The sun has got its hat on – what’s not to like?

Well, quite a lot it appears! Especially if you’d like our green and pleasant land to be at least a bit green-ish, and you’d rather be basking in delicious warmth rather than feeling you’ve been roasted on a spit over hot coals.

Despite the nagging doubt that our glorious summer is due to global warming, and that we’ll soon all be travelling down that miserable, dry, and dusty road to hell in a handcart, I resolve to be happy, stay cool and, in the process, do my bit for summer water conservation.

With that in mind, and Mr Carrington’s birthday looming, I bought him the best present I could think of. A paddling pool. And before you think I’m a little odd, I have to tell you that he absolutely loves it! Perhaps it is a little unusual, but the next time you’re feeling hot and bothered in the 30 degree-plus heat, and your children have banned you from using their paddling pool, think of us dangling our feet in ours.

And, of course, should water become rationed, and my hose pipe banished forever (it seems to sense this lately and is already making pre-emptive strikes against this threat by coiling and recoiling around my feet like a malevolent snake), I shall recycle the water for the garden plants. Mission accomplished. Happy, cool, and an eco-warrior to boot! Was it ever in doubt?

What’s not in doubt is that very soon the summer will be over, autumn upon us, and we’ll be back to complaining about the rain and the cold. It will probably make us all very happy to be miserable again!

Work-wise, autumn only means one thing to me and that’s Law on Tour, which kicks off on 2 October 2018 and runs until 19 October 2018 at locations around the UK. We’ve got so many interesting topics lined up to discuss, including all the latest on sexual harassment, caste discrimination, redundancy, dress codes and so on, as well as all the employment law news and case law, and we’ll also be reviewing how to avoid unfair dismissal.

Speaking of which, something I hear myself saying time and time again on Law on Tour is go back and read the legislation, if in any doubt as to how to proceed with an employment law issue, and this is echoed in two recent cases, Quintiles Commercial UK Ltd v Barongo, and Mbubaegbu v Homerton University Hospital.

In these cases, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) referred back to the letter of the law on dismissal, namely section 98(4) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA), reminding us that when considering whether a dismissal is fair or not, we need to be mindful of the difference between unfair dismissal and wrongful dismissal.

In the Quintiles case, the EAT confirmed that, once a potentially fair reason for dismissal has been established (in this case, conduct), there is no rule of law at s98(4) ERA that prevents the dismissal of an employee, who has not received prior warnings for misconduct that is categorised as ‘serious’ but not ‘gross’ misconduct, being fair. What matters is whether the dismissal is fair in all the circumstances and passes the ‘band of reasonable responses’ test.

In the Mbubaegbu case, the EAT held that a pattern of misconduct might amount to gross misconduct even if the individual acts involved are not categorised as such. However, while the dismissal will be fair if the ‘band of reasonable responses’ test is met, the question of whether the employee has been dismissed wrongfully, when dismissed without notice or pay in lieu of notice, rests on whether the employee’s misconduct fundamentally breached the contract of employment.

We’ll be discussing these two cases in much more detail, along with lots of other important case law at one of the Law on Tour venues near you. The course is filling up quickly, so if you want to ensure a place at your venue of choice, get booking soon.

John Fenton (my co-tutor) and I really look forward to seeing you in October, when the heat of the sun will have gone, the leaves will be falling from the trees, and our lovely paddling pool up for sale. As if!

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