Discipline and grievance

Court of Appeal – March 2019 The Court of Appeal has ruled that the decision to suspend an employee will not necessarily amount to a breach of implied mutual trust and confidence depending on the facts of each case. Facts The employee was a primary school teacher engaged on a fixed-term contract. Although she had 15 years’ experience teaching children with special needs she had no prior training for children with behavioural difficulties. Allegations were made against the employee that she…

Business principles

Court of Appeal – March 2019 The Court of Appeal has ruled that shorter breaks can be aggregated to satisfy entitlements to a 20 minute rest break period, overturning the previous decision of the Employment Appeal Tribunal. Under Regulation 12, workers are entitled to an uninterrupted rest break lasting at least 20 minutes if their daily working time is more than six hours. Regulation 21(f) states workers in railway transport roles carrying out activities relating to the continuity and…

Terms and conditions , Termination

Court of Appeal – October 2018 The Court of Appeal has ruled that mistakenly referring to a different termination date than specified in an employment contract will not vary the date if there is no basis for inferring this intention. In this case, the employee joined an insurance broker in 2005 under an ‘Executive Employment Agreement’. This agreement was subsequently varied pursuant to a written addendum in 2012, which outlined that his employment would not expire before 31 December 2016…

Equality

Court of Appeal – January 2019 This case confirmed that the initial burden of proof in discrimination claims lies with the claimant to present evidence of any alleged wrongdoings. Facts The claimant in this case worked as a postman. He made over 20 unsuccessful applications for IT-related jobs with his employer and claimed his rejections were because he was of Nigerian descent. He also alleged that a number of the employer’s other actions towards him – refusing to allow him to finish his…

Equality

Employment tribunal – December 2018 The employment tribunal (ET) has ruled that the dismissal of an 88-year-old employee was unfair and ‘tainted by discrimination’. This case concerned an employee who had operated as a medical secretary under a consultant since 2005. Her duties involved the maintenance of a list of patients waiting for breast cancer and non-urgent surgery and to inform the consultant if their time on it was approaching 52 weeks. In 2015, training was arranged to assist the…

Employees and workers, Termination

Employment tribunal – October 2018 The employment tribunal (ET) has ruled that dismissing an apprentice prior to the completion of their apprenticeship was in breach of contract. This case concerned an apprentice who entered into an arrangement with an organisation in Scotland, Express Joinery, under the auspices of the Construction Industry Training Board (CITB). This outlined an apprenticeship with an end date of January 2020. During his time working for Express Joinery the apprentice took…

Discipline and grievance , Termination

Employment tribunal – October 2018 The employment tribunal (ET) has ruled that the decision to dismiss one employee and not another when their conduct was ‘similar’ was fair as their actions were not ‘identical’. The claimant in this case had been unhappy because the annual Christmas gift provided to employees was of less value than previous years. A colleague, Mr Minshull, posted a Facebook status criticising this and comparing management to Ronald McDonald. Commenting on the status, the…

Pay and benefits, Equality

Court of Appeal upholds decision that retail workers can compare pay terms to distribution workers due to common terms applying at the establishments. Facts Around 30,000 predominately female retail employees have submitted equal pay claims against the organisation, alleging there are not receiving equal pay in comparison to the pay terms afforded to predominantly male distribution employees. As set out within s79(4)(c) of the Equality Act 2010, claimants can rely on comparators where “…

Equality , Discipline and grievance

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that a failure to consider how a disability can be the operative cause of an employee’s misconduct amounted to unfair dismissal. This case concerned a lorry driver who suffered from type 2 diabetes. After a period of driving he returned to the organisations’ premises, parked near a loading bay to the store and felt an extreme need to urinate. Not believing he would make it to the building’s facilities in time, he urinated in the yard. The…

