Employee relations

Employment Appeal Tribunal - 1977 Staff consultative organisation failed in its bid for independence Facts The Blue Circle group of companies formed a staff consultative organisation which was initially under the control of the management, and received financial support from the company.   The staff consultative organisation wanted to move away from this control and so instituted a new set of rules and agreed a negotiating procedure with the management in a bid to achieve independence…

Termination

Employment Appeal Tribunal - 1978 What determines whether a dismissal is reasonable? Facts There were irregularities identified in staff purchases at a BHS store. To determine who was responsible for this, BHS took evidence from dockets relating to purchases that staff had made, and also took witness statements. The evidence suggested that Burchell was responsible for the irregularities and she was dismissed.   Burchell argued that BHS had not clearly established her guilt. EAT…

Business principles

Employment Tribunal - 1978 Requiring employee to work additional hours to complete his work was a breach of the time off rights Facts A lecturer's timetable was rearranged to leave him free on most afternoons to carry out his duties as a Borough councillor. However, he was still expected by the employer to carry out his full range of teaching and administrative duties,which meant that he had to do some work at home in the evenings and at weekends.   Ratcliffe complained to a tribunal…

Terms and conditions

Court of Appeal - February 1978 Restrictive covenant not reasonable because geographical restriction was too wide Facts Greer was a director of the Sketchley dry cleaning business. At the time of this case, Sketchley operated only in the Midlands and the South of England. After Sketchley was taken over by new management, Greer proposed to leave and join a competitor.   Sketchley tried to stop him on the basis of a restrictive covenant in his contract of employment. This covenant…

Employee relations

Court of Appeal - 1979 Clear evidence of recognition required for collective bargaining Facts A trade association, of which Albury Brothers was a member, had agreed a number of collective agreements with the National Union of Gold, Silver & Allied Trades in relation to employees’ conditions of employment. Individual members of the trade association were not automatically or legally bound to observe or apply those collective agreements unless they made specific agreements with their…

Termination

Court of Appeal - 1981 Resignation was unambiguous and so no dismissal occurred Facts The office manager of a law firm attended a partnership meeting and said 'I am resigning'. He later claimed that he did not mean to resign, and stated that he did not want to leave. However, the employer argued that he had resigned and hence his employment had terminated. He claimed unfair dismissal. Court of Appeal The Court of Appeal identified three situations in which an employer ought to…

Employee relations

High Court - 1982 Requirement to disclose information to a union with negotiation rights Facts The ASTMS trade union (now part of Unite) was recognised by BTP Tioxide for: collective bargaining over employment terms and conditions for a specified class of employees, including general increases in salary scales, and payments for overtime, work done on statutory holidays, shifts and so on making representations on other terms and conditions making representations on individual and…

Termination

Employment Appeal Tribunal - January 1982 Principles that should be adopted when implementing redundancies EAT The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) described the principles that a good employer should adopt when dismissing employees for redundancy. These principles include: the employer should give the trade union as much warning as possible of impending redundancies in order to enable the union to consider relevant facts and possible alternative solutions and, if necessary, alternative…

Terms and conditions

Court of Appeal - December 1985 Employees not told information was confidential Facts Fowler was a sales manager. He left Faccenda and set up an organisation in competition, selling chickens to customers in the same area. His eight recruits included five sales staff from Faccenda.   In setting up his business, Fowler used information that he had gained while employed at Faccenda, including names and addresses of customers, their usual requirements and the prices they were charged.…

Tupe

European Court of Justice - March 1986 All the circumstances of the transfer must be taken into account to determine whether Tupe applies Facts Spijkers was employed as an assistant manager at a slaughterhouse owned by Gebroeders Colaris Abbatoir BV (Colaris) in the Netherlands. When Colaris ceased trading, it sold the entire slaughterhouse to Benedik Abattoir. The new company took over all Colaris's employees, apart from Spijkers and one other employee, and carried on the same business…

