Friday, 16 December 2016

Christmas drinks event is a success

Thanks to everyone who attended our annual Christmas drinks and nibbles event! It was a great evening with over 80 people joining us at The Foundry, in Euston Way, Telford.

Here's a gallery of images from the night - lots of happy smiling faces and a lovely atmosphere! Did we catch you on camera?

Cllr Mak Singh, John Mehtam, Saroj Jakhu, Rakesh Saini, Gulshan Jakhu

Rakesh Saini, Cllr Mak Singh, Graham Davies
John Shepherd of Sport Mobile and Eliot Hibbert

Bill Dunphy of Signs Now UK, Heather Tweddle of Phillips & Co, Therese Dunphy of Signs Now UK
Matt and Charlotte Baker, Daniel and Kim Breeze, and Mohammed Ahsan 
Gary Matthews of Matrix Capital, Andrew Mason, Trevor Hirst of Quorum Logistics Support Limited 
Rob Orchard of Cyril Orchard Partnership, Graham Wynn of TTC Group

Ruling could change the face of the law

Relatives who believe they’ve been unfairly left out of a will could soon find it easier to challenge the decision.

Mohammed Ahsan, from Martin-Kaye Solicitors in Telford, said the Supreme Court was currently hearing a case that could change the face of the law.

“The case should clarify the law on challenging wills on the grounds that they don’t make reasonable provision for the relatives left behind, and potentially this will make it much easier for adult children to make a claim on the inheritance they believe is rightfully theirs.” Mr Ahsan said the case was an appeal by a group of animal charities who wanted to overturn a Court of Appeal decision.

“The Court of Appeal ruled in favour of a daughter who had been excluded from her mother’s will, after she left him with a boyfriend as a 17-year-old. The mother had initially left her £500,000 estate to charities including the Blue Cross, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, and the RSPCA.

“On appeal, the daughter who is now in her 50s, was awarded £143,000 to buy the rented home she was living in and an extra £20,000 for additional income.

“But now the charities have asked the court to consider whether the appeal court was wrong to overturn the decision and to allow the daughter to keep her state benefits.

“This case is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to relatives who feel they have been unfairly treated – and we have seen a real increase in enquiries from people who feel they haven’t received what they’re entitled to.

“Whatever decision the court makes, at least their judgement will give us some clarity on how to interpret the Inheritance Act 1975 and it will set out some guidelines for when challenges are, or are not, appropriate.

“It should also set out the criteria you need to meet in order to disinherit your adult children to make sure your wishes are followed and to ensure your will is executed effectively.

“Losing a loved one is always a stressful and emotional time, and so disputes over a will are likely to make things even worse. Taking expert advice is crucial before you decide whether challenging a person’s wishes is the right approach, so don’t be hasty, and talk to a professional adviser to find out where you stand.”

Wednesday, 14 December 2016

Paying the price for festive fun

Staff Christmas parties can be a nightmare with the fallout creating more than just a bad atmosphere in the workplace, a Telford lawyer has warned.

John Mehtam from Martin-Kaye Solicitors said when things go wrong during a festive celebration, many people believed the employer would be held responsible as they had organised the event.

But John has welcomed a new High Court ruling that cleared a company of any responsibility when an employee launched a violent assault on a colleague at a heavy drinking session straight after the firm’s Christmas party.

“Employers are usually held vicariously liable for any misdemeanours their staff commit ‘in the course of their employment’, but this latest case is a clear indication that liability can be different in every individual case.

“The incident occurred after the company party when half the guests decided to go on to a hotel where some were staying to continue drinking. The court decided that the drinks were separate from the Christmas party itself and at a separate location, with employees’ partners and other guests there as well as staff.

“The conversation had mainly been about non-work-related topics, but the attack was triggered by a work-related discussion when the managing director felt his authority was being challenged.

“Following the incident, the victim made a claim for damages against the company saying it was vicariously liable for the managing director’s conduct.

“Now even though the company had paid the taxi fares for the guests to return to the hotel – and indeed, was paying for some or all of the drinks – the court ruled that the attack was outside the managing director’s course of employment.

“They said the incident happened as a result of entirely voluntary and personal choices by the staff who had decided to take part in the heavy drinking session, and so the company could not be held responsible.

“A key point of their decision was that the attack happened during an impromptu drink which was not a part of the official work Christmas party.

“So just because the evening had begun as a work event, the decision by the employees to continue drinking afterwards was critical to the court’s decision as it was clearly a separate situation.

“Employees should remember that although Christmas parties are a great time to enjoy themselves while the company foots the bill, the onus is on them to behave in an appropriate and acceptable manner.”

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Do your staff have the right to work here?

A Telford solicitor has welcomed a tribunal ruling that backed an employer’s decision to sack a worker who could not prove he had the right to work in the UK.

John Mehtam leads the employment law team at Martin-Kaye Solicitors, in Euston Way, and he said the worker’s status had been uncovered when the employer ran a series of checks.

“The employee was Jamaican and the tribunal ruled that neither his passport or his birth certificate was sufficient evidence that he was legally entitled to work in the UK.

“There was no dispute about his entitlement to live here, it was purely a question of whether he had the right to work in this country. And the employer was absolutely right to take the decision to sack him, because if they were unable to obtain proof of his working status, they could have been fined up to £20,000 themselves and faced criminal action too.”

Mr Mehtam said the employee had been born in Jamaica and had lived in the UK since childhood, but his Jamaican passport had expired and he had no other evidence to prove he had the right to work here.

“The employer lent the worker the money to cover the cost of obtaining a valid Jamaican passport and the cost of an endorsement in the document confirming his employment status. But the worker failed to apply for the endorsement and the Home Office said the passport alone was not enough evidence – so after he failed to turn up to meetings arranged to discuss the situation, the employer dismissed him.

“He claimed he had been unfairly dismissed, but while the tribunal expressed its sympathy for him, it ruled that the employer was right to demand evidence of his status and that they had no option but to sack him.

“This ruling is a clear demonstration that employers need to ensure they are fully informed about the background of everyone on their books, and that they make the safety and reputation of their company a priority. Simply taking someone’s word for it when they claim to be entitled to work in the UK legally is just not an option.

“Companies must be aware that they will be the ones to face the fines and legal action if they fail to check the small print, and the onus is on the employer to take responsibility by asking the right questions.”