Contracts of employment

Denial of pay rise was an unlawful deduction from wages

An employer’s attempt to introduce a new absence policy led to successful deductions from wages claims because it was inconsistent with the terms of the staff handbook.
Brent v Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Implied variation of contract: employee bound by contract he didn’t sign

The High Court has confirmed that an employee impliedly accepts a variation of his contract of employment (which contains both advantageous and disadvantageous terms) when his conduct is only attributable to having accepted the new terms imposed by his employer. When an employee avails himself of additional benefits which he is only entitled to under the new contract, and does not protest against the new contract in any way, he will unequivocally have acted in a way that means he had impliedly accepted the new contract.
FW Farnsworth Ltd v Lacy

Zero hours contracts were in fact global contracts of employment

Despite having signed ‘zero hours contracts’, the reality of their working arrangements meant that carers were actually employed under global/umbrella contracts of employment with the result that their continuity of employment was preserved and they could go on to pursue unfair dismissal and TUPE claims.
Pulse Healthcare v Carewatch Care Services Ltd

Preparing to compete isn’t necessarily gross misconduct

It is not, in itself, gross misconduct for an employee to prepare plans for setting up in business on their own account after they have left their employer – and nor is it the case that all information that the employer regards as confidential is in fact such.
Khan v Landsker Child Care Ltd

Employee who met employer’s client to secure work for his competing business post-resignation not in breach of contract

The Court of Appeal has clarified the extent to which employees owe their current employer fiduciary duties and the duty of fidelity in the context of an employee setting up a competing business. Overturning the High Court, the Court of Appeal held that an employee who met his employer’s clients with a view to securing work for his own company after his resignation and who discussed the matter with a fellow employee to persuade him to secure business for the new business, was not in breach of contract. There was no fiduciary duty on him to report such meetings or his intention to set up in competition – and neither did his contract of employment require this.
Ranson v Customer Systems plc

The importance of ensuring all payroll deductions are ‘lawful’

A useful reminder from the EAT that, in the absence of any statutory or contractual requirement or authority for a deduction from wages, such a deduction is unlawful.
Fahey v Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust

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