’re thick enough to cash in your labour rights for a few grand worth of shares in the company you work for, then in a couple of years time when people are calling you ‘feckless’ for being unemployed, you’ll be one of the minority that actually deserve it (and your shares might well be worth only pennies in the pound compared to the value they had when you scrapped your labour rights to get them).”

Woolly mammoth to be new leader of Conservatives?

The police welcome David Cameron to the Conservative Party Conference in Birmingham. His austerity cuts are expected to cripple forces across the country, with part-privatisation already an unwanted reality for some.

So is everyone having fun atmaking fun of the Conservative Party Conference?

The event has been unfortunately-timed, as it turns out a mammoth has been found, frozen in Russia, after 30,000 years. Inevitably it will be the subject of much scientific study and debate, but really, if they wanted to look at a species of woolly monsters long overdue for extinction, they need only go to Birmingham.

Further evidence of unfortunate timing can be found in the International Monetary Fund’s latest report, which shows that the Conservative-led austerity policy has utterly failed to restore confidence and there is “considerable” risk of further deterioration in the economy. Its forecast for the UK in 2013, which stood at 0.2 per cent growth, has now been downgraded by 0.6 per cent to minus 0.4 per cent. That’s a lot, in economic terms.

UK Prime Minister – and Conservative leader – David Cameron, said the UK economy is “slowly healing”.

It is comments like this, along with the general direction of his – let’s try to call it – ‘leadership’ that probably prompted polling organisation YouGov to headline its latest press release ‘Cameron needs a miracle to win’. The poll of voting intentions shows that the Conservative share has slipped to 31 or 32 per cent – the same as in their “crushing” defeats of 1997 and 2001. Any question comparing Labour leader Ed Miliband with Mr Cameron shows significant advances for the Labour leader.

Other poll results are confirmed by comments on the Conservative conference (which I have lifted from Twitter. I don’t intend to give attributions – is yours among those below?).

Fewer than 30 per cent think [the Conservatives] have done a good job on health, education, transport or reforming welfare benefits: “‘We’ll end something for nothing culture’- Tory rich boys who inherited wealth and claimed disability benefits they didnt need”; “I could save 10bn by cutting MPs’ expenses, grace and favour housing, government contracts, offices that are never used etc etc”; “Labeling those on welfare as lazy layabouts is defamation of character and those responsible should face the full force of the law”.

71 per cent think the gap between the richest and poorest has widened since the Tories came to power; and by two-to-one, people think the north-south gap has also widened (Northerners themselves agree by three-to-one): “Misery to those without whilst ensuring prosperity for those who have. They don’t even try to hide it!”.

Just 13 per cent say the government has met their expectations that Britain would be governed well; far more – 34 per cent – say ‘I expected them to do well, but they have been a disappointment’.  Half of those who voted Conservative in 2010 share this sense of disappointment. Most people think they have made no progress at all to get Britain out of recession, reduce immigration, clean up politics, or fulfil their pledge to make theirs ‘the greenest government ever’: “This government should have come with a public health warning the size of a trillion fag packets.”

Let’s look at some of the speeches. I am grateful to the Tweeter who labelled his comments on the Chancellor’s speech ‘Osborne porkies’, pointing out some of the inconsistencies between Gideon’s words and the facts. So: “Attacks Ed M for not mentioning deficit when Labour leader mentioned the debt. ‘We were straight with voters before election’ – Except about NHS, VAT increase, child benefit. ‘Blair achieved nothing in a decade’ – Except minimum wage, devolution, academies, Northern Ireland agreement etc”.

Osborne’s big idea – the plan to offer employees shares in the company where they work, if they give up their rights to, for example unfair dismissal tribunals, came under bitter attack: “‘We’re all in it together’ – unless you’re an employee”; “Osborne’s shares for rights plan shows he’s never employed people. If first thing you say is ‘I want the right to sack you’, people will go”; ” So you get shares in a company… Lose your rights… get sacked with no comeback and paid pence for your shares”.

(This last comment is the nub of the matter. Osborne says the amount of shares on offer could be worth between £2,000 and £50,000, therefore it is possible that employers will try to get workers to barter away their benefits for what is, in the current economic climate, peanuts. Do these people really think we are monkeys?)

Today (Tuesday) Boris Johnson, the Mayor of London, made a speech in which he tried to appear to be supporting Mr Cameron while in fact setting out his credentials as a possible future leader. His comments about the Conservatives being the tools to clean up the national mess drew scorn: “Boris the mop, Dave the broom, Osborne the dust pan, Gove the Jay cloth and Hague the sponge – the cabinet according to Boris!”

His self-congratulation about London’s bus conductors attracted this: “Doesn’t mention they will cost £38 million a year and won’t be able to collect fares”; and on his comments about Labour spending: “Yes, Boris, Labour was so excessive in its spending that your party pledged to back its […] plans right up until 2008”.

Final comment on the conference so far: “Tories laugh at Boris being an incompetent buffoon… Clearly the required skills to lead a country!”

Back in the 1980s, on the best radio panel show in the world (I’m Sorry I Haven’t A Clue), Tim Brooke-Taylor once defined ‘politician’ as “A liar, cheat, double-crossing two-timing scoundrel and lover of nude women. Oh, it’s also a snub-nosed toad.”

All I can say about that is, bring on the snub-nosed toad. I’ll let the nude women pass. They might be Theresa May and Nadine Dorries. Or Maria Miller (that would be REALLY grisly, wouldn’t it?)