British firm ordered to pay €60,000 by French court for breaching employee’s ‘right to disconnect’ from work

The French wing of British pest control and hygiene giant Rentokil Initial has been ordered to pay a former employee €60,000 (£53,000) because it failed to respect his “right to disconnect” from his phone and computer outside office hours.

The ruling is believed to be the first of its kind since a 2016 law on the right to switch off such electronic devices became effective on January 1 last year in response to the modern-day scourge of compulsive out-of-hours email and message checking. Continue reading “British firm ordered to pay €60,000 by French court for breaching employee’s ‘right to disconnect’ from work”

Bouncer suspended after woman tweets about sexual harassment in nightclub

A bouncer accused of sexually harassing a woman at a Cornwall nightclub has been suspended pending an investigation after she spoke out on Twitter about the alleged incident.

Emily White, 19, told the BBC a doorman at the Sailors Arms pub and nightclub wolf-whistled, leered at her and made comments about her breasts on a night out last month.

The teenager, from St Austell, Cornwall, said when she complained about the “cocky” doorman’s unwanted behaviour he replied: “I can do what I want.”

“Was sexually harassed by a bouncer in a night club this weekend,” she tweeted on 24 July.

“So I snapped a photo of his ID, emailed the club, who have emailed his agency, who have begun an official displinary [sic] investigation. He told me, ‘I’m a bouncer I can do what I want”. No mate, no you can’t.’”

Ms White told Devon Live she asked him to “do one” after he wolf-whistled at her outside the nightclub’s toilets.

“Then he started making sexual comments about my appearance and derogatory comments about my chest, so I had a go at him and told him this wasn’t okay,” she said.

“He was surrounded by a group of men who weren’t bouncers but I guess his mates, and he was continuing the altercation to make them laugh and make a joke out of me, which was the most intimidating thing.”

She told the BBC that the bouncer also “moved his arm out so I could take a picture of his ID”.

“That’s how cocky he was,” she added. “He thought no-one would challenge him on it. He was wrong.”

Regency Security, who provide door staff for the venue, confirmed to The Telegraph that the door supervisor has been suspended pending further investigation.

Ms White’s account of the alleged incident has been shared by more than 8,000 Twitter users and received 90,000 ‘likes’, while attracting hundreds of messages of support and praise for choosing to speak out.

“Really admire you for bringing this to everyone’s attention,” commented one. “No one should have to be a victim of such disgusting behaviour. Well done for standing up to it.”

“Fantastic that you took action,” responded user @xyrosie. “Zero tolerance of such behaviour is the best way to change things. Thank you for stepping up!”

One user, who is currently employed as a bouncer, replied: “I have never had to lay hands on someone, unless had to escort someone out … At the end of the night, I want to make sure you get home safe, along with myself.”

A spokesperson for Sailors Arms in Newquay said until the investigation is complete the doorman “will not be employed at our door”.

“Upon hearing of these allegations an immediate investigation was launched in collaboration with the agency which employs our door staff and that is ongoing.”

British court recognises Sharia Law in landmark divorce case

Sharia Law has been recognised by a British court for first time after a Judge made a landmark divorce ruling which could change the way Islamic marriage and divorce works in the UK.

The High Court ruled that an estranged couple’s Islamic faith marriage, conducted in a ceremony called a nikah, does fall under British matrimonial law despite it not being legally recognised as such.

It means Nasreen Akhter will be free to bring her case to the divorce court and claim her share of the assets of her marriage where she previously would not have been able to.

In the high-profile case Mrs Akhtar and her businessman husband Mohammed Shabaz Khan were deemed to have a valid marriage.

The Judge said the union should be recognised because the couple, who took their vows in 1998, lived as man and wife, introduced each other as such and had expectations similar to a British marriage contract.
The High Court ruled that an estranged couple’s Islamic faith marriage, conducted in a ceremony called a nikah, does fall under British matrimonial law
The High Court ruled that an estranged couple’s Islamic faith marriage, conducted in a ceremony called a nikah, does fall under British matrimonial law Credit: Tetra Images / Alamy

The case will have significant implications for women who marry under Sharia law but not UK law and could give them the right to divorce their husbands and split the assets related to the union, as well as securing a divorce more easily.

A report commissioned by Theresa May when she was Home Secretary revealed earlier this year that many women in Islamic marriages do not realise they have no legal protection under UK law unless they have a second civil ceremony alongside the nikah.

Under Sharia law women often have to appeal to Sharia councils, largely made up of men, in order to be released from their union and some have to make concessions in order to do so. Men are not obligated to do the same.

In the High Court case Mrs Akhtar’s husband Mr Khan sought to block her application for divorce in the UK court on the basis that they were never legally married.

But Mr Justice Williams decided that the marriage was “entered into in disregard of certain requirements as to the formation of marriage”.

He said the marriage was therefore “void” and that Mrs Akhter is entitled to a decree of nullity. If he had ruled it was a non-marriage she would not have been able to make a case in the British divorce court.

The judge heard that the couple, who have a Pakistani background, had lived in London, Birmingham and Dubai. They had taken part in a nikah ceremony at a restaurant in Southall, west London, nearly 20 years ago.

Mrs Akhter said the ceremony was conducted by an imam before about 150 guests.

