Judgement published:
Terms and conditions , Discipline and grievance

The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that an employee who covertly recorded a meeting did not automatically break the implied term of mutual trust and confidence. In a contract of employment, there exists an implied term of mutual trust and confidence between the organisation and its employee. This means that if either party conducts themselves in such a way that undermines or destroys the employment relationship, the other party can regard their actions as a fundamental breach of…

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…

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…

Terms and conditions , Termination

Supreme Court – April 2018 The Supreme Court has clarified when written notice of dismissal becomes effective in the absence of an express contractual term. Facts This case concerned an associate director in the provision of community services for two NHS primary care trusts. Following a merger with the local NHS foundation trust, she was informed by letter that she was at risk of redundancy. She was offered alternative employment, but rejected the posts on the grounds they were at a…

Terms and conditions

Employment Appeal Tribunal - January 2018 Where an employee knows the contract of employment is not temporary, in contravention of immigration laws, does this make the contract unenforceable from the outset because of illegality? In Hall v Woolston Hall Leisure Ltd, three categories of cases of illegality were identified. The first two render the contract unenforceable from the outset: where the contract was entered in to with the intention of committing an illegal act or where the contract…

Terms and conditions , Termination

Employment Appeal Tribunal – January 2018 To act fairly when deciding not to renew an employee’s fixed-term contract, are employers only required to comply with the Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002? The Regulations provide protection for fixed-term employees against less favourable treatment in comparison to a comparable full-time worker. This includes the right to not be treated less favourably regarding the opportunity to secure permanent…

Terms and conditions , Termination

Employment Appeal Tribunal – November 2017 Will the implied term of mutual trust and confidence be breached when an employer gives a false reason for dismissal? Facts Rawlinson commenced employment as Group Legal Counsel in December 2014. Before his appointment, the organisation used a variety of legal firms based on the required advice. Following the appointment of a new Chief Executive Officer in January 2015, concerns with Rawlinson’s performance were raised. Rawlinson was aware of…

Terms and conditions

Employment Appeal Tribunal - 1983 Service continuous by arrangement and custom Facts Mackay had been employed as a waitress in a hotel in the north of Scotland over a number of years, working during the summer seasons only, as the hotel was semi-closed during the winter months.   Each year, her employment was terminated at the end of the summer season and the contract revived again in the early spring. When her services were dispensed with, she claimed unfair dismissal, arguing that…

Terms and conditions

Employment Appeal Tribunal - 1978 Contract of apprenticeship is a one-off contract EAT The EAT held in this case that a contract of apprenticeship was a one-off contract which, once completed, could not logically be renewed. Consequently, the employer's decision not to offer the individual a contract of employment following the completion of his apprenticeship training did not amount to a dismissal in law.

Judgement published:
Terms and conditions

High Court - April 2016 Here the court decided that a restrictive covenant in an employment contract was too wide in scope and inappropriate for the employee involved when originally drafted, and so was unenforceable when the employer applied for a court injunction on the basis of it 19 years later.   Post-termination restrictions in employment contracts are intended to prevent employees from misusing confidential information, working for a competitor organisation or soliciting clients…

Judgement published:
Terms and conditions

Court of Appeal – April 2016 Court of Appeal decided that a provision set out in an employee handbook (here an absence management procedure) had the same effect as an employment contract term. This meant the employer was bound by the provision, and would be in breach of contract if it decided not to comply with it. The employer imposed a new absence management procedure, after it failed to achieve agreement through negotiations, which changed the points at which various warnings, and…

Judgement published:
Terms and conditions , Pay and benefits

High Court: February 2016 Here an employee failed to prove his bonus, which was lower than his colleagues’, was ‘irrational and perverse’, because the contractual rules permitted the employer to treat the employees differently   A derivatives trader’s contract of employment stated he was entitled to be considered for a discretionary bonus. The factors to be used when determining the level of bonus, such as the bank’s overall performance and his individual contribution, were described in…

Judgement published:
Terms and conditions

Court of Appeal – July 2015 Court injunctions have not usually been used when whole teams leave a company to join a competitor in the absence of restrictive covenants. But in this case a springboard injunction was granted to the company suffering the loss preventing the competitor from enticing more employees away from a business.   One of the key tests for a court considering an application for an injunction is whether there is anything to be gained by the applicant if it is granted…

Judgement published:
Terms and conditions

High Court – March 2015 A senior employee of a company was found to have breached his contract by investing in a potential competitor being set up by his sons.   Every employment contract contains the implied term that the employee will serve their employer with good faith and fidelity. This term may extend beyond the termination of the employment contract if the employee holds a position of particular responsibility or seniority. Company directors, for example, have more onerous duties…

Judgement published:
Terms and conditions

Employment Appeal Tribunal – February 2015 Employers can change terms post-appointment with careful contract drafting but in this case the EAT decided that the letter of appointment did not give the employer the right subsequently to vary the employment terms unilaterally.   Where changes are made to employment contracts, employees must be given a written statement containing particulars of the change (Employment Rights Act 1996). If an employer fails to provide this statement, or…

Judgement published:
Terms and conditions

Employment Appeal Tribunal – December 2014 An employee was found to have accepted a variation of her employment contract by implication through continuing to work for a prolonged period without expressly objecting to the change. Facts A senior museum curator, originally employed on civil service terms and conditions, was placed on a lower grade in 2003. Pay protection was discussed but not finalised at the point at which she accepted the new role, and she wrote indicating she…

