Employment Law Cases

Health and safety protections and 'workers'

‘Workers’ and not just employees should have protection from being subject to detriments on health and safety grounds and the right to be provided with PPE.

Cost considerations and justifying indirect discrimination

While saving costs can never of itself justify indirect discrimination, a need to reduce expenditure to live within budgetary constraints can be a legitimate aim for the purposes of justifying indirect discrimination.

Constructive dismissal: acceptance of breach

An employee’s failure to return to work after her maternity leave amounted to acceptance of a repudiatory breach for the purposes of an unfair constructive dismissal claim.

Whistleblowing time limits: one-off act or continuing act?

A change to or the imposition of a new employment contract is a one-off event with continuing consequences - not a continuing act for the purposes of bringing a whistleblowing detriment claim. Also, the tribunal should have considered an uplift in compensation because of a failure to follow the ACAS code of practice as the making of a protected disclosure was a grievance.

Employer not liable for injuries caused by practical joke

An employer was not liable for injuries inflicted on one of its contractors by one of its employees playing a practical joke.

Gender reassignment: gender fluid/non-binary employees

A gender fluid/non-binary employee was covered by the definition of gender reassignment in the Equality Act 2010.

Paranoid delusions and disability

An employee who suffered paranoid delusions was not disabled because although these had a substantial adverse effect, they were not long term or likely to recur.

Re-engagement and loss of trust and confidence

A breakdown in trust and confidence is relevant to the practicability of re-engagement, even if the dismissal was for capability and not for misconduct.

Bank workers and redundancy

An employer had not acted unreasonably by failing to place a redundant employee on a list of workers whose services could be called on if required – because doing so would not have avoided the redundancy.

Dismissal and internal appeals

If an internal appeal against dismissal overturns the dismissal, then in law it’s as if there was no dismissal – even if the employee makes it clear when appealing that they have no intention of returning to their job whatever the outcome of the appeal.

Equal pay: duration of the material factor defence

A ‘material factor’ defence continues to operate until a new pay decision.

Dismissal and absence of procedure

Where there has been an irretrievable breakdown in a working relationship, a complete lack of any procedure may not render a subsequent dismissal unfair.

Agency Workers Regulations: 'temporary' work requirement

A worker who had an open-ended contract of employment with an agency was nonetheless supplied to work ‘temporarily’ for an end user.

TUPE: employment contract can be split between transferees

In a transfer to multiple transferees under the Acquired Rights Directive, the contract of a transferring worker can be split between each of the transferees in proportion to the tasks performed by the worker, provided that such a division is possible and does not adversely affect the worker’s rights and working conditions.

Causation and discrimination arising from disability

For a claim under s. 15 of the Equality Act  a claimant cannot argue that ‘but for’ their disability they would not have been put in a situation that led to unfavourable treatment – rather the focus is on the reasons for the treatment itself.

Witness anonymity and unfair dismissal

A dismissal based on anonymous witness evidence will not necessarily be unfair, even where that witness declines to participate in the disciplinary process.

Employer undertaking as a reasonable adjustment

Giving an undertaking not to make an employee work with those she claimed had bullied and harassed her, or to offer her a severance package if this wasn’t feasible, was a reasonable adjustment.

Objective justification of discrimination arising from disability

In assessing justification where discrimination arising from disability is concerned, it’s the balance between the employer’s needs and the discriminatory impact on the employee that is relevant, not the process by which the employer settled on the unfavourable treatment.

Continuous employment: working before start date

Work carried out before a formally agreed start date may not count for continuity of employment purposes.

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