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Employment Relations Act 2004

Protection of employees in respect of jury service

272.Section 40 amends the law to protect employees who are dismissed, or otherwise detrimentally treated, because they serve on juries or are summoned to do so.

273.Subsections (1) and (2) insert a new section (section 43M) into the Employment Rights Act 1996. The new section provides that an employee has the right not to be subjected to detrimental treatment on the ground that he has been summoned for jury service or has been absent on jury service. Detrimental treatment does not include failure to pay remuneration during such an absence unless the employee’s contract of employment entitles him to be paid during the absence.

274.Subsection (3) inserts new section (section 98B) into the 1996 Act. The new section provides that it is unfair to dismiss an employee because he has been summoned for jury service or has been absent on jury service. It does not apply if the employer shows that his undertaking was likely to suffer substantial injury if the employee was absent; that he made this known to the employee; and that the employee nevertheless unreasonably refused or failed to apply to the appropriate officer to be excused from jury service, or to have his service deferred.

275.Subsections (4) and (5) add section 98B to the list, contained in section 105 of the 1996 Act, of reasons for which it is unfair to dismiss an employee on grounds of redundancy (if others in the same circumstances are not dismissed).

276.Subsection (6) adds section 98B to the list, contained in section 108(3) of the 1996 Act, of exceptions to the requirement for one year’s qualifying service before being able to bring a claim for unfair dismissal.

277.Subsection (7) adds section 98B to the list, contained in section 109(2) of the 1996 Act, of exceptions to the rule that an employee who has reached the “normal retiring age”, or otherwise the age of 65, may no longer bring a claim for unfair dismissal.

278.Subsections (8) and (9) amend sections 237 and 238 of the 1992 Act. Section 237 provides that an employee dismissed while taking unofficial industrial action has no right to complain of unfair dismissal. Section 238 has the general effect that an employee dismissed while taking part in official industrial action or involved in a lock-out only has a right to claim unfair dismissal if some of the other employees taking part or involved are not dismissed, or (where all are dismissed) if he is not offered re-engagement and some of the others are. Subsections (8) and (9) add section 98B to the list of exemptions to these provisions.

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