Unfair Dismissal

COVID-19: dismissal of employee stuck abroad

The dismissal of an employee who remained abroad at the start of the pandemic was automatically unfair on health and safety grounds.

Constructive dismissal and harassment

Departing from previous authority, the EAT has held that a constructive dismissal can amount to harassment under the Equality Act.

COVID-19: appropriate steps in the face of serious and imminent danger

The dismissal of an employee who’d expressed concerns about commuting during COVID-19 and who asked to be furloughed was not automatically unfair.

COVID-19: unfair health and safety-related dismissal

An employee was unfairly dismissed for raising health and safety issues about lack of PPE and other workplace COVID-secure measures.

Constructive dismissal and incorporated terms

An incorporated collectively agreed term was not apt for incorporation into an individual employment contract so as to enable an employee to rely on a breach of it as giving rise to a constructive dismissal claim.

Constructive dismissal: employer tries to make amends

Where the actions of an employer amount to a fundamental breach of contract, nothing that the employer does after that point can cure that breach.

Automatically unfair health and safety dismissals

An employee dismissed because of the friction caused in the workplace by the way he’d instituted a new health and safety regime had been automatically unfairly dismissed.

Re-engagement, loss of trust and confidence and capability dismissals

An employer’s genuine and rational lack of belief in an employee’s capability can render it not practicable for the employee to be re-engaged following an unfair dismissal.

Fair dismissal for refusal to wear a face mask

A lorry driver was fairly dismissed for refusing to wear a face mask while on a client’s premises but still in his cab.

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.

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.

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.

Continuous employment: working before start date

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

Constructive dismissal and the 'last straw'

Just because a last straw was not actually a last straw did not mean that a constructive unfair dismissal claim could not proceed.

Automatic unfair dismissal: designation to perform health and safety functions

For an employee to have been ‘designated’ by their employer to carry out health and safety activities, he or she must have been selected by the employer to carry out specific activities in connection with preventing or reducing risks to health and safety at work, over and above their ordinary job duties.

Attribution of knowledge: relevance to fairness of dismissal

In an unfair dismissal case, an investigator’s failure to share a material fact with the dismissing officer could be relevant when assessing whether the employer had acted reasonably in dismissing.

Pending criminal changes and dismissal

An employee charged with a criminal offence was fairly dismissed due to the risk to the employer’s reputation.

Unfair dismissal and investigations

A separate investigatory hearing and disciplinary hearing is not required in every case by right.

Constructive dismissal: procedural fairness during investigation

An employer’s unreasonable disciplinary investigation breached the implied term of trust and confidence which entitled the employee to resign and successfully claim unfair constructive dismissal.

  • Page 1 of 3