Reed Smith Newsletters

Welcome to our monthly newsletter, with a summary of the latest news and developments in UK employment law.

In this month’s edition, we provide an update on developments relating to ‘fire and rehire’ and the use of non-disclosure agreements, potential reforms around fit notes and sick pay, and the UK Labour party’s proposal to make company directors personally liable for non-payment of Employment Tribunal awards.

Case law updates

Unfair dismissal: In a rare case the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled that dismissal was fair despite the employer not following any dismissal process. The claimant had been at risk of redundancy, but the process was halted following his successful grievance claim about being placed at risk. The grievance also contained allegations that his line manager had undermined and scapegoated him, but these allegations were not upheld. Although the employer subsequently made efforts to rebuild relationships with the claimant and to retain him, the claimant (who was off sick at the time) refused to engage. The employment tribunal (ET) found that he placed unreasonable conditions on his employer with respect to his return to work, became confrontational, and threatened further grievances, tribunal claims and referrals to the employer’s ethics team. A more senior line manager considered that the relationship had broken down so much that it was incapable of repair, and the claimant was dismissed without a warning and with no right of appeal. The EAT found that in all the circumstances, this was not an unfair dismissal, although the EAT acknowledged it was an unusual and rare case. As such prudent employers should continue to follow a dismissal process as this remains an essential part of a fair dismissal, other than in truly exceptional circumstances. (Matthews v. CGI IT UK Ltd)