frankpeters/iStockBy IVAN PEREIRA and ALEX STONE, ABC News(LAS VEGAS) — It wasn’t a bird or another plane that grounded a flight from Las Vegas to Portland, Oregon, before takeoff Saturday, but rather a man who got onto the wing, according to police and an eyewitness.Police arrested Alejandro Carlson, 41, after the man reportedly got onto the tarmac at McCarran International Airport, ran up to an Alaska Airlines airplane and somehow climbed up one of the wings, the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said. The suspect moved about the wing for nearly 45 minutes before he fell onto the tarmac, Erin Evans, a passenger on the plane, told ABC News.“It was definitely one of the strangest things I’ve ever seen in my life,” Evans, 50, of Vancouver, Washington, said.The incident took place around 1:30 p.m. local time while the plane was taxiing for takeoff, according to Evans and police. The LVMPD said it appeared the man jumped the airport’s fence.Alaska Airlines said in a statement that the plane’s pilots noticed a man running to the aircraft and immediately called the air traffic control tower for help.Evans, who filmed the incident and posted it on her Facebook page, said she could not see how the suspect was able to make his way to the top of the wing, but within minutes he was outside her window, walking on it.“Our first reaction was, ‘Uhhh, who is this guy? Is this a terrorist type of activity?’” Evans said.Air marshals inside the plane instructed passengers to remain in their seats as they and officers tried to get the man off the wing, according to Evans. After about 45 minutes, officers used emergency exits to get onto the wing and approached the suspect, according to Evans’ video.The man walked toward the very edge of the wing, slid off and fell onto the tarmac, and officers quickly apprehended him, the video showed.Evans said she and the other passengers watched the incident in shock.“The flight attendant told me in the 30 years that she’s been a flight attendant nothing like this happened before,” Evans told ABC News.The Federal Bureau of Investigation responded to the airport security breach, but it was quickly determined the incident was not a federal case, and LVMPD took custody of Carlson, according to investigators. He was treated for minor injuries at University Medical Center and booked into the Clark County Jail for trespassing and disregard for public safety, police said.The investigation is ongoing, according to police.Evans commended the plane’s crew, airport officials and police for their handling of the situation.“Everyone was relieved in the end,” she said.Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
Facebook/Animal Shelter Assistance ProgramBy JON HAWORTH, ABC News(SANTA BARBARA, Calif.) — A pet cat who was thought to have died along with her owner in the massive Southern California mudslides in January 2018 that killed 23 people has been miraculously found three years later less than a quarter of a mile away from her home.The Animal Shelter Assistance Program (ASAP) in Santa Barbara, California, shared the story on social media saying that Patches, a calico cat, initially disappeared on the night of the Montecito debris flow which happened early in the morning on Jan. 9, 2018.Patches had been missing since the tragic event that ended up killing a total of 23 people.The devastation of the mudslides was so extensive that more than 100 homes were destroyed and over 300 more were damaged, according to the Los Angeles Times. Two of the victims who were killed in the mudslides were never found.Patches belonged to Josie Gower, who was one of the victims of the Montecito debris flow, and Norm Borgatello, who survived the incident, and had been missing ever since — until a stray cat was brought into ASAP last month.“It was a shock to discover, upon scanning her microchip, that she was, in fact, the long lost Patches,” ASAP said in a statement on social media. “Josie and her partner Norm (who miraculously survived that fateful night) were long-time supporters of ASAP, and when we discovered that Patches’ microchip was registered in Josie’s name, we were able to contact their family and facilitate a reunion no one thought possible.”According to the shelter, Borgatello had absolutely no idea that Patches was still alive until ASAP contacted him.“[Borgatello] was overwhelmed when he came to pick her up on New Year’s Eve, as though he’d seen a ghost. And in a way, it was almost like he had,” said ASAP.Even more uncanny was the fact that Patches was discovered less than a quarter mile away from her original home in Montecito.ASAP said it is unclear what Patches had been doing over the past three years since her disappearance but that it was clear both Patches and Borgatello were thrilled to be reunited with each other.Said ASAP: “We are so grateful that, with the support of our amazing community, not only are we able to save lives, but we are often able to help these special reunions happen. As we see time and time again, a lost cat with a microchip has a much greater chance of being reunited with their family… no matter how, or for how long, they’ve been separated.”Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
