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Monthly Archives: August 2012

Racist job ad

It has been reported that a job advertisement placed on the Gumtree website, appealing for cleaners at a Coles supermarket in Hobart, Australia, stipulated: “No Indians or Asians please causing outrage. According to Coles spokesman, Jim Cooper, the advert was posted by a sub-contractor who was no longer connected to the company, and had been placed without the company’s knowledge.

Tasmania’s Anti-Discrimination Commissioner Robin Banks has launched an inquiry into the advert, warning that both the advertiser and the Gumtree website could have broken the law.

If you are taking on new members of staff, ensure that your recruitment policy adheres to the latest legislation and best practice. This downloadable template Recruitment Policy provides a general statement in respect of equality and diversity and the other facets of the recruitment process.

Hawking to narrate Paralympic opening ceremony

It has been announced that world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking will narrate a scientific “journey of discovery” as part of the opening ceremony of the 2012 Paralympic Games, which takes place on Wednesday 29th August 2012, beginning at 20:30 BST.

Professor Hawking, who has motor neurone disease, is famous for his work around the Big Bang theory and his book A Brief History of Time. One of the Paralympic opening ceremony’s artistic directors, Bradley Hemmings, said “We worked very closely with Professor Hawking to develop a series of messages which are very much integrated into the storytelling of the ceremony.

This downloadable Olympics 2012 Guidance for Employers guides employers through the various potential issues that the Olympic and Paralympic Games are posing for businesses. It deals with flexible working, volunteering, annual leave requests and unauthorised absence.

BBC sitcom prompts complaints

A new BBC sitcom, Citizen Khan, the theme of which pokes fun at the Muslim community, has resulted in 185 complaints, which essentially accuse the show of succeeding to achieve its apparent aims. Some of the complaints against the six-part series, which follows a Muslim community worker in Birmingham, have claimed that it is a “tasteless depiction of Islam” and that it stereotypes Muslims.

Commenting on the response, reviewer Amjad Malik noted “It was stereo-typical because in many respects that is what comedy is about. The jokes were a little poor in parts but I sense the criticism is a little unfair.

To help avoid any potential discrimination claims, ensure that your company’s policies are compliant with the Equality Act 2010. You can download a comprehensive range of policies and guidance notes to help you comply with your responsibilities under equal opportunities legislation, including promoting diversity, preventing discrimination and preventing bullying and harassment.

Men banned from art exhibition

An exhibition at the Dowse Art Museum in New Zealand, featuring Muslim women getting ready for a wedding without wearing hijabs or veils, will only be open to female visitors, at the request of the artist, Qatari writer and film-maker Sophia Al-Maria. But the New Zealand Human Rights Commission has warned that excluding men from the art exhibition could potentially constitute sexual discrimination.

Meanwhile, back in the UK, the Only Women, Women Only art exhibition which forms part of the Edinburgh Art Festival, only admitted female visitors for most of August, although it’s now letting in men. According to the curator, Sarah Wilson, the women only policy was “kind of an experiment – it’s a two-month exhibition and the first month has been solely for women – men are not allowed in.

To help avoid any potential discrimination claims in your business, ensure that your company’s policies are compliant with the Equality Act 2010. You can download a comprehensive range of policies and guidance notes to help you comply with your responsibilities under equal opportunities legislation, including promoting diversity, preventing discrimination and preventing bullying and harassment.

400 jobs lost at Target Express

College Freight (trading as Target Express), Ireland’s largest privately-owned transport company, has quite suddenly ceased trading, with the consequent loss of 390 jobs. It is thought that the company owed excessive amounts of tax to the Revenue Commissioners in the Irish Republic.

A sit-in has begun at the Cork premises of the company. Commenting, sit-in spokesperson Tom Cullen said “We knew something was in the pipeline when our wages were not paid Saturday but we gave them the benefit of the doubt, then out of nowhere we hear on the news they are in talks with Inland Revenue … We were given no indication from management that something was going on and we have not heard anything yet from the owner“.

If your company is facing the prospect of having to make redundancies, ensure that you follow the correct procedures with the help of these professionally written template redundancy documents.

