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Class-action lawsuit for UK lender

The U.K.'s largest mortgage lender is being sued for the second time by its shareholders. The class-action lawsuit has been brought by 220 investors who claim that the banking group and its executives "knew or ought to have known" that an acquisition in 2008 would "not be in their best interests" and that they had been misled.

The investors' claim states that the banking group was aware that the company they acquired had been manipulating the benchmarks for interest rates and that the "secret loan" given to the acquisition indicated the "folly" of the takeover bid. The acquired company was also receiving financial support from both the Bank of England and the U.S. Federal Reserve prior to the takeover.

Personal trainer wins employment tribunal

A gym employee who was fired after numerous warnings about his unwanted behaviour has won an employment tribunal. The Jehovah's Witness was sacked after his conversations about his religious beliefs made clients and colleagues uncomfortable.

The tribunal found that his final written warning did not equal an overall ban on discussions about religion and that he had therefore suffered unfair dismissal. The judge reduced the man's compensation award by 75 percent due to his previous behaviour and rejected the claim that there had been religious discrimination.

Defamation case delayed until 2015 due to doctor's note

A case brought by an assembly member over claims that five men circulated false statements in a dossier given to a group leader, as well as a newsletter handed out in a religious meeting, has been delayed until 2015. A South Wales East assembly member and a man who had tried to mediate the dispute have made the claim of defamation.

One of the accused, who was representing himself, provided a doctor's note that stated he would be unable to attend the court this week. The judge overseeing the hearing adjourned proceedings until the man was able to return. As the judge said that he would be unavailable before December and another man's legal representative would be unavailable until after December, the case will most likely resume in 2015.

Former executive alleges retaliation after whistleblowing

A chief executive for a charity who drew attention to governance and financial issues has claimed that being outed as the whistleblower resulted in constructive dismissal. The woman, who had raised her concerns about the charity internally, had taken sick leave after suffering injuries in a bicycle accident and repeated her concerns under the auspice of public interest disclosure. Her unfair dismissal claim has been approved for hearing before a formal employment tribunal, and a spokesperson for the charity said that they would contest the case.

After she was revealed to be the whistleblower, the woman said that her position within the organisation was made untenable, that she suffered "detriment" and that she was forced to resign. Her claim is against both the chairman as an individual and the charity as a whole. The charity had instigated an investigation because of the attention, subsequently beginning a restructure within the organisation.

Firms facing allegations of discrimination offer settlements

U.K. construction firms that are embroiled in a recent employment scandal that allegedly affected more than 3,000 people are now offering compensation payments through a settlement scheme that some lawyers have estimated to be worth thousands of pounds less than the victims might be entitled to at the end of an action pursued in court. An inquiry into the incident, which involved a hiring "blacklist", is ongoing and being conducted by MPs on the Scottish Affairs Committee.

According to reports, a company known as The Consulting Association provided information to construction companies that often erroneously documented a potential employee's political involvement and trouble-making activities. Reports created by the association about potential employees were collated into a blacklist that was used by the constructions firms to prevent people from finding work in the industry. Eight of these companies have now offered quick settlements valued between £4,000 and £20,000 with a cap of £100,000 to those who can prove that they suffered discrimination due to use of the list.

Former owner of hotel wins case for unfair dismissal

A woman whose business was taken over by a hotel chain in 2010 has won an employment tribunal for unfair dismissal. The former owner was a minority shareholder with the hotel chain holding the majority of the shares of her hotel. After the takeover, she was employed as a manager in another of the company's properties until her dismissal in 2012. The tribunal ruled that she had suffered unfair dismissal, although they rejected a further claim of sexual harassment.

The judging panel heard that the woman was fired for poor performance in August 2012, but that she was not permitted to represent herself during the disciplinary procedure. As well as this, she was not offered a chance to appeal the hearing's findings, which led to her departure from the business in November of that year. The woman also told the tribunal that she considered her refusal to allow her hotel to be rebranded in line with the rest of the chain as a contributory reason for her dismissal.

Flexible-hour laws extended to apply to all employees

Amendments to existing employment law regarding the right to flexible working hours will now apply to all workers. Previously the law was only applicable to those registered as carers or primary care giver for children under a certain age. The extension follows a declaration from the government that using zero-hours contracts to prevent employees from seeking additional employment opportunities would be banned.

The moves were welcomed by the Chartered Institute of Personnel Development who interpreted the extension of the right to request flexible working hours as recognition of the importance of such working practices. They noted that there was a strong case for flexibility because it was show to enhance an employee's engagement in his or her work, and it offers an added benefit of attracting and retaining a diverse group of workers.

Tribunal rules against high street giant

An employment tribunal has found that a major electrical appliance company did not appropriately follow the procedure of consultation before instigating mass redundancies. Almost 7,000 employees lost their jobs in 2012 when the high street retailer went into administration. Due to complex legislation surrounding the governance of potential claimants, many of those affected may not receive any compensation despite the ruling.

The tribunal, held in Leeds, ruled that former staff were entitled to up to 90 days wages as they were misinformed during the administrative process and a number were made redundant mere hours after consultation. As the company is no longer trading, under European legislation, the government is responsible for making the payments, although there is only a legal obligation to pay eight weeks of wages rather than three months.

Parents of missing child sue policeman for defamation

A couple whose daughter was abducted while they were on a family holiday in Portugal in 2007 is facing more delays in their legal action against the police officer who was leading the case. The couple is suing the man for defamation, claiming that a book he wrote in 2008 about the case contained false statements about them.

The man fired his legal representation, which delayed proceedings, in a move which the couple described as an attempt to make it more difficult to seek redress in court. The case has now been going for five years, and the couple said that they would not give up and would continue seeking justice, citing that the delays in the case were damaging to their daughter.

Company fights to prevent possible shareholder takeover

Two shareholders of a London-listed company have appealed to the Supreme Court in an effort to lift restrictions on their ability to vote. The litigation arose after attempts to replace the incumbent board were declared by the beleaguered firm's chief executive as a collaborative effort to take over the company "without making a proper offer."

The two investment companies, controlled by men who are widely acknowledged to be powerful corporate raiders, have a collective stake of nearly 40 percent in the oil and gas company. A divided ruling by a court of appeal upheld the limitation on the shareholders' rights to vote as well as the prevention of special resolutions being passed, which, according to the chief executive, has constrained efforts to secure financing or "place stock."

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