Samara Heisz/iStockBy MORGAN WINSOR, ERIN SCHUMAKER and EMILY SHAPIRO, ABC News(NEW YORK) — A pandemic of the novel coronavirus has now infected more than 97.5 million people worldwide and killed over 2 million of them, according to real-time data compiled by the Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.Here’s how the news is developing Friday. All times Eastern:Jan 22, 1:43 pmUK variant may be associated with higher mortality, Boris Johnson saysMore people are testing positive for the United Kingdom’s variant of the coronavirus, and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday “there is some evidence that the new variant may be associated with a higher degree of mortality.”U.K. Chief Medical Officer Chris Whitty stressed that the data is uncertain and there is a chance the new variant is increasing infections and mortality.The U.K. has seen record daily death tolls several times this week.There were 1,401 deaths in the last 24 hours.Jan 22, 1:00 pmNew York running out of vaccines today but more on the way: CuomoNew York state has used 97% of its allocated vaccine doses so far (for weeks 1 through 5) and will run out of doses by the end of the day, Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Friday.Week 6 doses are currently being delivered, the governor said.New York’s positivity rate has fallen to 5.65%, Cuomo said. Hospitalizations are also on the decline.Jan 22, 10:32 am‘Patient No. 1’ in US is now ‘back to his normal life’On Jan. 20, 2020, the first COVID-19 patient in the United States, known as “patient No. 1,” was brought to a Washington state hospital.Dr. George Diaz, the head of infectious diseases at Providence Regional Medical Center in Seattle, treated that patient. Diaz would later learn how to isolate COVID-19 patients properly, how to protect hospital staff and how to treat the illness.“We used Remdesivir, which was a new anti-viral at the time. He was the first patient to receive this drug in the world, and he had a good response to treatment,” Diaz told ABC’s Nightline.“Patient No. 1” was treated for five days before being released from the hospital, Diaz said. One year later, he is “doing great,” Diaz said.“He’s fully recovered and back to his normal life,” Diaz said. “Many people survive the illness but have lots of medical problems afterwards. Fortunately, Patient One recovered well.” Jan 22, 10:10 amFrance to require negative COVID-19 test for all arrivals by boat or planeFrench President Emmanuel Macron announced that all travelers arriving by boat or plane will have to test negative for COVID-19 before entering the country.The new measure, which goes into effect Sunday, includes visitors from within the European Union as well as those outside the regional bloc. They must take a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test up to three days before departure and provide evidence of a negative result before they travel, according to a statement from Macron’s office released late Thursday.People traveling for essential reasons, such as cross-border or ground transportation workers, will be exempt from the requirement. People arriving from other EU member states by train or car will also be exempt.France has the sixth-highest tally of diagnosed COVID-19 cases in the world, after the United States, India, Brazil, Russia and the United Kingdom, according to a count kept by Johns Hopkins University.The European nation of 67 million people confirmed another 22,848 cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, along with an additional 358 fatalities from the disease. That brings the cumulative totals to 2,987,965 cases and 71,998 deaths, according to the latest data from France’s public health agency.Jan 22, 9:03 amFauci says lack of truthfulness from Trump administration ‘very likely’ cost American livesWhen asked during an interview Friday on CNN’s New Day about whether the Trump administration’s lack of truthfulness in some cases regarding the coronavirus pandemic had cost American lives, Dr. Anthony Fauci said “it very likely did.”“I don’t want that, John, to be a soundbite, but I think if you just look at that you can see that when when you’re starting to go down paths that are not based on any science at all,” Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN’s John Berman. “Particularly when you’re in the situation of almost being in a crisis with the number of cases and hospitalizations and deaths that we have — when you start talking about things that make no sense medically and no sense scientifically, that clearly is not helpful.”Fauci, who was a member of former President Donald Trump’s coronavirus task force, had disagreed with Trump on how to approach the pandemic. At one point, Trump suggested he was considering firing Fauci.“There’s no secret, we’ve had a lot of divisiveness,” Fauci, who is now the chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, told CNN. “We’ve had facts that were very, very clear that were questioned. People were not trusting what health officials were saying.”Jan 22, 9:00 amNFL invites vaccinated health care workers to Super Bowl The National Football League announced Friday that it’s inviting 7,500 vaccinated health care workers to attend the Feb. 7 Super Bowl in Florida “to thank and honor them for their continued extraordinary service during the pandemic.”Jan 22, 6:12 amReports that Japan is looking to cancel Tokyo Olympics are ‘categorically untrue,’ government saysReports that the Japanese government has privately concluded that the upcoming Tokyo Olympics will have to be canceled are “categorically untrue,” according to Japan’s Cabinet Secretariat of the Headquarters for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.