Results of a Poll Show Serious Problems in Maternity Leave and Working Place

Recent investigations point out that the problem of discrimination at work still exists for many women who get pregnant and decide to take maternity leave.

OnePoll organized a survey among 1,000 women which survey showed that most of them had faced discrimination in one way or another because of their maternity leave.

One in seven said that the maternity leave had cost them their working place and 2 in 5 of the asked women answered that after the end of their maternity leave their working hours were so cut that they could not work there anymore.

Another huge problem these women shared was that their employers did not support them in any way in order to return to their jobs. About a third of the asked said that in their opinion they were no more suitable for their previous working places and did not feel as they fitted there.

Employment law forbids discrimination against employee over maternity or paternity leave.

In spite of this, due to the hold poll only one in ten women ventured to speak to their employer’s HR department over suspected maternity discrimination.

The law firm Slater & Gordon commissioned the research and the final comment of their lawyer was that the results were “sad and shocking”.

“The big issue is that women are somehow seen as being less committed to their employers because they are now mothers,” said Ms Mangwana. “Many companies are settling out of court because they don’t want to be seen to be treating pregnant women or new mothers like this.

“But the awful thing is that I see the same major companies again and again and again, writing out these cheques – accompanied, of course, with a confidentiality clause.”

In a statement the Rosalind Bragg, from campaign group Maternity Action, announced that the number of pregnancy discrimination demands has doubled every year for the past three years.

In his opinion only a small percent of the women know their rights so they usually prefer not to spend time and energy to take any legal action against their employers but take care after their children.

The Legal Stop provides a full set of Maternity Leave documents:

Maternity Leave documents – Employer Pack

Maternity Leave documents – Employee Pack

Maternity Leave Policy

Confession of an Ex-police Officer on selling information

The newspaper Sun published detailed information about the mother of the footballer John Terry which information was provided by a former Surrey police officer who admitted having sold it.

The 40 years old Tierney pleaded guilty on the two offenses of misconduct.

Three other people pleaded guilty to misconduct in public office. These were prison worker Richard Trunkfield, another ex-policeman and a public official.

The decision of the court was that Tierney and Trunkfield were involved into corrupt payments so they were charged.

The place where the operation is being run was alongside Scotland Yard’s Operation Weeting.

Alan Tierney admitted he had sold information not only about Terry’s mother and the fact she had been cautioned for shoplifting but also Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood and the case when he was cautioned for assault after an incident that happened to the girlfriend he then used to be with.

In his confessions could be heard the periods between 26 March and 3 April 2009, and between 2-7 December 2009 as periods of misconduct.

The former police officer was released on bail and his final sentence will be passed on 27 March. He was warned by Mr. Justice Fulford that “all options remain open”.

Mr. Tierney appears to be the second convicted under Operation Elveden as the first one was

ex-counter-terrorism detective April Casburn.

A former prison operational support officer at HMP Woodhill admitted he was paid £3,350 to give information about a high-profile prisoner.

He pleaded guilty to misconduct in a public office but he will be sentenced at a later date.

There are legal reasons which do not allow the spread of information on the names of the second police officer and the public official.

The Legal Stop will sell you information in the form of high quality document templates or document drafting.

 

AN OVERVIEW OF CONTRACT LAW

A contract is a legally binding agreement setting out the rights and obligations of the parties involved.

The word “contract” is often misunderstood as it suggests a formal written document. However, according to the law a contract can be made in writing, orally or by conduct.

Although verbal contracts are enforceable, it is always prudent to have a written document setting out the terms which can then be used as evidence if there is a disagreement later. The Legal Stop offers a wide range of downloadable contract templates and fixed fee bespoke documents drafting, please visit our website for all your legal needs.

A contract is made only when four criteria are satisfied. They are:

  • Offer
  •  Acceptance
  • Consideration, and
  • An intention to create legal relations

Offer

An offer is a promise by one party to enter into a contract on certain terms. It must be specific, unambiguous and capable of acceptance and made with the intention of being accepted. An offer can be made to an individual, a group of persons or even to the world at large and may be spoken, written or implied by conduct.

An offer must be distinguished from an “invitation to treat”, which merely invites the other party to make an offer and does not carry the intention of being bound. An example of an invitation to treat is a display of goods in a shop. The offer to buy is therefore made by the customer and the shop is free to decide whether or not to accept the offer.

An offer can be cancelled at any time before it is accepted by the other party. If the other party decides not to accept the offer, then they cannot change their mind and accept it as the offer is regarded as having been terminated.

Acceptance

Acceptance must be made in response to the offer and must correspond with the terms of the offer and it must be communicated to the other party to the contract. An offer can be accepted by a communication to the person making the offer or by conduct. Acceptance by communication can include any clear indication to accept the offer as long as this is communicated to the person making the offer. It is therefore established law that acceptance can occur by clicking ‘I accept’ on a website or even sending an e-mail.