Judgement published:
Terms and conditions , Pay and benefits

Employment Appeal Tribunal - September 2014 In this case, the EAT had to decide whether a contractual term, or an HR officer's assurances, gave an employee the automatic right to a pay increase if her performance was satisfactory.   Earle was the successful applicant for a job which came with a salary range, within which there were a number of incremental steps from the lowest level (where she started) to the top. Her contract stated: “Progression through the salary range will be…

Judgement published:
Terms and conditions , Pay and benefits

High Court - September 2014 An employer which has the responsibility of exercising discretion over bonus payments, even bonuses based on formulas, must do so rationally.   The claimants in this case were equity derivative dealers working for a bank. Their contracts provided for a bonus payment each year, to be calculated as a percentage of the value added to the business as a result the deals generated by the equity derivative arm.   During the first three years of the bonus scheme…

Judgement published:
Terms and conditions

High Court - August 2014 After an employee left without notice to work for a competitor, and refused to return to work, his former employer stopped paying his salary and asked the court for an injunction holding him to the notice period and binding him to his restrictive covenants.   This case was brought by a derivatives brokerage firm against one of its employees. Rodgers walked out of the broker’s London office in March 2014, without notice, having accepted a position with a competing…

Judgement published:
Terms and conditions

Supreme Court - August 2014 In this case, the Supreme Court had to consider whether the illegality of the contract under which she was working prevented a young Nigerian woman, who had been illegally trafficked to the UK to work as an au pair, from claiming unlawful race discrimination.   Courts are prevented from assisting those claimants whose claim is founded on an illegal act. The illegality principle is intended to preserve the integrity of the legal system, and it has been said…

Terms and conditions

Court of Appeal - May 2014 No agreement on remuneration does not mean an individual cannot be an employee Facts Stack was one of three directors and shareholders in a company which designed audio-visual systems. When the company was first formed, Stack did very little work for it, but by the time he left the company he was working almost full time.   Only one of the three directors had a written employment contract. Stack argued that it was always the intention that there would be…

Judgement published:
Terms and conditions

High Court - May 2014 In this case the High Court had to decide whether former employees were bound by an agreement they had entered into, following termination of their employment, which repeated restrictive covenants originally contained in their employment contracts with their previous employer. Facts The employees in this case, Krishnan and two colleagues, were employed by two companies within the Capgemini group. There was a restrictive covenant in their employment contracts…

Judgement published:
Terms and conditions

High Court - April 2014 An employee’s contract of employment contained restrictive covenants preventing him from using the company’s confidential information, soliciting its customers and competing with it. The contract clause prohibited the employee from competing with the company for 12 months post-termination. When he resigned to join one of the company’s direct competitors, his former employer lodged High Court proceedings against him.   Huggett was employed as UK sales manager for…

Judgement published:
Terms and conditions , Termination

Employment Appeal Tribunal - April 2014 In this case, the Employment Appeal Tribunal upheld a tribunal decision to imply a term into redundant employees’ contracts entitling them to enhanced redundancy payments.   Peacock Stores made a number of redundancies from 1971 to 2012. There was a written policy on redundancy procedure but it did not specify whether redundancy payments would be restricted to the statutory scheme, where there is a cap on what constitutes a week’s pay and on the…

Judgement published:
Terms and conditions

High Court - April 2014 An employer applied to the High Court for an injunction requiring two ex-employees to permit an inspection of their personal computers after the dismissed employee claimed unfair dismissal and the employee who had resigned brought legal proceedings. During the proceedings several emails were revealed which suggested that both ex-employees had disclosed, or had been prepared to disclose, confidential information to a competitor, in breach of confidentiality clauses…

Terms and conditions , Equality

Employment Appeal Tribunal - February 2014 This case raised the issue of whether a claimant can make a harassment claim when employed under an illegal contract. The claimant, who started working for the employer before her work permit had been obtained, claimed she was seriously sexually assaulted by her employer prior to her commencing the work and sexually harassed after she started working for the company.   Employees who are working under illegal employment contracts, for example,…

Judgement published:
Terms and conditions

High Court - January 2014 A recruitment consultant, whose employment contract contained non-solicitation or non-dealing restrictive covenants, left to take up another senior consultant post, working in the same area that she covered with her old employer. Her former employer issued a claim seeking damages for breach of contract.   In the case East England Schools CIC v Palmer, the High Court held that a recruitment agency’s non-solicitation and non-dealing restrictions were enforceable…

Terms and conditions , Termination

High Court - December 2013 An employee signed new terms of employment whereby his notice period was increased from three months to 12 months, and a garden leave clause and a non-solicitation covenant were added to his contract. He subsequently resigned and was immediately placed on garden leave and reminded that he was obliged to give 12 months' notice. The High Court rejected his argument that he had been constructively dismissed, and granted an injunction for the whole of his 12-month…

Terms and conditions

Court of Appeal - October 2013 Is a restrictive covenant reasonable? Facts Coppage worked as the business development director for Safetynet - a small business providing security services. He was seen as the 'face' of the organisation, dealing with customers on a daily basis.   A redundancy situation arose and Coppage decided to resign. A new company was set up, and five of Safetynet's employees moved to join it. Safetynet believed that Coppage was the controlling force of the new…

Judgement published:
Employees and workers, Terms and conditions

Employment Appeal Tribunal - October 2013 The claimants were engaged as care workers on zero hours contracts which stated that "the employer is not under an obligation to offer the employee any work and has specifically reserved the right to reduce the employee's working hours wherever necessary". Following a Tupe transfer to another care provider, the new employer argued this meant the claimants were not employees because there was no mutuality of obligation.   For an individual to be…