“The renewed schedules and venues for the Tokyo 2020 Games, starting with the Opening Ceremony on July 23 this year, were determined at the IOC Session in July last year. All parties involved are working together to prepare for the successful Games this summer,” the cabinet secretariat said in a statement Friday. “We will implement all possible countermeasures against COVID-19 and continue to work closely with the IOC, the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government in our preparations for holding a safe and secure Games this summer.”The statement follows a report published Thursday evening by British newspaper The Times, which cited “a senior member of the ruling coalition” who said there is agreement that the Games are doomed and the focus now is on securing the event for the Japanese capital in the next available year, 2032.The 2020 Summer Olympics were supposed to kick off in Tokyo last year on July 24. But in late March, amid mounting calls to delay or cancel the upcoming Games, the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Japan’s prime minister announced that the event would be held a year later due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Games are now scheduled to open in Tokyo this summer on July 23, but doubt has surfaced as Japan — and much of the world — grapples with a resurgence of COVID-19 infections.Jan 22, 5:21 amUS reports over 188,000 new casesThere were 188,952 new cases of COVID-19 confirmed in the United States on Thursday, according to a real-time count kept by Johns Hopkins University.Thursday’s case count is lower than the country’s all-time high of 298,031 new cases, which were confirmed on Jan. 2, Johns Hopkins data shows.An additional 3,955 fatalities from COVID-19 were registered nationwide on Thursday, down from a peak of 4,462 new deaths on Jan. 12, according to Johns Hopkins data.COVID-19 data may be skewed due to possible lags in reporting over the holiday weekend and earlier holidays.A total of 24,631,890 people in the U.S. have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since the pandemic began, and at least 410,349 have died, according to Johns Hopkins data. The cases include people from all 50 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and other U.S. territories as well as repatriated citizens.Much of the country was under lockdown by the end of March as the first wave of the pandemic hit. By May 20, all U.S. states had begun lifting stay-at-home orders and other restrictions put in place to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus. The day-to-day increase in the country’s cases then hovered around 20,000 for a couple of weeks before shooting back up over the summer.The numbers lingered around 40,000 to 50,000 from mid-August through early October before surging again to record levels, crossing 100,000 for the first time on Nov. 4, then reaching 200,000 on Nov. 27 before nearing 300,000 on Jan. 2.Jan 22, 4:26 am‘There is no plan B’ for Tokyo Olympics, IOC chief saysDespite rising COVID-19 infections in Japan, International Olympic Committee president Thomas Bach said Thursday that there is “no reason whatsoever” to believe the Olympic Games in Tokyo will not open on July 23 as planned.“This is why there is no plan B and this is why we are fully committed to make these games safe and successful,” Bach told Japanese news agency Kyodo in an interview Thursday.However, Bach admitted he could not guarantee that the stands would be full or rule out the possibility that the Games would be held without spectators, according to Kyodo.The 2020 Summer Olympics were supposed to kick off in Tokyo last year on July 24. But in late March, amid mounting calls to delay or cancel the upcoming Games, the International Olympic Committee and Japan’s prime minister announced that the event would be held a year later due to the coronavirus pandemic.Now, Japan is facing a resurgence of COVID-19. The country of 126 million people reported the highest number of new cases in the Western Pacific region last week. The infection rate — currently at 32.8 cases per 100,000 people — increased by 4% over the previous week, according to the World Health Organization’s latest COVID-19 weekly epidemiological update.The Japanese Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare confirmed 5,662 new cases of COVID-19 as well as an additional 87 fatalities from the disease on Thursday, bringing the cumulative totals to 348,646 cases and 4,829 deaths.Japanase Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has declared a state of emergency in Tokyo and 10 other prefectures due to climbing case counts and growing death tolls.Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. 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Sgt. Melissa Lessard/U.S. Army(WASHINGTON) — It has been one year since Army specialist Vanessa Guillen was last seen alive at the Fort Hood Army base in Texas.On the anniversary of her death, her family gathered in Washington, D.C., to push members of Congress to pass a bill to reform the way the military handles sexual assault and harassment allegations.Guillen, 20, was allegedly killed by another solder at the Killeen, Texas, base on April 22, 2020. Her family says she told them she’d been sexually harassed by a sergeant months before her death.“Young men and women … they’re not afraid to take a bullet for our country but they’re afraid to report sexual harassment,” Natalie Khawam, the Guillen family’s lawyer, said at a press conference in Washington Thursday. “This can’t happen anymore. If we don’t have legislation, [if we don’t have] the I Am Vanessa Guillen bill passed, we’re just going to see more deaths in our military. Young men and women serving our country need to be protected.”California Rep. Jackie Speier was originally expected to re-introduce the I Am Vanessa Guillen Act on Thursday. The bill was first introduced last September in a previous session of Congress but was never voted on.Khawam said Speier would wait for a report from an Independent Review Commission requested by President Joe Biden to investigate sexual assault in the Army. The report is slated to be released in May.The bill seeks to create an independent system where service members can safely report sexual misconduct cases without fear of retaliation and move prosecution decisions out of the chain of command. It would also make sexual harassment a punishable crime under the Uniform Code of Military Justice.Guillen’s sisters, Mayra and Lupe, gave emotional speeches Thursday, urging Congress to pass the bill.