7 minute read | March.30.2023
In this month’s instalment, our team highlight key updates to UK Gender Pay Gap Reporting, provide an overview of the increased limits on tribunal awards and the new “Vento Bands”, both coming into effect on 6 April 2023. We also delve into some recent case law developments surrounding termination and without prejudice communications and consider how employers can best deal with incidents involving employees with disabilities.
In late February 2023, the Government Equalities Office (“GE Office”) released a detailed overview of UK employers' gender pay gap reporting obligations and best practices. The guidance was updated to make it clearer and simpler and to remove any unnecessary duplication. There have been no changes to factual content. As a refresher for employers:
Who should report
The gender pay gap reporting requirements apply to public authorities and private and voluntary sector UK employers with 250 or more employees.
When to report
What to report
Where to report
The Employment Rights (Increase of Limits) Order 2023 has been laid before Parliament and comes into force on 6 April 2023.
The Order includes the following new figures:
Further information about the changes can be found here.
Meaker v Cyxtera Technology UK Ltd  EAT 17: the Employment Appeal Tribunal (the “EAT”) held that a letter that was marked ‘without prejudice’ still had the effect of dismissing an employee with immediate effect.
The central issue was whether the letter was an effective letter of dismissal or whether it was a continuation of the negotiations leaving the Employee free to look for better terms.
The Employment Tribunal (the “ET”) and EAT’s findings:
The ET held that the letter was indeed an effective termination letter. They found that, notwithstanding the ‘without prejudice’ heading, it was sufficiently clear that the intention was to terminate the Employee’s employment unilaterally. This finding was upheld by the EAT.
Although in this case it was found that the language in the letter terminating the Employee’s contract was sufficiently clear, the ‘without prejudice’ heading and settlement terms in the letter created some confusion and gave rise to the claim.
Employers should take care to keep separate and distinct any without prejudice settlement negotiations from dismissal or termination communications, which can be dealt with in open communications.
McQueen v General Optical Council  EAT 36: The EAT had to determine whether an employee’s disabilities had an effect on his conduct following incidents of inappropriate behaviour.
The EAT upheld a finding in the ET, that the Employee’s incidents of inappropriate behaviour were not linked to or as a result of his disabilities but that ‘he behaved as he did because he had a short temper, resented being told what to do and had lost his temper’. They also agreed that in any event, the Employer's actions would have been objectively justified.
In this case, incidents kept occurring and eventually led to a protracted grievance process and subsequent (unsuccessful) disability discrimination claims, however, this highlights that employers should, as a matter of best practice, obtain medical advice before taking any disciplinary action that could be attributed to any disability and consider reasonable adjustments – if such steps are taken, it may assist an employer in justifying its actions and give them stronger grounds to defend any claim in accommodating employees with disabilities to find reasonable adjustments.
For further advice on any of the issues raised above, please contact a member of the London Employment team.
 For more detailed information on gender pay gap calculations, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/gender-pay-gap-reporting-guidance-for-employers/making-your-calculations.