Samsung infringed intellectual property of Apple

As reported in the Simply-docs blog entry of 30th July 2012, a high-value intellectual property trial between Apple and Samsung began in July 2012, focusing on a multitude of similarities between the mobile phones and tablets produced by the two companies which, together, account for more than half of all the world’s smartphones.

At the conclusion of the trial, an American jury decided that several Samsung devices had infringed Apple’s software and design patents, and ruled that the South Korean manufacturer pay the US tech giant $1.05 billion in damages. Counter claims by Samsung were rejected, although the firm has vowed to appeal the decision, noting that it was “unfortunate that patent law can be manipulated to give one company a monopoly over rectangles with rounded corners“.

Designs form an important part of the intellectual property portfolios of many businesses, particularly those engaged in inventive or creative pursuits. This downloadable template Registered Design Assignment agreement provides for the transfer of registered design ownership.

Club appeal over McCammon racism ruling

As reported in the Simply-docs blog entry of 30th July 2012, black footballer Mark McCammon took his former club, Gillingham FC, to an employment tribunal, with claims of race discrimination, breach of contract, unfair dismissal and failure of payment of wages. He alleged that he and other black players at the club, were treated differently from white players. He also argued that the club tried to “frustrate him out” by refusing to pay private medical bills to help him regain his fitness following injury. An employment tribunal ruled in Mr McCammon’s favour, finding that his dismissal by Gillingham FC constituted unfair racial victimisation.

Gillingham FC have now lodged an appeal against the ruling, which will be heard by the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT). The club confirmed their decision to take the case to the EAT following a meeting between Gillingham’s Chairman Paul Scally and lawyers of the football club.

To help avoid any potential discrimination claims, ensure that your company’s policies are compliant with the Equality Act 2010. You can download a comprehensive range of policies and guidance notes to help you comply with your responsibilities under equal opportunities legislation, including promoting diversity, preventing discrimination and preventing bullying and harassment.

Vestas to axe 1,400 jobs

Danish wind turbine firm Vestas, which previously said it would cut 2,335 jobs during 2012, has announced a further 1,400 cuts. This followed a downgrade of its forecasts for the shipments of turbines this year, warning that the market would deteriorate further in 2013.

Commenting, Vestas chief executive Ditlev Engel said “The further reduction in the workforce is part of the continued cost saving plans which Vestas has been working on since November 2011 … It is always unfortunate to have to say goodbye to good colleagues in Vestas, but we have said before that 2012 will be tough and 2013 will be even tougher for Vestas, and in order to reach our target of making 2013 profitable, it is unfortunately a necessity.

If your company is facing the prospect of having to make redundancies, ensure that you follow the correct procedures with the help of these professionally written template redundancy documents.

Android piracy sites blocked

The US Department of Justice has seized control of three websites which offered pirated copies of Android apps – applanet.net, appbucket.net and snappzmarket.com – and has shut them down, posting in their place a page displaying a FBI warning that first-time offenders involved in copyright infringement face up to five years in prison.

Although this is America’s first seizure of app-piracy net domains, Sally Quillian Yates, US attorney for the Northern District of Georgia, signalled other sites faced similar action: “We will continue to seize and shut down websites that market pirated apps, and to pursue those responsible for criminal charges if appropriate“.

If you are dealing with copyright issues, these downloadable Copyright Legal Documents are designed to assist individuals and businesses in managing and protecting their copyright.

P&O sued for sexual harassment

Cruise ship company P&O is being sued for sexual harassment over comments and gestures made by the judge of a singing competition which was held on board a vessel. Kate Strahan took part in the contest on the Pacific Jewel cruise ship, appearing in a leopard skin dress. One of the judges, Rory Healey, allegedly told her he could see her underwear through her dress, commented on her breasts and suggested she could “cougar” him any time.

P&O is reportedly trying to have the sexual harassment case dismissed, arguing that the incident took place outside Australian waters where, it claims, sexual harassment laws do not apply. Ms Stahan’s husband, John O’Brien, warned that if the company was successful in getting the sexual harassment case thrown out it meant that passengers had no protection under Australian law for most of the cruise.

To help avoid any potential discrimination claims in your business, ensure that your company’s policies are compliant with the Equality Act 2010. You can download a comprehensive range of policies and guidance notes to help you comply with your responsibilities under equal opportunities legislation, including promoting diversity, preventing discrimination and preventing bullying and harassment.

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