“It takes a lot for us to be here today after demanding justice after a whole year,” Mayra said. “All I ask for today is please don’t forget her name. Don’t forget the story.”Lupe cried during her statement and said her tears were out of “frustration.”“Every day she was putting her life, thousands of men and women are putting their lives at risk, simply for this nation. What does the nation give them? No rights,” Lupe said. “They don’t have the right to file a complaint outside the chain of command. They don’t have the right to speak up. My sister couldn’t speak up because she was afraid of retaliation.”She added, “The problem is not the aggressor — it’s the system, because the system does not hold them accountable.”Guillen’s death triggered a sexual assault reckoning in the U.S. Army and prompted the “I Am Vanessa Guillen” movement where military members opened up about sexual assault during their service.Guillen was allegedly killed by Spc. Aaron Robinson. He allegedly bludgeoned her to death with a hammer in an arms room, Khawam said last year. Robinson took his own life when police confronted him on July 1, 2020, hours after Guillen’s remains were discovered.Only one person has been arrested in her death, Robinson’s girlfriend, Cecily Aguilar. According to a criminal complaint against her, she told police she helped Robinson dispose of Guillen’s body. She faces up to 20 years in federal prison for one charge of conspiracy to tamper with documents or proceedings and two charges of tampering with documents or proceedings. In July, her lawyer entered not guilty pleas on her behalf.On Monday, Army officials dedicated a gate at Fort Hood in Guillen’s honor.“I want current and future soldiers to understand the impact of what we’re doing here today,” Lt. Gen. Pat White, III Corps and Fort Hood commanding general, said. “It’s mostly so in two, three, four years, we haven’t forgotten what this is all about, what this moment is about in our history.”A vigil will also be held at 6:30 p.m. ET at the Vanessa Guillen Mural in Washington.In Texas, state lawmakers have introduced several bills in honor of Guillen.Senate Bill 623, which seeks to create a state sexual offense prevention and response program and coordinator for Texas military forces, passed in the Texas Senate with an unanimous vote of 31-0 on April 12. The bill now sits with the Texas House Committee on Defense & Veterans’ Affairs.Other bills are seeking to rename a part of State Highway 3 after Guillen and make her Sept. 30 birthday a state holiday.In December, the Army announced 14 senior leaders and enlisted personnel at Fort Hood were fired or suspended following an independent panel’s review of the command climate and culture at the base.“The investigation after Vanessa Guillen’s murder found Fort Hood has a command climate that was permissive of sexual harassment and sexual assault,” then-Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said.Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.
Training news: workforce set to double at on-line learning firmOn 26 Sep 2000 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Comments are closed. On-line learning company Epic Group has announced it is to double its workforce in the next nine months, creating 120 jobs. The Brighton-based company has seen staff numbers grow from 81 to 116 since April – a 40 per cent increase. This figure will be 240 staff by 2001.Graduate training outsourced to partnerCisco Systems has outsourced its graduate training programme delivery to EMEA-certified training partner Horizon MTS. Running in Cisco’s Brussels training facility, the 16-week course began at the end of July for 250 graduates in groups of 15, mainly recruited from European universities. Horizon will provide up to eight instructors per week and most of the course delivery.Mentors will help IT leaders achieve potentialThe personal development network for senior information and technology executives, Impact, has launched a mentoring service for chief information officers (CIOs) and IT directors. The service aims to release their potential by providing a sounding board on the critical challenges they face. It was developed after Impact research found CEOs expect IT leaders’ business and personal management ability to be as strong as their technical awareness.Council is held up as an example to othersThurrock Council in Essex is being used as a role model for other local authorities and organisations after it created a training programme to help frontline staff develop their careers. The Help Yourself scheme is aimed at the direct works services department and aims to provide staff with basic skills training.Business studies included on OU timetableThe Open University is to offer an undergraduate degree in business studies for the first time. Business studies has previously only been available at postgraduate level through the OU, even though 12 per cent of students studying full time at universities take the subject. The first course will run from November.www.open.ac.uk Related posts:No related photos.