Sometimes, rather than accept an offer, a party may decide to make a counter-offer. This will amount to a rejection of the original offer so no contract is made. It will amount to a new offer and the person who made the original offer can then choose whether or not to accept it. Where a counter-offer is accepted then those terms rather than the original terms proposed will be the terms of the contract. If this occurs it is often termed “the battle of the forms” and it will often be difficult for the court to determine which set of conditions prevail.

The general rule is that an acceptance is not effective until it is communicated to the other party who made the offer. There are two rules on acceptance:

  1. The reception rule: it covers situations which involve instant communications such as telephone conversations, face to face negotiations, etc.
  2. The postal rule: as a general rule an acceptance must be brought to the attention of the person who made the offer. However, communication through the post is an exception to this rule. The postal rule is that acceptance is deemed to be effective at the time of sending. This is the position even if the letter is lost or delayed in the post provided of course it was correctly addressed. However, it is always advisable to obtain proof of posting to reduce the risk of disagreement at a later date.

The difficulty in relation to contracts formed via a website in relation to electronic communications is regarding whether or not the postal rule applies. Please note that the Electronic Commerce Regulations 2002 require suppliers to clearly state how an electronic transaction governed by the regulations is to be completed. If an offer does not specify the method of acceptance then it can be done by any way chosen.

Consideration

If a contract lacks consideration then it can only be enforced if it is made by deed. To be considered “good consideration” it must have some value even if, in the context of the agreement, it is only a nominal amount.

As a general rule, past consideration is no consideration. If a party is merely discharging a pre-existing obligation then there is no consideration for it. An example is where A is owed £20 by B and agrees to accept £10 instead. A is not precluded from later asking B for the balance of £10 as there was no consideration for accepting a lower sum because B was already under an obligation to pay the original amount.

Intention to create legal relations

The final point required in order to make a valid contract is to show that the parties intended to create a contract. In commercial transactions there is a rebuttable presumption that the parties intend their agreement to be legally binding. Common ways of rebutting this presumption are by the parties writing comfort letters, letters of intent or by using the words “subject to contract”.

Letters of comfort are used in loan finance transactions. They are issued by third parties and are often given to banks in relation to loans and are letters which provide encouragement or comfort to the lender to proceed with the loan.

Letters of intent are frequently used when negotiating mergers and acquisitions. The main purpose is to record a non-binding outline of the terms that the two parties have agreed.

The use of the phrase “subject to contract” is also used to rebut the presumption of contractual intent. It means the parties have not yet reached an agreement and are still negotiating.

Provided the elements of offer, acceptance, consideration and intention to enter into legal relations are present then a contract will have been formed. Thus, an oral agreement which satisfies these conditions will amount to a binding contract and each party will then be able to rely on those terms, and if necessary can take appropriate action to enforce these.

The Legal Stop is a straightforward online business using information technology for the public good. We aim to make the law and provision of legal services more accessible and transparent to people and businesses alike.

We provide fixed fee legal services and legal and business document templates for all types and sizes of businesses. We offer a wide range of downloadable contract templates and online legal services to businesses, start-ups, and individuals. Our services include:

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Loopholes for Student Visa

Shadow secretary Yvette Cooper announced that there are loopholes in the regulations about student visa and these do allow tens of thousands of people to enter in the UK without any checks.

Ms. Cooper accused the previous government and shared her opinion that Labour has to try harder in order to recognise the economic impact of immigration. She mentioned that while in government Labour did not always do the best so that immigration is managed in a way that it is “fair for all”.

She admitted that now her party did not like to talk about problems but she promised that things would change.

“We will support the government where it introduces sensible policies and we will point out where they are getting things wrong,” she said.

In her words the fines for firms that pay migrants less than the minimum wage should be doubled and British workers have to be given more opportunities to start working in sectors with high levels of foreign recruitment.

Ms Cooper told Today that the most important thing that now government has focused on was reduction of net migration.

She said she was informed of about 150,000 who were probably abusing student visas.

According to the information she has, the number of such visas has gone up by 30,000 a year since the election and at the same time applicants are not obliged to meet any academic requirements.

Another thing she mentioned was the problem with illegal immigration in the UK.

When talking about migration from the EU she proposed that the government coped with this problem in a “sensible” way.

The decision which has to be taken is to be forbidden for newcomers to claim Jobseekers Allowance in the first few days or weeks of their arrival.

Immigration minister Mark Harper, responding to Ms Cooper’s comments, told Today:

“Our policy of reducing net migration has been successful so far. We’ve reduced net migration by a third. Most of that has been from a reduction of people coming into the country – 74,000 of the 84,000 reduction in net migration is a reduction in immigration.”

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Caste Discrimination Law Needed in the UK

An amendment was recently voted by the Peers in the House of Lords in favour of Hindu people in the UK. After this amendment they would be protected from caste discrimination.