Equality

European Court of Justice - May 1986 Excluding part-time employees from access to pension scheme was discriminatory Facts Weber was employed as a sales assistant. She initially worked full time, and then moved to part-time hours.   Bilka-Kaufhaus operated a pension scheme for employees. It was only open to those who worked part-time if they had also worked full-time for at least 15 years. As Weber had worked full-time for less than 15 years she was not entitled to join the pension…

Termination

House of Lords - November 1987 Any procedural shortfall will make a dismissal unfair Facts Polkey was one of four van drivers. There was a commercial need to cut costs and it was decided that the four van drivers would be replaced by three van salesmen. The employer decided that Polkey was not suitable for the role of van salesman, and hence it was decided to make him redundant. The first that Polkey knew about this was when he was handed a letter setting out the redundancy payment…

Pay and benefits

Employment Appeal Tribunal - 1990 Deduction not unlawful where agreement signed after the event Facts Smith was employed as a traffic office clerk. One day in August 1988, the company discovered that Smith’s takings for the previous day were missing. There was no suggestion that Smith had misappropriated the money, but that the money was not where it should have been indicated that he had not followed company procedures properly. A provision in a collective agreement which the employer…

Pay and benefits, Equality

European Court of Justice - May 2009 Operating different pension ages for men and women was unlawful Facts Barber was an employee of Guardian Royal Exchange and a member of its pension scheme. The scheme was non-contributory, with a normal pensionable age of 62 years for men and 57 years for women. If an employee was made redundant s/he would be entitled to an immediate pension income at the age of 55 years if a man and 50 years if a woman.   Barber was made redundant at the age of 52…

Family friendly and flexible working rights

Court of Justice of the European Union - November 1990 Refusal to employ a woman for reasons related to pregnancy was direct sex discrimination Facts Dekker, who was pregnant, applied for a post as a training instructor with a youth centre run by an organisation in the Dutch public sector. She informed the selection committee that she was pregnant. Although Dekker was the most suitable candidate for the post and had been recommended for appointment by the selection committee, she was…

Pay and benefits

Employment Appeal Tribunal - November 1991 Deduction not lawful where agreement reached after the event Facts Potter took an HGV driving course that was paid for by the agency he worked for. The agency placed him with Hunt Contracts, which decided to take him on as a permanent employee. As part of the deal with the agency, Hunt Contracts refunded the cost of the HGV training course. An agreement was drawn up with Potter that he would repay Hunt Contracts for the £545 cost of the course…

Terms and conditions

Court of Appeal - 1991 Requiring an employee to work excessive hours breaches employer’s implied duty of care Facts Johnstone was a senior house officer in a hospital. His contract gave a standard working week of 40 hours, and he had to be available on call for an average of 48 hours each week.   There is an implied term in every employment contract that the employer will take reasonable care of the employee's health and safety. The terms of Johnstone’s contract meant that it was…

Employee relations

Court of Appeal - 1992 Trade union activities in prior employment and automatic unfair dismissal Facts Fitzpatrick was a known union activist following her participation in trade union activities undertaken while working at British Telecom and Ford. She was dismissed soon after starting new employment with British Rail, on the grounds that she had been untruthful in her application (having failed to mention nine days of employment with Ford, when she was dismissed because of bad…

Termination

Employment Appeal Tribunal - February 1992 Resignation in the heat of the moment amounted to unfair dismissal Facts Lineham was a depot manager. He entered the depot at night to use the toilet, and in doing so deactivated and then reactivated the alarm. Security officers realised that someone had entered the premises, and Lineham explained what had happened. He was given a disciplinary warning and had an angry exchange with one of the directors about this. He threw his keys into…

Pay and benefits

Employment Appeal Tribunal Deduction not lawful where agreement signed after the event Facts Williams was a manager of the respondent’s retail outlets. On a number of occasions there had been a shortfall following stocktaking. After a series of shortfalls, Williamson signed an agreement that £3,500 would be deducted from his wages at a rate of £20 per week, to compensate for part of the shortfalls. He was then dismissed, due to the shortfalls, and was told his outstanding wages and…

