21 March 2014: Right to Work in the UK:
It is an offence to employ someone without having taken the proper steps to check their right to work in the UK and the checks an employer has to carry out are not always straight-forward.
Employers must take all reasonable steps to check the validity of specified documents and keep copies of those documents and retain them for not less than two years after the employment has come to an end. Fortunately a handy guide for employers can be found at www.gov.uk/legal-right-to-work-in-the-uk.
Employees would be wise to carry out those checks regardless of the apparent origin of those employees and to make offers of employment conditional on those checks being successfully completed.
Immigration Status Discrimination: In the Court of Appeal case of Onu v Akwiwu reported this week it was held that mistreatment of a worker on the ground of immigration status does not constitute direct discrimination.
In that case two Nigerian domestic workers argued that they were subjected to abuse and exploitation because of their immigration status, which in turn was linked to their nationality. Therefore, they argued, they were subject to direct discrimination. However the Court of Appeal concluded that could not be equated with their nationality, leaving them, apparently, vulnerable to such abuse if no other Protected Characteristic could be identified.
Clearly domestic workers, already vulnerable to modern slavery, could do with a little more legal protection.
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