This was tabled by the former bishop of Oxford, Lord Harries, and would just broaden the Equality Act 2010 which is now responsible for discrimination on different bases like race, age and sexual orientation.

According to the equalities spokesperson in the House of Lords, many people were affected by caste discrimination.  In her words the affected people in the UK are about 850,000.

“Labour has promised to tackle this known but hidden problem – and with peers from across the Lords having now voted overwhelmingly in favour of this change to equalities legislation, ministers should now get on with implementing it.”

The government, however, is on the opposite opinion, claiming that even if law changes this would not stop the cases of caste discrimination.

A spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport said that he did not believe such legislation would help as most of the places where discrimination cases happened were in areas not covered by discrimination law.

Keith Porteous Wood, from the National Secular Society, said that the Government had in fact refused to follow the recommendation that last year UN had made and due to which discrimination had to be considered unlawful .

“Instead, all the Government offered those suffering from caste discrimination was conciliation where there is conflict. The peers, however, were determined to aid the vulnerable more effectively by providing legal protection on caste.”

Be careful when it comes to discrimination, as this is a serious accusation. Better prepare your business with an Anti-discrimination policy.

Unpaid Overtime for Legal Professionals in the UK

The people in the UK who work most overtime and are not paid on it are lawyers and others working in the legal sector.

The Trades Union Congress (TUC) presented figures showing that workers and employees who worked overtime without being paid worked out 2 billion hours for a year. Due to these figures about 6% of the legal professionals worked unpaid overtime which means 9.7 extra unpaid hours per week.

TUC announced that only managers of financial institutions and people working in education spend more hours working for free.

In recognition of ‘Work Your Proper Hours Day’ last Friday the TUC tried to show how important it is for people to ask for their money on overtime. Their investigations pointed out that legal professionals with average wages lost £13,921.44 per year when they do not get money for the extra hours they spend at their offices.

The general secretary for the TUC expressed his opinion that employees had to take care after their workers and pay them if they have any extra working hours.

“Where employees regularly have excessive workloads, businesses should be considering whether a few more members of staff might help make everyone less stressed and more productive.

“A long-hours culture is bad for workers’ health and their family life – whether the hours are paid or not.”

After these figures came to light, teaching union leaders criticized the government on their disputes over pay and working conditions as they gave teachers for example of commitment.

On the other hand, Sally Hunt from the University and College Union said that according to her “While the government cuts resources, staff continues to deliver for their students, despite the worrying increase of their workloads.

“This simply is not sustainable and the government cannot continue to expect more for less.”

The Legal Stop advises to prepare good employment contracts, with an overtime work clause included.

 

MPs Want Changes in Laws Governing Undercover Police Officers

After a report criticizing the behaviour of officers who had infiltrated protest groups over the last 40 years, came to light, MPs asked for tighter regulation of undercover officers.

According to the Commons Home Affairs Committee these undercover officers ruined the lives of women who had decided to live with them and have relationships with them. Another things MPs mentioned was the fact that the usage of the names of dead children to forge fake identities was a disrespectful practice.

It was announced that five women and one man are taking legal action against the Metropolitan Police because of their relationships with undercover officers. The committee also said that one undercover officer have most probably fathered a child with an activist before disappearing.

“It is unacceptable that a child should be brought into the world as a result of such a relationship and this must never be allowed to happen again,” the committee said.

In the words of the MPs, all families whose children’s names and identities were used had to receive full explanations and apologies.

“It is easy to see how officers infiltrating serious, organized criminal and terrorist gangs using the identities of real people could pose a significant risk to the living relatives of those people,” they said.

The report claims that the laws governing undercover police work need serious review.

The Association of Police Officers (Acpo) also supported the calls for a review of laws.

Head of crime, Merseyside Chief Constable Jon Murphy, said: “Used correctly, the tactic is lawful, ethical, necessary and proportionate. But it is also one of the most challenging areas of operational policing and can have considerable impact on public confidence.”

Without being undercover, The Legal Stop covers a wide range of legal document templates, tailored to suit our clients`needs!

Unfair Dismissal Claims will Follow the Planned Cuts

Since the Department for Education (DfE) announced its plans to cut 1,000 stuff in England it has received a large number of warns that if this happened it would face numerous claims of unfair dismissal. The reason the department has taken this decision is that it plans to cut its operating costs by 50% from 2010 to 2015. Another changes that are about to happen are the number of DfE offices in England the number of which will be cut from 12 to 6.

In the words of DfE the cuts will be made on capability grounds but the department says this is not a redundancy so it does not follow established redundancy procedures.

A solicitor for the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS) called Andrew James sent a letter to the Chris Wormald (secretary in DfE) in which he wrote that the department would face many employment tribunal headaches if it fails to follow redundancy procedures.

