Company ‘entitled to treat misbehaving employees differently’

A company that sacked one employee involved in a fracas but only gave his opponent a written warning was entitled to treat them differently, according to the Employment Appeal Tribunal.


The case involved two employees who attended a corporate social event and were told that they would need to maintain a good standard of behaviour.


However, they began drinking and their behaviour deteriorated as the evening wore on. The two initially exchanged some light banter, but this soon escalated resulting in one of them punching the other in the face.


Help to Buy ISAs now available for first time buyers

Help to Buy ISAs, which provide first time buyers with a 25% bonus on their savings when buying a home, are now available from banks and building societies.


The scheme is designed to help thousands of young people to get on the housing ladder.


The government has pledged to add £25 to every £100 you save for a home. The maximum bonus is £3,000, available when your savings in the ISA reach £12,000.


Crackdown on landlords providing unsafe, overcrowded homes

The government is to extend mandatory licensing to smaller and medium-sized properties in an effort to crack down on rogue landlords who exploit vulnerable tenants in unsafe and overcrowded accommodation.


Landlords who fail to obtain a licence will face a potentially unlimited fine.


The proposals are contained in a new discussion paper published by the Department for Communities and Local Government. The aim is to make it easier for local authorities to raise standards in houses used as shared homes. The new measures include:


Housing association tenants given right to buy their home

A further 1.3 million tenants are to be given the right to buy their homes following an agreement between the government, housing associations and the National Housing Federation.


The first sales should begin next year. The agreement means that housing association tenants will be able to buy their homes at the same discounted rates currently offered to council tenants. The government will compensate the associations for the discounts offered and the money raised from the sales will be used to build more homes.


Estate agency enforces no-competition clause on franchisee

A national estate agency that operates on a franchise basis has successfully taken legal action to prevent competition from a former franchisee.


The agency offered training and support to partners across the country.


Franchisees could only operate within their own defined area and were subject to a restrictive covenant stating that if they ended their contract, they could not set up a rival business in their franchise area within a certain specified time.


Inheritance tax payments soar as family wealth rises

Inheritance tax payments have been increasing due to rising house prices and an overall rise in family wealth and investment.


The latest figures from HM Revenue and Customs show that just over £3 billion was collected in inheritance tax in 2013, an increase of 15% on the previous year and the highest figure since 2008 at the beginning of the recession.


Financial experts believe the increase is due to rising house prices and the increased value of investments pulling more families into the inheritance tax arena.