Termination

Employment Appeal Tribunal – October 2018 The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has held that not holding a meeting with an employee before making a decision to dismiss for SOSR did not amount to unfair dismissal. In this case, the employee operated as a voluntary reservist with the Royal Marines whilst maintaining his role within an organisation. As he needed additional time off for this commitment he had successfully negotiated a further week of unpaid leave upon acceptance of the role.…

Equality

Employment tribunal – September 2018 The employment tribunal (ET) has ruled that an organisation’s failure to assist in the implementation of reasonable adjustments amounted to a breach of their duty In this case the employee, whose role as a clerical assistant involved a significant amount of keyboard and mouse work, was classed as disabled due to carpal tunnel syndrome and repetitive strain injury. Following the recommendation of an Occupational Health report the employee started to…

Terms and conditions , Pay and benefits

Employment Appeal Tribunal – September 2018 The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that an employee was entitled to a written statement of terms despite only working for the organisation for six weeks. This case concerned three European claimants who were employed by a hotel as waiting staff and claimed they were poorly treated. Following a complaint to management about numerous issues, such as shortfalls in their wages, falsification of their wage slips and late payments, they were…

Equality

Supreme Court – December 2018 The Supreme Court has agreed with the earlier decisions of the Court of Appeal (CA) and the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) that an ill-health retirement pension scheme did not amount to unfavourable treatment despite it being potentially more advantageous to other employees.  This case concerned an employee who suffered from several psychological problems including Tourette’s Syndrome. Due to the progress of his illness, he had reduced his hours and salary to…

Employees and workers

Court of Appeal – December 2018 The Court of Appeal (CA) has dismissed Uber’s appeal against the employment tribunal (ET) and Employment Appeal Tribunal’s (EAT) decision that drivers engaged by Uber were not self-employed contractors, but fell squarely within the legal definition of ‘worker’ under the Employment Rights Act 1996, the Working Time Regulations 1998 and the National Minimum Wage Act 1998. This case concerns the claim from two London-based Uber drivers that they should be…

Employees and workers

Employment Appeal Tribunal – November 2018 Were private-hire drivers classed as workers when logged into an app? Facts Private-hire drivers for the organisation took on work under a driver contract which expressly stated they were “independent contractors” and would act as sub-contractors for Addison Lee (AL) where bookings were made by AL account holders. The contract went on further to state that there was no obligation on the organisation to offer work to the driver, or for the driver…

Pay and benefits, Termination

Employment Appeal Tribunal – November 2018 Contractual term preventing ill-health capability dismissal whilst receiving PHI benefits implied by EAT. Facts The employee worked as a security agent under a contract entitling him to a long-term disability benefit plan, which expressly stated that the benefits would cease if his employment was terminated. In October 2012, the employee commenced sick leave due to depression and his employment was subsequently outsourced to ICTS under the…

Equality

Employment Appeal Tribunal – September 2018 The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has confirmed that a tendency to steal is not a disability for the purposes of bringing disability discrimination claims. Facts In this case the employee, who worked as an Anti-Social Behaviour Officer for Durham Council, left a Boots store without paying for some items in a bag he was carrying. Although he was arrested and later cautioned for this event following a signed admission statement, he did not…

Equality

Employment Appeal Tribunal – August 2018 The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that office cultures are important when considering potentially harassing comments. Facts In this case, the employee suffered from type 1 diabetes, which he believed had led to him being overweight. He also had close ties to the travelling community, although this was not common knowledge within the respondent’s organisation. Following his dismissal for poor performance, the employee brought a…

Pay and benefits

European Court of Justice (ECJ) – November 2018 The ECJ has ruled that domestic law does not prohibit the right for employees to be paid in lieu for untaken annual leave at termination of employment. Facts The ECJ was asked to consider two separate cases from Germany that concerned workers who, when their employment was to terminate, had requested an allowance in lieu for annual leave that they not taken. The first worker had not taken any annual leave at all during the last five…

Equality

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has examined when a disability meets the statutory requirement of having a ‘long-term’ adverse effect. The Equality Act 2010 outlines that a person has a disability if the impairment has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. For a condition to be classed as ‘long-term’, it needs to have been ongoing for at least 12 months or be ‘likely’ to last at least 12 months. Facts In this…

