Friday 4 November 2016

Uber's challenge to the courts

Image result for employment tribunalCU suggested on Monday that Uber's challenge to the now employed status of its self employed drivers will pass easily through the courts. Once a sound judge has a think about it.And with expert advice. Sound judges have also ruled on Brexit. With a rather contentious judgement.

Having attended employment tribunals for many many years, representing the employer, I am not so sure. Employment rulings have baffled me. Going into one, despite preparation and legal advice, and having a full dossier of facts and figures, was always a lottery.

For a weekend competition, here are some examples.All are HR, or actions against no-win-no-fee firm's, if not necessarily tribunal ones. See if you can guess whether the action brought was successful or not.

CASE 1 - Young girl lost the tip of her finger shut in a manual  fire exit door. Defended by the insurance company. Doors signed as OK on a monthly H&S check just days before.
 C - Received apology from company. Told to seek legal advice elsewhere

CASE 2 - Store manager fell from a ladder and suffered bruised ribs and shins. Claimed the ladder was defective. The ladder had been signed off as 'in full working order' the previous day. By the person now making the claim that it was faulty.
 B - Received apology from company and awarded £8,000 damages.

CASE 3  - Young lady suspected of theft was asked by a male supervisor to lift up her top and drop her jeans to show she hadn't hidden anything underneath it. No item was found.
F - Received no apology and no compensation.

CASE 4 - An employee was observed by a member of the public in a 2nd floor display window.
The male employee was having ..erm..lets say ..a  private wonking session. The female member of the public asked for compensation for what she had witnessed. 
 E - Received apology from company. No compensation

Case 5 - A member of a retail staff made anonymous telephone calls to fire services and local council claiming that the building was unfit for work and in breach of fire regulations. Both were rejected by the officers who attended. Same employee made 7-10 other false allegations over the next 15 days about other workers.The management. human rights etc etc. Employee was dismissed after 20 days service, {including 7 days sickness} after three HR meetings over the previous weeks, as 'unsuitable'. 
Claimed unfair dismissal.
 A - Received £32,000 in damages.

Case 6 - Employer was asked by a manager to do a task. When he asked 'why us?' {he was in a group of chatting warehouse packers} was told "because you people are not doing anything."
The ethnic employee brought a case for a racist remark. The  words 'YOU People' he claimed, meant -You Black People.
The group being spoken to was of mixed ethnicity. The manager asking was mixed race himself and married to his Jamaican wife.
 D - Received full apology from the company and compensation about £300 in vouchers.

Match the outcome to the case.

A - Received £32,000 in damages.
B - Received apology from company and awarded £8,000 damages.
C - Received apology from company. Told to seek legal advice elsewhere
D - Received full apology from the company and compensation about £300 in vouchers.
E - Received apology from company. No compensation
F - Received no apology and no compensation.

Edited now - Results by each case. A fuller explanation in the comments


Steven_L said...

A - Received £32,000 in damages. - Case 6
B - Received apology from company and awarded £8,000 damages. - Case 2
C - Received apology from company. Told to seek legal advice elsewhere - Case 5
D - Received full apology from the company and compensation about £300 in vouchers. - Case 1
E - Received apology from company. No compensation - Case 4
F - Received no apology and no compensation. - Case 3

Bill Quango MP said...

I knew you would be good at this - 3 correct.

Nick Drew said...

I'm thinking 4 = D = fair enough

for the rest, I'm just guessing there will be things that will annoy me excessively (and the readership of the D.Mail)

Blue Eyes said...

I had an interesting chat with an Uber driver this afternoon. His main gripe was the commission that Uber charges - apparently 25% of the fare. He said that it seemed greedy.

He was a good Capitalist though because, unprompted by me, he said that the answer lies in competition to Uber.

Hopper said...

BQ seems to have ranked results A-F more or less by value to complainant. Here's a shot at a "deserved" ranking of complainants, descending:
1, 3, 4, 2, 6, 5
So let's go for A=1, B=3, C=4, D=2, E=6, F=5. I'm horrendously off here, I suspect.

2, 6 and 5 all look like "sod off, chancer" cases to me, which is probably why I should never take up personal injury lawyering.

Steven_L said...

BQ seems to have ranked results A-F more or less by value to complainant.

Eh? 6 is an equalities/discrimination claim,. I thought everyone knew you can't say "you people" to someone of black or minority ethnic background? That's loss of earnings plus injury to feelings up to about £20k or so. Whereas partial loss of finger is less than £5k unless you've insured it, and if a door slams on your finger it's generally seen as the fault of the person who slammed the door.

At an attempt for more than 3 I'll go:


Electro-Kevin said...

With the Yuman Rights Act pick a sensible allocation of compensation and then turn it upside down.

My guess is a racial issue trumps all. Followed by a gay one, followed by a feminist one.

Hurt feelings come top, serious injury comes bottom. Serious malicious injury does not register - except if it has a racist slant (only against minorities) and then it goes stratospheric... we're talking industry bankrupting compo, memorial plaques with CCTV coverage and peerages for the relatives.

dearieme said...

Wot I would have decided:

1: pay up.

