You and the Law – 12th July 2011

Sink or swim

The company we work for says it is losing money and has proposed drastic
changes to our work patterns in order to remain competitive.  The unions
agreed to the changes, but they were rejected in a ballot.  We have now been told that we will lose our jobs if we don’t agree.  Can they do this legally?  BK

It sounds as though you may lose your jobs through the firm going under if
you don’t agree, or by the company having to make redundancies in order to
ensure its survival.  Whether you can be dismissed for not accepting the changes is a different matter.  If you were sacked you could take your case to an employment tribunal on the basis that your dismissal was unfair.  But if your employer can satisfy the tribunal that the changes are necessary for the firmis survival then your claim for compensation would be unsuccessful.  Your union has considerable experience in these matters.

Dogs of war

I went to see my mother, taking my two basset hounds.  Within minutes of
our arrival one of the dogs was attacked by next dooris Jack Russell and had
two inches taken out of its ear.  To date reconstructive surgery has cost us
£200.  I feel the neighbours should pay part of the bill but they’ve shown no
interest.  SC

Whether you would have any success in getting the Jack Russell owners to
pay through the courts depends on whether they were negligent.  They would have had to be aware that their dog had a tendency to attack
other animals, and, secondly, if your mother has no pets, they would have to
be aware that other animals occasionally use her garden.  They should now ensure that there is a secure barrier between the gardens before allowing the Jack Russell out again, since thereis little doubt they would be liable in the event of a repeat incident.

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