Previous Article Next Article Key employees inevitably have access to a company’s confidential information,customers and even your best employees to a rival venture, it could spelldisaster. Can they be stopped? Henry Clinton-Davies examines some of thesteps that employers can take to retain or at least restrain departingpersonnelThe commercial way to prevent employees leaving is by giving them incentivesto stay – either through financial reward or by enhancing their quality oflife. Financial incentives might, for example include the grant of shareoptions which only vest over several years – so an employee who leaves earlywould miss out on the vesting dates. Under The Child Support Pensions andSocial Security Act 2000, an employer operating an unapproved option schemewhose shares are “readily convertible assets” may now be able to passthe liability to pay employer’s National Insurance Contributions, (which ariseon exercise of the options), to the employee. Of course, the obvious way to encourage employees to stay is by ensuring agood working environment where they feel respected and fulfilled. Quality oflife can be improved by the introduction of flexible working hours and workingpractices adapted to suit individual needs. The employer’s goal should be toensure that what cannot be offered in cash incentives is made up for in termsof quality of life. Although these incentives may help, they are not always enough to protectagainst the defection of key employees. Other steps may be needed to protectthe business from damage. The employment contract The key to protecting your business and preventing unfair competition byex-employees lies in the employment contract. All employees owe their employerimplied duties of loyalty and good faith. But unless an employer can show thatinformation which ex-employees are using or misusing is tantamount to a tradesecret, or that ex-employees have embarked on a campaign of solicitation ofcustomers whilst still employed, these implied duties offer the ex-employerlittle protection. It is crucial then to ensure that the contract contains a properly draftedconfidentiality clause and enforceable covenants. All too often confidentialityclauses are drawn up that are as unenforceable as they are too general or allembracing. A properly drafted confidentiality clause: – Should define what is meant by confidential information with as muchprecision as possible. It is not sufficient to state that an employee must notdisclose confidential information per se. For example, rather than stating thatall the information about customers is confidential, which is plainly too wide,you may want to say that it is customer lists, pricing policy or therequirements of customers for the company’s products and services which areconfidential. – The employee should not only be prevented from disclosing information butfrom using it for his own purposes. – Should reflect the fact that confidential information has a shelf life sothat once information is in the public domain, (other than where the employeedeliberately discloses it), its dissemination is no longer restricted. – Should have regard to the limitations imposed by recent whistleblowerslegislation, contained in the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998. Under thatAct clauses in contracts that prevent employees from making “protecteddisclosures” (from reporting wrong doing through the proper channels) arevoid. It could be argued that a blanket confidentiality clause without a carve-outfor protected disclosure could fall foul of this rule. Garden leave Another useful device to exert a measure of control over an employee wishingto leave is to include a garden leave clause in the employment contract. Thisenables the employer to suspend the employee during his notice period. Theemployer must, however, continue to pay the employee to stay away from theoffice. “A good deal for the employee” you may say. Yes, but at thesame time the employee’s access to confidential information and to clients isrestricted. Many companies seem to think that they can require a departing employee totake garden leave even without a contractual clause. In most cases they arewrong, see William Hill Organisation v Tucker, 1998, IRLR 313. As in that case,forcing an employee onto garden leave in such circumstances will usually be amajor breach of contract. The employee will be able to claim constructivedismissal and the company will be barred from relying on any other non-competerestrictions in the contract. Also, bear in mind that time spent on garden leave is time out of themarket. The courts may now take this into account in determining whether anyother restrictions you seek to impose on employees after they leave arereasonable. Time spent on garden leave should therefore be set off against theperiods of time which any other restrictions are intended to last. A garden leave clause: – Should be reasonable in scope and duration: increasingly the courts areapplying the same tests of enforceability as they do with other restrictivecovenants. Garden leave can only be imposed for a reasonable period of time,which is not necessarily synonymous with the entirety of an employee’s noticeperiod. – Should restrict the employee from working for other companies. If you donot include this stipulation, you could find yourself in the galling positionof paying the employee on garden leave whilst he receives a second salaryelsewhere, see Hutchings v Coinseed Ltd, 1998, IRLR 190. Even clauses which dothis are subject to the reasonableness test: the court will retain a discretionas to whether to enforce them and may for example allow an employee to work forsome third parties but not others (see Symbian Limited v Christensen, 2001,IRLR 77). – Should restate that the employee continues to owe duties of good faithwhilst on garden leave. At present the courts seem to be in two minds whetheran “implied duty” is applicable. Restrictive covenants There are a variety of restrictive covenants that can be included in anemployment contract to protect your business against unfair competition. Well-drafted restrictive covenants can provide an employer with much neededprotection against key employees who leave to join a rival. Key considerations in drafting restrictive covenants are: – Does the employer have a legitimate interest to protect, such as hisconfidential information and customer connection, and if so, is the clause nowider than is reasonably necessary to