Hazel Wright, a partner in the family law team at Hunters Solicitors said: “The law on cohabitation in this country is out of date and unsatisfactory.

Zimbabwe elections: Three dead as opposition protests shatter hopes for peaceful process

Nine months ago they were greeted as heroes, posing on their armoured vehicles for selfies with civilians overjoyed at their liberation from a moribund, corrupt, and violent dictator who had plunged the country into economic misery.

But on Wednesday night Zimbabwean troops were back on the streets of Harare – with bayonets fixed and in armoured cars to impose order with a blunt force that brought back unpleasant memories of Robert Mugabe’s reign.

And the fragile hopes that Zimbabwe’s first elections since Mr Mugabe was overthrown would be peaceful went up in a pall of black smoke and tear gas.

23 Kwara state lawmakers defect to PDP

Twenty-three members of the 24-member Kwara House of Assemblyyesterday defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Speaker Ali Ahmad announced this as conveyed in a letter by Majority Leader Hassan Oyeleke.

Only one member Saheed Popoola, representing Ojomu-Balogun Constituency in Offa Local Government Area, did not defect.

Ahmad said that the movement to the PDP by the 23 lawmakers became imperative “since the APC has failed to meet the aspirations of Nigerians”.

He alleged that the APC-led Federal Government was harassing and intimidating top government functionaries instead of tackling the problem confronting the nation.

“In 2014, l was terribly sad leaving PDP reluctantly with 36 members of the then House of the Representatives. Today, l am the happiest man leaving APC for good.

“l wish l was never a member of that party,’’ the speaker said.

The speaker announced the removal of Popoola as Chairman, House Committee on information, Youth and Sports.

The members replace Popoola with Abdulrahman Abdulrafiu, representing llorin North West constituency.

Buhari jets out for a10-day break in London


PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari will on Friday begin a 10-day holiday.

A statement issued by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, said: “In compliance with Section 145 (1) of the 1999 Constitution, a letter has been transmitted to the President of the Senate, and the Speaker, House of Representatives to that effect.

“While the President is on vacation, the Vice President will be in acting capacity as President.

“President Buhari will be in London for the holiday.”

Governor Tambuwal defects to PDP with 18 lawmakers

Months of speculations on Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal’s political fortune yesterday ended with his return to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

He announced the expected decision at a solidarity rally organised by his supporters across the state’s 23 local government areas.

Tambuwal told the rally: “This is not a decision that I have made lightly, but after extensive consultations with all the important stakeholders that we have come to the decision to pitch our political tent elsewhere.

“However, the decision of our people and associates had become our total priority; it is the reason for the leadership we are yearning for.

“As such, we have left the APC for the PDP in order to ensure that the masses’ needs in the areas of health, security, among others, are fully prioritised.”

In 2014, Tambuwal as House of Representatives Speaker on the eve of the general elections left the PDP for the APC, a coalition of parties, which took power from President Goodluck Jonathan.

He added: “ Let me at this juncture state emphatically that I return to the PDP with a clear conscience today, because the party has learnt some bitter lessons and noted what mistakes it must avoid in the future. It is now a repositioned and forward looking political party to which I now pledge loyalty, in my resolve to contribute towards improving the lives of Nigerians and expanding opportunities for the youths.”

Eighteen members of the House of Assembly defected along with the governor. Others who publicly denounced their membership of the APC at the rally for the PDP are: the House Speaker and his deputy, Alhaji Abdullahi Miagwandu, Muhammadu Arzika Tureta, Bello Kofar Marke, Mukhtari Maigona, Usman Danmadamin Isa, Dahiru Yusuf Yabo, Isah Bajini Galadanci, Bello Suleiman, Sahabi Tungar Kwangi, Alhaji Muhammadu Dangoggo, Muazu Zabira, among other notable APC members believed to be close to Senator Aliyu Wamakko.

Declaring his new political platform before a tumultous crowd in Sokoto, Tambuwal, who explained his defection to the main opposition PDP, said “good governance, viz-a-viz economic wellbeing of our people remain the major reasons for my action today”.

He noted that” information from National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that over nine million jobs have been lost in the last three years, since the APC government came into office.”

“This journey is set to collectively rid the state and country of the immeasurable negative trend of events that have characterised every facet of our lives as citizens,” Tambuwal said, adding:

“We are in dire need to advance the state to its place of glory. We have to fine tune a new political direction to salvage our common collective interests.”

Tambuwal spoke of wide consultations with relevant stakeholders across the state, adding that” I don’t personalise politics and therefore will ask you to suggest a party”.

“In line with the best tradition in any major political decision, especially by a serving elected governor, I have widely painstakingly consulted far and wide, if the present political platform is a viable vehicle for achieving the aspiration of our people.

“It is because I am convinced that no nation can thrive while there is inequity and bad governance; because I am saddened by the fact that lethargy, incompetence and sustained denial of obvious leadership missteps have become the major raw materials with which the Nigerian state is being run today.”

The governor threw to the big crowd the option of suggesting which party to defect to. The excited gathering screamed “PDP!” He replied: “I will go with you.” The crowd rented the air with slogans “Sai Mutawalle”

According to the former Speaker of the House of Representatives, “Nigeria needs competent hands to drive the cause for capable administration that will advance its overall interest to prosperity”.