According to Mr. James PCS was being “mystified” by the DfE’s refusal to follow redundancy procedures. “A reduction in costs of 50%, a potential reduction in staff of 25% and the closure of six offices clearly gives rise to a potential redundancy situation.

“The department’s assertion to the contrary is, with respect, completely unsustainable.”

The remark of the PCS general secretary, Mark, Serwotka was that this was just an example of the chaos at the heart of education secretary Michael Gove’s department.

Yesterday 63.6% of the department staff members in the PCS voted pro strike action.

Their industrial actions were denounced harsh by a spokesperson for the DfE in whose opinion the proposed changes were necessary to “create a department that delivers an excellent service to the public, while ensuring value for money for the taxpayer.”

“We have made it clear that we want to avoid compulsory redundancies wherever possible and have held extensive discussions with the PCS and we are consulting with staff on the proposed changes,” he added.

Download a Redundancy Policy template, prepared by experienced UK solicitors

 

PROFIT A PRENDRE

A Profit a Prendre is an interest in land and gives a person the right to enter another’s land and take something from the land such as crops, timber, pasture, fish, game or minerals. The thing taken must be part of the land and be capable of being owned. A Profit cannot include water.

In other words, Profits a Prendre are usually rights to take from another person’s land something on the land itself or the wild animals existing on it that is the property of the landowner.

Examples of Profit a Prendre include rights to:

  • graze stock
  • plant and harvest crops
  • quarry stone, sand or gravel, or
  • take timber

A Profit can be Appurtenant or in Gross. An Appurtenant Profit can only be used by the owner of the adjacent property. It does not exist in its own right and is annexed to the ownership of other land. Conversely, a Profit in Gross is an interest in land that can be bought and sold separately from the ownership of the land itself. It exists in its own right and can be sold, purchased, assigned or otherwise transferred by its owner separately from the land over which the right arises (it exists independently of land).

A Profit a Prendre in Gross may be created by:

  • Deed of Grant
  • Common Law Prescription, or
  • Under the Doctrine of Lost Modern Grant (which presupposes a grant that cannot now be produced).

Please note that a Profit a Prendre in Gross cannot be acquired under the provisions of the Prescription Act 1832.

Prior to the LRA 2002, Profits a Prendre in Gross were not capable of registration separately from land. However, since 13 October 2003 a Profit a Prendre in Gross can be registered with its own title.

To be capable of registration under its own title, a Profit a Prendre in Gross must:

  • exist in its own right and not be annexed to the ownership of other land
  • be held in fee simple or for a term of years with more than seven years unexpired
  • be granted by deed, acquired by prescription at common law or acquired under the doctrine of lost modern grant
  • be in respect of something which is capable of ownership (it cannot be in respect of water as water is not owned by anyone)

The Legal Stop is a straightforward online business using information technology for the public good. We offer a wide range of downloadable contract templates and online legal services to businesses, start-ups, and individuals. In our portfolio of document templates we also have a Deed of Grant – Profit a Prendre in Gross to be used in order to grant the following rights:

  • profit of estovers
  • profit of pasturage
  • profit of turbary
  • profit to mow and take grass and hay
  • profit in gross of venery (including birds)
  • profit of piscary
  • profit in gross to sow, harvest and take arable crops

 

 

Legal Ombudsman Reveals mainly Complaints About Divorce Lawyers

A revelation came from the legal ombudsman that they do not receive more complaints in any other area of law than in family law and especially divorces.

According to a report called The Price of Separation, last year 18% of complaints that the ombudsman resolved were on divorce cases and family law.

The reason of a quarter of the complaints was the fact that most of the couples claimed they did not get enough information on the cost of their divorce.

An example was cited in the report explaining the case of a complainant who had first agreed a specific budget with her law firm but in the moment when their bill reached the very limit they asked the law firm to stop but it continued to act on her behalf.

In the end the bill was £15,000 larger than they initially indented to pay.

The lawyers are meant to do more to “save customers from themselves” and the long and expensive legal battles.

“In the case of divorce, that may be to counsel them against prolonging the case or fighting an unwinnable fight: persuading them that although they are angry and upset at their spouse’s behaviour, court may not be the best place to fight out those emotions,”

Another thing the report mentioned was that family lawyers and law firms do not do enough to keep clients up to date with the price of their cases.

The head of the LeO, Adam Sampson, said there was nothing strange in the fact that divorce lawyers received more complaints having in mind that most of their clients are too emotional and this way they create their problems on their own.

“However, clearly lawyers could be doing more to reduce complaints by providing accurate cost information, providing decent service levels and by taking complaints seriously,” he added. “I think this report challenges lawyers to raise their game and make the divorce process less painful for consumers.”

The LeO has republished their Cost Guide for Lawyers on their website, as well as publishing a consumer guide for using a divorce lawyer.

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