Christmas Past - A Summary Of The Years Key Employment Cases

Author:Ms Fiona Rushforth
Profession:Wedlake Bell

Separate offices and locations once again "separate establishments" for collective redundancy purposes -  USDAW v Ethel Austin Ltd

The ECJ overturned the earlier EAT decision that had to be considered together for the purposes of collective consultation. The ECJ held that each establishment should be considered separately. Therefore if there were fewer than 20 employees made redundant per establishment, the obligation to collectively consult would not be triggered.

The law has therefore reverted to its pre-Woolworths position.

European Court of Justice declares the U.S. "Safe Harbour" data-sharing scheme invalid  - Maximillian Schrems v Data Protection Commissioner

The CJEU declared the US Safe Harbour Scheme to be invalid, meaning that organisations can no longer rely on the scheme to transfer personal data to the USA. International companies have now been advised to rely on other means of safely transferring data, such as EC model clauses and binding corporate rules.

The role of HR in unfair dismissal claims -  Ramphal v Department for Transport

In this case, HR's influence over the disciplinary manager's decision led to the Tribunal's "fair dismissal" decision being overturned by the EAT.  The HR department's involvement led to extensive changes from the disciplinary manager's first-draft decision including excluding favourable conclusions. The EAT held that the extreme nature of the changes to the report suggested that Mr Goodchild's decision had been improperly influenced by HR, and that this rendered the decision unfair. 

Travel time is "working time" for mobile workers - FdSPdSCO v Tyco

The ECJ ruled that time spent travelling to and from home for workers with no fixed or habitual place of work should constitute "working time" for the purposes of the Working Time Directive ("WTD"). The decision is relevant for the purpose of weekly wokding time, rest periods and potentially holiday, but does not necessarily affect entitlement to pay.  

Fair dismissal for social media comments - Smith v British Waterways Board

The EAT held that the employee had been fairly dismissed for bringing the employer into disrepute with a series of negative comments on social media about his work and colleagues, including one comment about being drunk on duty.

Voluntary Overtime and Holiday Pay - Patterson v Castlereagh Borough Council

In one of a long line of cases on holiday pay, the Northern Irish courts confirmed that voluntary overtime could be included...

To continue reading