Welcome to the July 2023 edition of Employment Matters: our round-up of the latest developments in employment law and key issues affecting employers and HR professionals.
As the world continues to grapple with the possibilities and challenges of Artificial Intelligence, we start with two pieces examining the discrimination risks posed by AI in an employment context. The first discusses the often-overlooked fact that employers' AI systems may inadvertently perpetrate "direct" (and not just "indirect") discrimination against current and prospective employees. For the second, our in-house AI specialists, Daniel Gray and Dami Ewedemi, recently held a webinar in which they explained what employers can do to address bias and discriminatory tendencies in their AI systems.
Keeping with the theme of equalities, last month saw the US Supreme Court rule that "affirmative action" admissions policies at universities were unconstitutional. Though "affirmative action" does not generally exist in the UK, employers can take what is known as "positive action" to promote greater equality in the workplace; and we discuss the delicate balancing act involved when implementing such policies. We also consider what both the Government and employers can do to minimise the effects of the "motherhood penalty" – the concept that mothers are often disproportionately disadvantaged in the workplace. In addition, our Immigration Team explains the forthcoming increases to UK immigration visa fees.
We conclude with two articles responding to the first of the Government's post-Brexit reforms to employment law. We discuss the headline proposals, arguably the most eye-catching of which is the government's plan to limit the duration of "non-compete" post-termination restrictions to three months, in the hope of spurring innovation and competitiveness. My partner, Dominic Holmes, also makes the case that the government may have missed an opportunity to make much-needed changes to TUPE. Dominic has particular expertise in TUPE, having authored earlier this year "A Practical Guide to TUPE and Employee Transfers – Core Legal Principles, Tricky Issues and How It Really Works in Practice".