A good cuppa for workers

03 March 2012 By Lawyers Weekly

A good cuppa for workers“I’d rather have a cup of tea than go to bed with someone — any day,” iconic English pop star Boy George once said. Which helps explain why the nation…

A good cuppa for workers

“I’d rather have a cup of tea than go to bed with someone — any day,” iconic English pop star Boy George once said. Which helps explain why the nation is paying so much attention to new European rules which the Conservative Party in England says could force firms to consult workers on the brand of teabags they use.

The directive has been defended by Plaid Cymru Euro-MP Jill Evans who said that it also included measures designed to protect workers’ rights, and that it encouraged employers to share important information with staff.


The English obsession with the national beverage is sturdy however, and will not wane. Shadow industry secretary Stephen O’Brien even proposed attacking the rules in the House of Commons during a second reading of the Employment Relations Bill.

Evans explained that “talking about teabags detracts from the protection this will be giving to thousands and thousands of workers”. Despite said concerns that the English are only concerned that such menial issues will increase costs, the English retort might secretly have been that talking about workers rights detracts from the important issue of teabags.

Puff the magic trick

The smoking ban wagon hasn’t gone too far has it? Or has it? A Dutch magician who had to cancel his new trick with a cigarette because of new laws banning smoking in public has argued the latter.

Kortini, from Rotterdam, had been proud of his ‘magic’ trick, which involved making a burning fag vanish and then appear again as he clicked his fingers.

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“I light the cigarette, make a few movements with my fingers and then the cigarette disappears,” he said. It all sounds innocent enough, but Kortini has stubbed the cigarette trick rather than make a scene. Before exiting this stage, however, he asserted that “it’s a ridiculous law”.

Microsoft, by any other name...

A Canadian teenager called Mike Rowe took the initiative to make the most of his parents’ choice of name and establish a website title using it. But he also added the small, insignificant word ‘soft’ to the end of it.

Predictably, he has been asked by Microsoft to hand over the domain. The lad received a letter from Microsoft’s lawyers requesting that he transfer his domain name over to them, but he refused.

Referring to all the work he had put into the domain name, including establishing it, putting out business cards and posting his services on the internet, he claimed he would lose all the time and effort he had put into it if he were to just hand it over. His entrepreneurial request for a monetary settlement received an offer for US$10 from the giant company, which would cover his domain registration costs. He consequently described the amount of work he had put into the domain and explained to Microsoft that it was worth at least US$10,000. The ambitious request has been met with a repeat of the original offer.

Communication between the Micro/mikerowe soft duo has currently ceased.

No snacks for the force

Donut-eating policemen in Britain needn’t have developed such an amusing reputation had store owners only stuck to the law and not served the law enforcers in the first place.

After shop staff refused to serve police officer Dougie Brown a sausage roll in the village of Nettleham, the Government has announced it is to scrap the obscure law, which bans the sale of any liquor or refreshment to an on-duty policeman without the permission of a senior officer.

Licensing Minister Richard Caborn said the Licensing Act 2003 would revoke the provisions of the earlier law. The latest legislation received Royal Assent last year and is due to come into force in 2005.

Affirmative movements

While you need look no further than one of Folklaw’s favourite firms, Allens Arthur Robinson, to find bona fide evidence of the legal fraternity’s commitment to affirmative action, a recent rumour to hit Folklaw’s desk has gotten us into something of a lather.

While the Official Law Firm of the 2003 Rugby World Cup has set up [email protected], which its website tells us is a “special project aimed at developing our women and encouraging their promotion to senior positions, including partnership, in numbers proportionate to our large intake of women graduates”, its sterling efforts are not the industry’s standard.

Apart from a penchant for tweed jackets replete with leather elbow patches, many law firm stalwarts have an equally conservative bent when it comes to moving firms.

The case at hand involved a now very senior legal association member who let Folklaw know that her gypsy-like ways had not met with the approval of a managing partner of one of the very top-tier firms. Mid-way through a job interview, the MP asked our confidante if she was in fact married to a travelling salesman — very progressive indeed.

A good cuppa for workers
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