protect that interest. If in doubt, seekadvice! – Include a “non-solicitation of customers” clause, backed up by anon-dealing clause. A company will normally be able to establish that it has alegitimate interest in protecting its customer connections. Solicitation isdifficult to prove if the customer says, “I voluntarily followed theemployee”. The clause therefore needs to prevent the employee contactingor dealing with customers. It is wise to limit these prohibitions to customerswith whom the employee has recently been in contact (say in the past 12months). As with all covenants the clause should also be limited to areasonable period after the end of the employment, (as a broad rule of thumb nomore than 12 months), minus the time spent on garden leave. – Include a “non-poaching of employees” clause. A company’semployees are often a vital asset of the business, particularly if they possessthe skills essential to a business’s success and have influence over keycustomers. If a departing employee tries to persuade former colleagues to leaveas well and join a competitor or start up a competing venture – it could bedisastrous. The courts have recognised this as an area that merits protection,but have set some limitations on the principle. The prohibition can only applyfor a reasonable time. Also, the clause should be limited to key employees interms of seniority and expertise, and only include any employees who worked forthe company at the same time as the ex-employee, (TSC Europe (UK) v Massey,1999, IRLR 22). An exception to the general rule was made in the recent case ofSBJ Stephenson Ltd v Mandy, 2000, IRLR 233, where a non-poaching clause wasupheld, even though it related to all grades of staff. However, that was a casedecided on its own particular facts. – Include a clause that prevents the employee from working for a competitor.This kind of clause is the most draconian and, therefore, the most difficult toenforce. To try and ensure this clause can provide some protection, it must bevery carefully drafted. In particular a clause that prevents the employee frombeing involved in any business “in competition with that carried on by theex-employer” without regard to what the employee was actually doing wouldbe too wide to enforce, (as was the case with Wincanton Ltd v Cranny & SDMTransport, 2000, IRLR 716). Thought should also be given to whether the clauseshould only apply in a limited geographical area and whether the period ofrestraint should be shorter than the other covenants. Payments in lieu of notice When an employee leaves to join a competitor – an employer’s first reactionmay be to want the employee to leave immediately. If this is not provided forin the employment contract, it could create problems, as the employer could bein breach of the contract and so lose the right to rely on the restrictivecovenants in the departing employee’s contract. The solution adopted by manyemployers is to include a payment in lieu of notice (Pilon) clause in thecontract that allows the employer to terminate the contract immediately with apayment in lieu of notice. The reasoning is that if the contract contains aPilon clause, the employer is not acting in breach of contract in bringing thecontract to a premature end and is therefore still able to enforce thecovenants. Provided that the clause merely gives the employer the option of terminatingemployment with a Pilon, the employer has a choice: he can pay up, require theemployee to leave and enforce the covenants. Alternatively he can refuse topay, accept he is in breach of contract and leave the employee to claimdamages. The downside is that the employer must forego reliance on thecovenants. The advantage however is that the employee has no automatic right tothe Pilon. As in the case of Cereberus Software v Rowley, CA, 18 January 2001,the employee is then under a duty to mitigate his loss and must give credit forearnings from new employment received during the notice period. Recently, a rival company sued one of our clients in the High Court. Therival alleged that two employees, who had recently joined our client, should bestopped by a court injunction from dealing with their old employer’s customers.We won. Why? Because the relief sought by the ex-employer went beyond theprotection provided for in the employment contracts his lawyers had drafted.The lesson is clear – if you would like to prevent ex-employees from enjoyingan unfair competitive advantage, protect yourself in the contract ofemployment. Henry Clinton-Davis is partner and head of the employment and humanresources team at Brobeck Hale and Dorr Comments are closed. Stemming the tideOn 1 Apr 2001 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos.
Comments are closed. Related posts:No related photos. Previous Article Next Article Playing it straightOn 1 May 2001 in Personnel Today According to a recent court decision, discrimination because of sexualpreference is as valid as that of discrimination due to gender. Nick Hurleylooks at the issues employers should now consider to ensure that all employeesreceive equal treatmentBefore the recent case of MacDonald v Ministry of Defence, 2000, IRLR 748,UK courts had been generally reluctant to extend the protection of the SexDiscrimination Act 1975 (SDA) to claims of discrimination on the basis ofsexual orientation. This was demonstrated in the well-known case of Grant v South West Trains,1998, IRLR 206. In that case South West Trains refused to give a travel passproviding cheap travel to a (female) homosexual employee’s partner. Grant’semployer’s policy provided that “privilege tickets” would be grantedto “a married member of staff…” or to “one common law oppositesex spouse of staff…subject to a statutory declaration being made that ameaningful relationship has existed for a period of two years or more”.Grant applied for travel concessions for her female partner on the basis of a”meaningful relationship” for more than two years but the request wasrefused. Grant claimed that the refusal amounted to discrimination because theconcession would have been given to her partner if her partner had been male.The European Court of Justice however did not accept this. They held that thecondition (that the partner be of the opposite sex) was applied equally tomales and females and therefore was not discriminatory. This position was confirmed in the more recent case of Pearce v GoverningBody of Mayfield School, 2000, IRLR 548, which was decided