2: serves the bugger right.

3: Christ, you can't do that. He should have brought in a female supervisor. Pay up.

4: stop being so precious, madam.

5: no compensation, and the turd to be charged with a crime.

6: no compensation and the complainant fined for fomenting racial hatred.

Jan said...

My guesses:

case 3 A £32K
case 4 D £400 vouchers
case 6 B £8K
case 5 C look elsewhere for legal advice
case 1 E apology
case 2 nothing

Jan said...

This is fun! By the way I wouldn't necessarily agree with my outcomes above but that is what I think would happen in the world we inhabit.

Bill Quango MP said...

ND - No compensation given. Other companies might have given vouchers. purely as a goodwill. But there is no reason too ..However more in summary below.

Hopper - long time no see! as you suspected you were way off . Zero %.

Steven_L : YHmm..stick to the first attempt. But your reasoning is sound on all.

EK - you are spot on. personal injury is a low compo value. Surprisingly so is maternity related actions and religious ones. Ethnicity is ace of trumps.

dearieme : back before Cherie Blair and no win no fee- your man/woman on the omnibus approach would have seen you right. But today only one was correct.

Jan - nah - good effort

- lets see why.

Bill Quango MP said...

Ok - As Steven and EK have said, personal injury is a bust. Its low compo unless provable negligence by an employer. Which really means deliberate breaches if the law. hard to actually prove.

So [case 1] the girl who lost her fingertip got nothing. In this case that was a miscarriage. next time you look at a double door firedoor you will see that the bar is either supposed to be a straight alignment, with no gap, or far enough apart not to trap a digit. In this case the door hinge on one side had sunk over time leaving just such a gap. And slam and chop. - went into tribunal fully expecting to have pay out on this.

Case 2 the man blaming the ladder he said was safe. Fully expected to win. But the insurance company said to settle. As the ladder had failed.{it had - fell into two parts - loose bolts i should think}- The claimant could just show pictures of the ladder and win. Doesn't matter who said it was safe. The manager asked for £20,000 and settled at £8,000.
Quite annoying that one. He was such a useless arse and not badly injured at all.
HR wouldn't let me do him for not checking equipment properly. On the very wise grounds that it would look like a malicious action by a vengeful employer.

Case 3
Girl getting her boobs examined.
no case to answer.She got nothing. manager asked her to prove she had nothing hidden. it was her who revealed her bust. He only asked to 'demonstrate non possession'.
As people here said should have gotten a woman to do a search. however that may not always be possible. Employers have a right to protect themselves from theft and to ask for people they are hiding nothing.
MPs got very upset with Sport Soccer on this same issue recently.But there was no legal problem with their practice of searching their employees. It was making them wait to be checked, unpaid, that was the issue.
Hard one to call. totally depends on who is hearing the case. could have gone either way.

Case 4; The masturbater. As you all suspected it was a chancer looking for a freebie and she simply got an apology. However, this was back in the days before phones had video. if you had contacted the newspapers they would have had no pics and no comments and would not have been interested. I would think nowadays when you contact a chain and say 'I have this disturbing video' some vouchers may be quickly sent as compensation.

Case 5: The bad employee trying to get sacked. They scooped £32,000. But that was an outside settlement. They may have got considerably more as at the tribunal every piece of our defence was thrown out. For no good reason that we could see. It was a terrible day. Knowing this was going to be a problem all employment law had been fully followed before dismissal. The standard line that under one year no one has any employment rights is not true.
In this, the 'daily mail case' the employee turned out to be a serial tribunal action taker. Earning plenty form getting sacked and using lapses in procedure to claim unfair 'xyz'. The employees parents were involved too. making stuff up. It was a racket that must have bankrupted many small businesses by now.

case 6. The 'racial' one. That lad got an apology and £300 vouchers.And were extremely grateful he was dumb enough to accept that. Racial claims are a total nightmare. unlimited damages. And hurt feelings do count more than lost limbs. Its the way the equality law is written.
I expect if this had gone to tribunal we would have won. But only give it a 60/40.
the downside was that this employee was now untouchable, and knew it. HR insisted he could not even be spoken to about anything for 6 months.
Luckily, with all the rope he had, once the 6 months were up, he had hanged himself many times over.

So - where the law is concerned, as we all know from our everyday lives, nothing is certain. And the only truisim is 'don't ever sue anybody who hasn't got any money'.

Steven_L said...

I ruled 5 out on the grounds he hadn't been in the job long enough for unfair dismissal. How come this isn't true then?

I must confess I've had some experience of the tribunals system myself. About 10 years ago my GP pointed out to me I had a pretty strong DDA claim on the back of being messed around by the occupational health contractors of a rather useless local authority.

So I looked into it and put a claim in. In the initial hearing the judge basically told me togo away and claim more, and them they were looking at getting costs awarded against them. So it got settled :)

Steven_L said...

And the only truisim is 'don't ever sue anybody who hasn't got any money'

I'd add to that "...unless you really want the insolvency service to investigate their affairs."

Hopper said...

Crikey BQ; reality is worse than I could possibly have suspected. A robot workforce looks increasingly attractive.