The internet is currently awash with articles on the possible impact of Brexit on employment legislation.
So what will be the actual impact on employment law?
In short, there are currently three main unknowns, that make any predictions speculative:
- Timing - Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty envisages exit two years after it is triggered, but it also allows for an earlier or delayed exit by agreement and it is not yet known when it will be invoked.
- Terms of exit – It is possible that we may still be required to comply with certain EU regulations in exchange for favourable trading terms.
- Government – The decision as to which regulations we retain on exit will rest with the government in power at that time. The decision will no doubt differ depending upon the party (and leadership) in control.
The only certainties are that we currently remain an EU member, bound by its regulations, and that EU nationals still have the right to work in the UK.
What do employers need to do now?
Employers will be assessing the likely impact on their business and should take legal advice in the normal manner on any reorganisations or structural changes.
They should ensure that a hostile or intimidating atmosphere is not created for any employee following the referendum despite feelings running high. Claims could arise from:
- EU nationals being subjected to unlawful harassment in the workplace, including, for example, being asked when they are “going home”.
- Ageist comments blaming “baby boomers” or older voters for the vote to leave.
- Aggressive confrontations over the result. An employee with a strongly held belief in remaining or leaving the EU could qualify for protection from harassment on grounds of a philosophical or political belief.
We will report on any concrete developments over the coming months to ensure that all of our contacts continue to have a source of reliable information.
If you have any concerns (or if you really do want us to speculate on possible outcomes), then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.