Employment Law Cases

Raising grievances and impact on the fairness of dismissal

An employee’s dismissal for using a grievance process in a frivolous and vexatious manner was fair.

COVID-19: automatic unfair dismissal and refusal to allow homeworking

An employee had not been automatically unfairly dismissed because of her employer’s refusal to allow her to work from home during the pandemic. Her belief that there were circumstances of serious and imminent danger was not objectively reasonable given that her employer had assessed the risks and addressed the need for increased levels of hygiene and social distancing.

COVID-19: redundancy and failure to consider furlough

An employee’s dismissal for redundancy was unfair, in part because the employer hadn’t considered continuing her employment on furlough. If a genuine consultation had taken place which considered furlough and the available project work, she may not have been made redundant.

Flexible working and agreements to extend

An employee had not agreed to an extension to the normal three-month time frame for deciding flexible working requests when he agreed to attend an appeal outside that three-month period.

NMW and expenses

Payments made by a driver to rent his vehicle and uniform should have been taken into account when working out whether he had been paid the National Minimum Wage (NMW).

Direct pay offer to employees was an 'unlawful inducement'

An employer who directly offered its employees a package of revised terms and conditions - going over the head of the recognised trade union – unlawfully induced them to cease collective bargaining.

Associative indirect discrimination: returning to work full time

An employee who cared for her disabled mother was indirectly discriminated against on the grounds of disability, despite not having a disability herself.

Dismissal for breach of anti-corruption policy

The dismissal of an employee was fair because he’d acted in ‘wilful disregard’ of an anti-corruption policy, even though he’d not deliberately intended to breach the policy and had no corrupt intent.

Worker status and substitution clauses

A delivery courier was a ‘worker’ despite his agreement containing what purported to be a substitution clause.

Collective redundancy consultation and the 'special circumstances' defence

Compulsory liquidation is not a ‘special circumstance’ allowing an employer to escape liability for a failure collectively to consult before making redundancies.

Asserting breach of a statutory right: when does the claim crystalise?

An employee can bring a claim for automatic unfair dismissal if they are instructed to infringe their statutory rights, even if the infringement has not actually occurred.

Reasonableness of warnings

A tribunal did not need to ‘look behind’ a final written warning to consider its fairness.

Privilege and unfair dismissal

An email between an employer and its HR consultant was protected by litigation privilege despite indicating a pre-determined decision to dismiss.

Dismissal, lack of appeal and fairness

Where a dismissal is because of an irretrievable breakdown in the employer/employee relationship, the failure to offer/carry out an appeal post-dismissal will not always render a dismissal unfair.

Reasonable adjustments and pay protection

It was not a reasonable adjustment to continue to pay an employee their previous higher rate of pay after being moved to a lower-paid role because of their disability.

Redundancy dismissal and continuing furlough

The dismissal of an employee for redundancy, despite the existence of the furlough scheme, did not make his dismissal unfair.

Redundancy and suitable alternative employment

In deciding whether an entitlement to a redundancy payment is lost by the refusal of an offer of suitable alternative work, it’s important to consider the practical effects of any differences between the old role and the new role.

Dismissal and medical evidence

Up to date medical evidence is vital when defending the fairness of an ill-health capability dismissal, although only if it’s obtained before a dismissal.

Criminal offences and unfair dismissal

An employee was fairly dismissed for some other substantial reason when he was charged with a criminal offence but never prosecuted.

Discrimination and the burden of proof

The burden of proof remains on a claimant in a discrimination case to prove, on the balance of probabilities, facts from which (absent any other explanation) a tribunal could infer that an unlawful act of discrimination had taken place. The change in wording to the balance of proof provisions in the Equality Act 2010 did not introduce a substantive change to the law.

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