Employment Law Cases

Worker's defamation complaint could be a protected disclosure

A worker’s complaint to HR that he was being defamed by rumours that he had breached confidentiality was capable of amounting to a protected disclosure under the whistleblowing provisions of the Employment Rights Act.

Investigating manager's anti-union motivation could be attributed to employer

An employee was automatically unfairly dismissed because of his union activities even though neither the manager conducting the disciplinary hearing nor the manager who dismissed the appeal were motivated by prejudice against the employee because of his union activities.

Redundancy trial period and dismissal

Whether notification that a role was being deleted amounted to a communication that the contract was being terminated on that date had to be determined in light of the wider context and all the facts of the particular case.

CCTV surveillance and the right to privacy

Shop workers’ right to privacy was not breached when a supermarket relied on covertly recorded CTV images to dismiss them for theft.

Race discrimination: false reason for dismissal shifted burden of proof

Lying about the reason for dismissal and later amending one’s defence to include the true reason is likely to shift the burden of proof in a discrimination case.

Sanctity of copyright was not a protected philosophical belief

An employer did not discriminate when it dismissed an employee who refused to sign a copyright agreement because she held a ‘philosophical belief’ that she should own the rights to her work.

Whistleblowing protection extended to office holders

Excluding judges – and all office holders – from whistleblowing protection is a breach of their human rights.

Changes to investigation report did not make dismissal unfair

Changes to an investigator’s report into potential misconduct, made at the suggestion of an in-house lawyer, did not render an employee’s subsequent dismissal unfair

Redundancy pay - contractual, statutory and the £25,000 cap

Statutory redundancy pay doesn’t count towards the £25,000 cap on contractual claims in the employment tribunal as it is a separate cause of action – one is contractual and subject to a £25,000 cap and the other is statutory which is not subject to the cap.

Rest breaks: threat to dismiss was unlawful detriment

A worker, who had been denied a rest break and who was subsequently threatened with dismissal following his refusal to return to work, suffered an unlawful detriment.

Vegetarianism is not a philosophical belief

Vegetarianism is a ‘lifestyle choice’ and, as such, not a belief which qualifies for protection under the Equality Act.

Privilege: don't be tempted to cherry pick

An employer had waived privilege in advice about dismissal and so couldn’t cherry pick which parts of the advice it disclosed.

Suspension was not warranted and breached implied term of trust and confidence

Suspending an employee accused of gross misconduct breached the implied term of trust and confidence leading to an unfair constructive dismissal and if an employer wants to argue that the employee has been dismissed for a fair reason, they must specifically set this out in their defence.

Pay and holiday variation accepted by conduct

An employee had accepted, by her subsequent conduct, collectively agreed changes to pay and holiday arrangements that had been in place for several years.

Employee shareholder status

Someone who validly becomes an ‘employee shareholder’ did not revert to ‘employee’ status when he later concluded a service agreement with his employer.

Whistleblowing and anticipated disclosures

It is unlawful to subject an individual to a detriment or dismiss them on the grounds that the employer perceived them to be considering making a protected disclosure.

Holiday pay for those with irregular hours

A zero hours, term-time employee’s holiday pay should not have been capped at 12.07% of her annualised hours as suggested in ACAS guidance but rather calculated using the 12-week averaging method in the Working Time Regulations.

Illegality and breach of immigration rules

A breach of the immigration rules did not mean that an employment contract was unenforceable.

AWR do not confer right to same contractual hours of work

An agency worker’s right to equal treatment in relation to the ‘duration of working time’ under the Agency Workers Regulations does not entitle him or her to the same number of contractual hours as a directly recruited comparator.

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