Equality

Employment tribunal – January 2018 The employment tribunal (ET) has ruled that it is not enough to have a race discrimination policy – organisations need to make sure they are putting it into practice.   Facts A contact centre for Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs ('HMRC') maintained a zero tolerance policy against race discrimination whilst using cleaning staff through an outside contractor, G4S. A written agreement stated that all G4S staff required the centre’s approval to work…

Termination

Employment Appeal Tribunal – November 2018 Employment tribunal failed to consider employer’s breach of contractual obligation to provide a trial period when determining fairness of redundancy dismissal. Facts In a case which had already been remitted to the employment tribunal twice previously, since 2003 the employee worked as one of six Library Managers responsible for two libraries. In 2011, facing funding cuts, the council decided to close half of their libraries and reduce the…

Employees and workers

Court of Appeal – November 2018 Appeal against finding that part-time worker was treated less favourably is dismissed and case is remitted to the tribunal to determine whether the treatment was objectively justified. Facts Pinaud was employed as a crew member by British Airways from 1985 on a full time basis but began working a part-time shift pattern in 2005. Full-time workers worked a “6/3 pattern” which provided for six days on and three days off. In total, over the course of a…

Discipline and grievance , Termination

Employment Appeal Tribunal – June 2018 The EAT have examined whether an investigation which did not include statements from witnesses who had not seen the alleged incident was a reasonable investigation. Facts Pupil A made a report against a long-standing teacher that he had been grabbed, pushed against a wall and then had two fingers pushed against his throat. A second pupil, B, corroborated A’s story and named other potential witnesses as pupils OB, EB and GK. Pupil OB was interviewed…

Equality

Employment Appeal Tribunal – July 2018 The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that establishing a causal connection for discrimination arising in consequence of a disability can involve several links  Facts In this case, the employee, who originally worked as a Professor in Edinburgh University’s School of Engineering, was absent from work due to work-related stress and depression. Discussions were held regarding her return to work, where the employee asked to move to a…

Tupe

Employment Appeal Tribunal – October 2017 The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has highlighted that a Tupe transfer cannot be used as a way of getting rid of ‘problem’ employees. Facts The employee was a cashier at a company which was facing significant financial difficulties. The transferee (the new employer) agreed to purchase the company and would take over the existing employees under the Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (‘Tupe’). However,…

Equality

Court of Appeal – October 2018 The Court of Appeal have overturned the High Court’s decision that an employer was not vicariously liable for an assault carried out by the organisation’s Managing Director at an impromptu drinking session after the company Christmas party. Employers are liable for acts of discrimination and harassment committed by employees ‘in the course of employment’ under the Equality Act 2010 where there is a sufficiently close connection between the act and the…

Termination

Employment Appeal Tribunal – June 2018 The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that the intentions behind a letter of resignation should be clarified to correctly confirm if the employee does intend to leave the company.  Facts In this case, the employee had worked in the records department for her employer for around 10 years. She had recently experienced issues with an employee and had applied for a position in the employer’s radiology department, for which she had received a…

Employee relations

Employment tribunal – April 2013 Was the inclusion of an individual who had previously participated in trade union activities on a ‘blacklist’ prohibited? The Employment Relations Act 1990 (Blacklist) Regulations 2010 prohibit the use of a blacklist, and the refusal of employment related to a blacklist, where the motive for the list is to discriminate against an individual based on their trade union membership or activities. Facts The employee, a full-time officer of a union, was…

Recruitment and selection

Employment tribunal – July 2018 This case highlights the importance of requesting references from previous employers to confirm the information contained in a job application or CV. Facts The claimant was a trained pilot who had worked in First Officer positions. The organisation advertised a job vacancy for a Captain and the claimant applied for this role. In his application, he lied and stated that he had previously carried out work as a Captain. As a method of supporting this lie,…