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Thursday, 23 October 2014

Do you need Employers’ Liability Insurance cover?

All employers are responsible for the health and safety of their employees whilst they are at work. So, in the event of any injury, illness or disease that is sustained during employment, an employer could be liable. However, when they take out Employers’ Liability Insurance, any resulting claim is made against the insurance policy rather than against the employer themselves.

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Avoidable Accidents and Misleading Health and Safety Notices

Recent cases from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) have focused particular attention on businesses that employ workers exposed to the dangers of working at height. They also draw attention to the fact that accidents can happen anywhere for relatively innocuous reasons if adequate care is not taken.

Meanwhile, although health and safety is a popular whipping post for people complaining about restrictions on their liberty, businesses can’t simply blame HSE for every limitation that gets imposed in a working environment.

Does Your Business Need a 'Vaping' Policy for Staff?

There has been a huge rise in the use of e-cigarettes, predominantly among current and former tobacco smokers.

This has left health officials and policymakers in a quandary as to how e-cigarettes should be regulated as a reduction in tobacco consumption is a good thing but the risks of smoking e-cigarettes or ‘vaping’ as it is known are not yet fully understood. That also goes for the risks to other people from the effects of second-hand e-cigarette smoke.

Business have therefore had little guidance on how to respond to the use of e-cigarettes but it is becoming apparent that there is a pressing need for vaping policies in the workplace due to a significant rise in their use.

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Can Financial Analysts Libel Companies?

This is an interesting question as some financial analysts have considerable power over the fortunes of company stock prices in the financial markets. A lawyer’s standard answer is that it will always depend upon the circumstances but a recent case in the UK shows that it is possible.

Legal services firm Quindell, an AIM-listed alternate business structure (ABS), recently claimed victory against analyst Gotham City Research, following a recent High Court judgment.

The US analyst was found to have libelled the ABS, following the publication of a report questioning the profit quality of the firm and the accuracy of its accounts; the report resulted in close to £1bn being wiped from Quindell’s market value.

ICO Hands Out Heavy fines for Data Protection Breaches

The Ministry of Justice’s fine of £180,000 is just one recent example of the Information Commissioner’s Office’s (ICO) statutory power to issue fines for serious breaches of the Data Protection Act and the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations.

The fine is particularly notable as it represents one of the highest imposed upon a government department. The fine comes in response to the ministry’s “failing” in allowing data to be handled insecurely by 75 prisons stretching across England and Wales.

Needless to say, businesses and other organisations must take their data protection obligations seriously or they risk exposing themselves to potentially hefty fines too.

Monday, 20 October 2014

The Worrying Rise of Industrial Deafness Claims and their Implications for Insurance Fraud

A new trend has recently emerged in the area of insurance fraud.

The Association of British Insurers has warned that industrial deafness is fast becoming the new ‘cash cow’ for ambulance chasers throughout the UK.

Although in the past, whiplash claims have offered the greatest scope for abuse of insurance policies, it now seems that the claims industry is exploring a more creative and potentially more lucrative alternative.

The Number of Same Sex Marriages is Growing Steadily

The end of 2014 will mark the passing of an important year in the fight for equality for gay and lesbian couples in the UK.

The first same-sex marriages in England and Wales took place in March of this year after the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013 came into effect. A similar law has been introduced in Scotland with the first marriages being expected to occur before the end of 2014.

This development is a necessary and welcome development and reflects the international trend towards granting marriage rights to same sex couples. It is also hoped that it will inspire more countries to introduce similar laws and put pressure on countries like Russia and Uganda who continue to criminalise people for their sexual orientation.