Business principles

Employment Appeal Tribunal - 1993 How much time off work for public duties is reasonable? Facts Maule took 24 days off work for her duties as a member of a number of public bodies, including a Social Security Appeals Tribunal (the SSAT), and certain trade union duties in 1990, and 22 days off for such duties in 1991. Attempts had been made to establish a "working arrangement" to limit her time off to an average of two days a month.   In November 1991, she sought time off to attend a…

Employee relations

Court of Appeal - April 1994 Rejection of promotion application of full time trade union officer not unlawful Fact Gallacher was employed as a higher executive officer with the Department of Transport but, between 1987 and 1991, carried out a full time trade union officer role. His application for promotion to the position of senior executive officer within the department in 1990 was rejected on the grounds that, as he had not carried out his departmental duties for a number of years,…

Termination

House of Lords - July 1994 Employer under duty of care to ensure reference is factually accurate Facts Spring worked as a sales representative for an insurance company which was sold to Guardian Assurance. Spring decided to move to work for another insurance company. The rules of the Financial Services Authority are that anyone working in a financially regulated industry (such as insurance) must have a reference before taking up a new appointment.   Due to the sale, the managers at…

Family friendly and flexible working rights , Equality

Court of Justice of the European Union - July 1994 Dismissal of employee covering for maternity leave was direct discrimination Facts Webb was recruited as a replacement for another employee who was on maternity leave, but it was intended that she would be kept on permanently once the other employee returned to work. After two weeks in the job, she disclosed that she was pregnant. She was then dismissed. The case was referred to the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) to…

Equality

Court of Justice of the European Union - December 1995 Enhanced overtime pay need not be paid to part-time employees until after they have worked full-time hours Facts The employer operated a policy in line with the terms of a collective agreement that payment for overtime hours worked by part-time employees would only be made at an enhanced rate after they had worked the equivalent of full-time hours.   A group of part-timers claimed that this policy was indirectly discriminatory on…

Employee relations

Court of Appeal - 1995 Ballot still valid despite additional union members Facts RMT, the rail union, held a ballot of its members and there was a clear majority in favour of strike action (over a number of one and two day periods). After the ballot, a further 20 members joined the trade union, which London Underground was prepared to accept as making no difference to the validity of the earlier ballot. However, around one month later, notice was given of further industrial action and…

Employee relations

Employment Appeal Tribunal - 1995 Employee’s dismissal was on account of her trade union membership Facts Armitage was dismissed after she asked her local union official to intervene with her employer to resolve a problem over its failure to provide her with a written statement of terms and conditions of employment. EAT Upholding an employment tribunal’s decision that she had been dismissed primarily by reason of her union membership, the EAT stated: "The activities of a trade…

Family friendly and flexible working rights

Court of Justice of the European Union - February 1996 Employees on maternity leave not entitled to full pay Facts The 17 claimants were employed by various health boards in Northern Ireland. During their maternity leave - in accordance with the terms of a collective agreement - they were paid full pay for four weeks, 90 percent of full pay for the next two weeks, and half pay for the following 12 weeks. This was more generous than statutory maternity pay at the time. Agreements that…

Equality

Employment Appeal Tribunal - October 1996 Are employers responsible for discrimination by a third party? Facts In this case, two black female waitresses were working at a private function being held at the hotel where they were employed. Bernard Manning, a comedian (who was not employed by the hotel) was performing at the function, and during his after dinner act he made a number of highly offensive sexist and racist jokes. Some of these jokes were directed specifically at the two…

Employee relations

Court of Appeal - 1997 Inducement to breach a contract Facts TimePlan, a recruitment agency for teachers, had agreed to place a series of advertisements in a magazine run by a teachers’ union in New Zealand. A dispute arose with the NUT over whether the agency paid the teachers which they supplied at a rate lower than the statutory pay rate.   The NUT contacted the New Zealand union to inform it of the ongoing dispute and suggesting that the union “might consider it inappropriate to…