just a few monthsbefore MacDonald. In this case the EAT held that homophobic abuse by pupils ofa lesbian teacher did not amount to sex discrimination under the SDA. The claimfailed on the basis that there was no evidence of less favourable treatment onthe grounds of sex, as a male homosexual teacher would have suffered similarabuse and treatment. The EAT said that there could be discrimination if the treatment of male andfemale homosexuals differed, but in this case the pupils were generallyhomophobic, not discriminating as against male and female homosexuals. In lightof both this decision and that in Grant it appeared that the legal position wasvery clear – provided an employer was equally intolerant of male and femalehomosexuals, a sex discrimination claim would not succeed. The case of MacDonald has however altered this and broken new ground.MacDonald was a flight lieutenant who had disclosed his sexuality during aninterview process for a new post, which required special security clearance. Hewas asked to resign his commission when his sexuality was revealed, but he refusedto do so and in consequence was dismissed by way of compulsory resignationunder Queen’s Regulation 2905, in March 1997. MacDonald complained that his dismissal amounted to unlawful sexdiscrimination and that he had been subjected to sexual harassment due to theMinistry of Defence’s vetting process. While the Ministry of Defence admittedthat he was dismissed because of his sexuality, they denied that this amountedto sex discrimination or that he had been sexually harassed. The employment tribunal dismissed MacDonald’s claims. However the ScottishEmployment Appeal Tribunal (SEAT) in Edinburgh went against all existing caselaw and found that he had been discriminated against on the grounds of hissexuality and that he had also been subjected to sexual harassment. In making their decision the SEAT took into account the case of Smith andGrady v UK, 1999, IRLR 734 in which the European Court of Human Rights decidedthat investigations by the Ministry of Defence into the homosexual orientationof members of the armed forces was a violation of their human rights underArticle 8 (right to respect for private and family life). Further, the SEAT held that the word “sex” in the SDA wasambiguous and should be interpreted to include “on grounds of sexual orientation”as well as meaning “gender”. The appropriate comparator thereforewhere a homosexual man is claiming discrimination relating to his sexualorientation, is a heterosexual woman. This interpretation is contrary to all existing UK case law and while itremains to be seen how courts and tribunals will interpret this case in thefuture, the significance for employers cannot be ignored. What is the practical effect of this for employers? Dismissals The most obvious outcome of this case is that when considering whether todismiss an employee, that employee’s sexual orientation cannot be a relevantfactor at any stage. In similar vein, when recruiting, an applicant should notbe rejected on the grounds of their sexual orientation. Benefits Benefits that are provided to employees’ heterosexual partners must now alsoapply to homosexual partners. For example, in the same situation as Grant, ifthe courts follow the case of MacDonald then concessionary travel benefits mustbe given to same sex partners if they are given to heterosexual partners. Thiswould also hold true in respect of other fringe benefits such as medical healthinsurance. Staff training It would be advisable for employers to revisit their equal opportunitiespolicy to include the fact that not only will the employer not toleratediscrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation, but that individuals whodiscriminate on the grounds of sexual orientation or treat others lessfavourably on these grounds will be subject to disciplinary action. It is also prudent for managers to be afforded further training on how toimplement the policy properly as there is little benefit to an employer ofhaving such a policy, if managers are not clear on how it is to beadministered. Additionally, employers must be wary of taunts about an individual’s sexualorientation. While such taunts should never be tolerated, what some consider tobe “office banter” may now be not only inappropriate but also lead toa successful sex discrimination claim. An employer’s harassment policy shouldalso be reviewed to ensure that harassment based on sexual orientation isclearly included. How far does the MacDonald case go? Since MacDonald goes against all previous UK case law, there may be somethat argue that the case has not been correctly decided. And although thedecision cannot be ignored, it is worth noting that the case is currently beingappealed. It should also be noted that Pearce has appealed the EAT’s decisionand, at the time of writing this article, the case is being heard by the Courtof Appeal. It will be very interesting to see what decision this court willreach following the MacDonald decision. Even if MacDonald is overturned and Pearce’s appeal is dismissed, employerswill still have to take steps to prevent discrimination on grounds of sexualorientation. The EC framework directive for equal treatment in employment givesthe UK until 2003 to implement legislation, which among other things, coversthe prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation. So, with orwithout MacDonald – or Pearce – employment practices will have to change. Nick Hurley is a senior solicitor in Charles Russell’s Employment LawGroup Actions employers need to take– When recruiting an individual, the sexual orientation of that individualmust have no bearing on whether or not they are selected for interview and/orultimately appointed to a position.– When considering fringe benefits for employees, any benefit that anemployee’s heterosexual partner benefits from must also be given to same-sexpartners.– Equal opportunity and harassment policies should be revisited to ensurethey cover discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation and state that anyemployee who discriminates on the grounds of sexual orientation will be subjectto the company’s disciplinary procedure.– Employers should consider what further training might be necessary, notonly to ensure that managers implement the equal opportunities policycorrectly, but also to encourage a change where necessary to prevent”office banter” relating to sexual orientation and homophobic abuse.
