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In November's UK Employment Law update, our team examine the EAT’s determination that a settlement agreement cannot waive an employee’s right to future claims for discrimination, highlight the impact of the Retained EU Law (Revocation and Reform) Bill on employment regulations derived from EU laws, and discuss the passing of the second reading of the Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill. We also outline the new ‘monitoring at work draft guidance’ published by the Information Commissioner’s Office and highlight how the 2022 Autumn statement will affect the National Living Wage going forward.
In Bathgate v Technip UK Limited and Ors  EAT 155, the Scottish Employment Appeal Tribunal (the “EAT”) determined that a settlement agreement cannot waive an employee’s right to future claims for discrimination if such claims are unknown to the parties at the time of contracting:
'Qualifying’ settlement agreements:
The EAT’s findings:
The Protection from Redundancy (Pregnancy and Family Leave) Bill (the “Redundancy Bill”) has passed its second reading and is likely to become law. The purpose of the Redundancy Bill is to strengthen redundancy protections for new parents and pregnant women. The current law requires employers to provide individuals on parental leave with alternative employment where a suitable alternative vacancy exists in priority to anyone else before considering provisional redundancy selection. The intention of the Redundancy Bill is therefore to extend such protections to pregnant women before they start maternity leave and after they return to work. It will also protect new parents returning to work from adoption or shared parental leave.
The press release, issued by the government last week, made it clear that protection will start from the point at which the employee tells their employer that they are pregnant (we do not yet know whether they will need to provide a MATB1 form first) and for pregnant women will end 18 months from the start of their maternity leave. Therefore, a woman who takes the maximum maternity leave of 52 weeks, will get an extra six months' protection after her maternity leave ends.
Similar provisions will apply to people who are adopting a child or taking shared parental leave. Employers should keep an eye on the passing of this Redundancy Bill and consider the impact on redundancy processes and policies once passed.
For further advice on any of the issues raised above, please contact a member of the London Employment team.