Effective date of termination and minimum notice

Where there is a genuine entitlement to summarily dismiss, an employee cannot rely on the deeming provisions in the Employment Rights Act to get to two years’ qualifying service.

Maternity 'pause clause' for training costs was discriminatory

An employee who went on maternity leave was discriminated against and unfairly dismissed after her employer paused her training agreement to recoup expensive training costs.

Allegations and whistleblowing protection

An employee did not make protected disclosures when she complained to her employer about bullying, harassment, inappropriate behaviour and lack of managerial support over a safeguarding issue.

Evidence of right to work could have been established during appeal process

Where an employee was dismissed because the employer had a reasonable belief that they were not entitled to work in the UK, the employer should offer an appeal to allow the employee the chance to prove that at all relevant times they in fact had the right to work in the UK.

Disciplining for 60 days' sickness absence was disability discrimination

A disabled employee who was disciplined for 60 days’ absence over a 12-month period was discriminated against because her absence arose from her disability and her employer had failed to establish that its action was a proportionate response to her absence.

No mutuality of obligation defeats 'employee' claim

Where there was no obligation to provide or accept work, and the other features of the relationship were not inconsistent with this, there was no contract of employment.

Pimlico plumber was a 'worker'

The Supreme Court has handed down its decision in the Pimlico Plumbers case which focussed specifically on the question of whether a plumber stated to be self-employed in his contract was in fact a worker. It unanimously upheld the decision of all the courts below that Mr Smith was indeed a worker.

Pay cut is a repudiatory breach - even if employer had good reasons

An employer can never have reasonable or proper cause for breaching an express term of the employment contract or breaching the implied term of trust and confidence by imposing a significant unilateral pay cut on the employee.

'Same type of contract' for part-time worker comparison

A permanent, full-time employee was employed under the ‘same type of contract’ as a part-time employee on a zero-hours contract for the purposes of the Part-time Workers Regulations.

Summary dismissal but no single act of gross misconduct

The summary dismissal of an employee for a series of misconduct issues was fair (although possibly wrongful), even though no single act amounted to gross misconduct and he had an unblemished disciplinary record.

Discrimination 'arising from' disability and unfair dismissal

Where an employer dismisses a disabled employee for misconduct caused by his or her disability, the dismissal can amount to unfavourable treatment because of something ‘arising from disability’ - even if the employer did not know that the disability caused the misconduct.

Harassment related to religion - the role of context

The context of unwanted conduct is important when deciding whether the conduct is ‘related to’ a protected characteristic.

Cycle courier was a 'worker'

The EAT reject an appeal by a courier company against a tribunal decision that one of its cycle couriers was a ‘worker’ entitled to paid holiday.

Affirmation of contract and 'last straw' constructive dismissal

The ‘last straw’ doctrine in constructive dismissal cases allows a claimant to rely on the totality of an employer’s acts, even though earlier breaches by the employer may have been affirmed, so long as the final act forms part of a series.

Continuing to work and affirmation of contractual changes

Employees who continued to work following their employer’s imposition of a pay freeze did not thereby agree to a variation of contract, despite the fact that their tribunal claim wasn’t begun until two years later.

Shared parental leave: door opened to indirect sex discrimination claims?

While men on shared parental leave cannot directly compare themselves with women on maternity leave, enhancing maternity pay but not shared parental pay may give rise to an indirect discrimination claim.

Date when notice of termination is effective

Where a contract is silent on when notice takes effect, it is effective when it’s actually received by the employee and they have read it (or had a reasonable opportunity to do so).

References and negative opinions

Except where there is a ‘red flag’ prompting further inquiry, such as an obvious error in the material or where information has come to light which casts a doubt on the reliability or integrity of the facts or opinions in the underlying material, there was no duty to examine the procedural fairness of investigations upon which facts and opinions in a reference were based.

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