Longer hours blamed for rise in levels of dissatisfaction at workOn 7 May 2002 in Personnel Today Today’s employees are working longer hours and are less satisfied at workthan they were 10 years ago, according to research by the Economic and SocialResearch Council. The survey of 2,500 employees reveals that only 16 per cent of maleprofessionals and managers are very or completely happy with the hours theywork compared with 36 per cent who responded to a similar poll in 1992. Female staff are also dissatisfied at work, with just 29 per cent reportingthat they are content with their working hours compared with more than 50 percent in 1992. Nearly 50 per cent of men and 32 per cent of women surveyed regularly workadditional hours on top of their basic week, with most doing so to meetdeadlines and work pressures. The research findings mirror those of a major study by the Work Foundation,published last month, which concluded that staff morale has plunged across thecountry over the past decade. Dr Michael White, who helped produce the ESRC study, said the survey alsoreveals low take-up of flexible working, with the proportion of staff that canset their own working hours increasing from just 17 per cent in 1992 to 22 percent in 2000. White, senior fellow at the Policies Studies Institute, advised employersthat if they want to retain good staff they must address the issue of work-lifebalance more effectively. “Employers have not woken up to the change in staff attitudes. In theearly 1990s there was so much unemployment around that people were just happyto have a job. Now employees are more questionable and critical. People expectto spend time with their families,” said White. “There is a lot of good HR-based work happening in organisations but itis focused on employer issues such as training and development, which is nottop of employees’ agendas. If employers do not address this they will end uplosing top staff.” www.regard.ac.ukBy Paul Nelson Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Related posts:No related photos.
A touch of the Lara Crofts at e-learning LondonOn 1 Jul 2003 in Personnel Today Previous Article Next Article Attracting a lot of attention at the recent e-Learning London Show wasLogicom and British Gas’ innovative Real World Environment training programme,designed for service engineers. The programme aims to enhance the skill levels of British Gas engineers andModern Apprentices, and does so by utilising 3D sound, video and animation tosimulate a service engineer home visit. The technology behind it, which lets learners interact with objects withinthe environment, is based on one of the world’s most successful PC-based gamesengines. It has been re-engineered for training purposes, explains Grayham Amos,product director at Logicom. “The demonstration at the show wasn’t runningon the web, but the technology can be configured appropriately to run over thenet,” he said. www.luk.net Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed.
Previous Article Next Article British workers oppose moves to end the UK’s opt-out to the working timedirective, according to a new study. A clear majority of those who work more than 48 hours a week do so largelyas a result of their own choice rather than employer compulsion, research bythe Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) claims. The survey of more than 750 long-hours workers, Calling Time on WorkingTime?, also claims there is little evidence of any employer abuse of theopt-out. Around three-quarters of staff who sign the clause do so as a result oftheir own choice rather than any employer pressure, and only a minorityactually sign the clause at the same time as signing their employment contracts– a key concern identified in the European Commission’s consultation, whichclosed last week. Gerwyn Davies, the report’s author, said: “Our survey shows thatlong-hours workers are opposed to the removal of the opt-out and in particularany moves to restrict their freedom to choose to work long hours. “The issue of long hours working is complex. It cannot be addressed bya uniform ban. “The negative effects of long-hours working are evident from thereport, but these are best solved by employer measures, such as flexibleworking arrangements, rather than a blanket ban on long hours working.” The survey clearly illustrates the potentially damaging effects of longhours on employee welfare and productivity. Around 10 per cent of employeesreport physical effects and 17 per cent an impact on mental health. More than a third of staff report that working long hours negatively affectstheir performance, with a significant proportion believing they could be justas effective and productive if they cut their working hours. Key findings of the long-hours survey– Seven out of 10 respondents stated that it was partly ortotally their choice to work in excessof 48 hours. However, 30 per cent claimed that there was an element ofcompulsion, which was up from 11 per cent in 1998– The majority of respondents working 48 or more hours a weekwere putting in the extra hours consistently throughout the year. Almostthree-quarters (73 per cent) of those working 48 or more hours a week did soeither most weeks or every week– Six out of 10 respondents who had signed the opt-out clausedid so after the date of signing the employment contract, with some 37 per centsigning on the date itself– The biggest regret among respondents working 48 hours or morea week was the fact that they missed out on leisure and hobby time. This wasput forward by almost seven out of10 (69 per cent) people. Strain onpartner relationships was also a key concern (47 per cent)– Almost half (45 per cent) of respondents believed theircompanies encouraged the working of long hours– More than four out of 10 respondents (41 per cent) claimedthey could maintain the same level of productivity while cutting back thenumber of hours worked each week– When explicitly asked whether the EU should have the right tolimit the number of hours staff work, a clear majority (66 per cent) wereagainst the notion– Fewer than one in three workers can identify the number ofhours set out by the Working Time DirectiveSource: CIPD UK workers in favour of keeping 48-hour opt-outOn 6 Apr 2004 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Comments are closed.