Contracts of employment

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.

Worker status under the Working Time Directive

The ECJ has held that a courier appeared to have been correctly classified as self- employed rather than as a worker, given his independence and the lack of subordination.

PHI benefits and long-term disability

An employee was rightly compensated for loss of entitlement to benefits under a PHI policy when he was unable to ‘return to work’ following sickness absence. The ‘return to work’ was a return to the work he had been doing when he went off sick, not a return to any work.

Suspension and injunction

A suspended employee successfully obtained an injunction against her employer allowing her to resume most of her duties because there was no justification to restrict such duties.

Worker status and substitution clauses

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

Salary information and confidentiality

There is no implied term that salary details are confidential.

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.

Disciplinary hearings and police investigations

An employer does not usually need to wait for the conclusion of criminal proceedings before starting or continuing with internal disciplinary proceedings.

Written particulars of employment

An employee with at least one month’s - but less than two months’ - continuous employment had a right to a written statement of employment particulars.

Uber drivers are 'workers' says Court of Appeal

Drivers for Uber are ‘workers’ and not self-employed according to a majority judgment from the Court of Appeal.

Deliveroo riders aren't 'workers' for collective bargaining purposes

The right to statutory recognition of a union under art. 11 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) does not apply to delivery drivers who had specifically found not to be workers as they had a genuine right of substitution which had been exercised.

Addison Lee drivers are 'workers'

Three drivers for a taxi and courier company were ‘workers’ and not independent contractors.

Ambiguous resignations

An employee’s letter giving ‘notice’ wasn’t an unambiguous resignation.

Enforcing post-termination restrictions and unsigned employment contracts

An employer wanting to vary an employment contract to incorporate more onerous post-termination restrictive covenants must ensure it has evidence of valid consideration for the change and should always obtain proof of agreement from the employee; ideally in the form of signature.

Resigning on notice may amount to affirmation

When an employee resigns and claims wrongful dismissal (not constructive dismissal), but does so on notice, where there is a lengthy notice period, they have affirmed the contract and so lost the ability to claim wrongful dismissal. However, if further breaches occur after affirmation, they are entitled to count the earlier affirmed breaches and claim that cumulatively they have caused the employee to resign without notice. Their restrictive covenants also do not apply.

Zero-hours contracts and pay while suspended

Is a zero-hours contract employee entitled to pay whilst they are suspended and thus not working any hours?

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.

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.

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