Employment Cases Update

Barnard v Hampshire Fire and Rescue Authority UKEAT/0145/19/JOJ & UKEAT/0146/19/JOJ

Date published: 02/01/2020

Appeal against the ET’s decision that the “stable working relationship” ended on the Claimant’s move from one role to another. Appeal allowed.

The Claimant was employed by the Respondent in a number of roles, from administrative to technical and, ultimately, managerial. When the Claimant left her employment with the Respondent, she claimed that she had been constructively dismissed and brought claims for equal pay. The ET concluded that the stable working relationship had ended on her move from the role of Fire Safety Officer to Office Manager; this meant that any claim for equal pay before that date would be out of time, since any such claim needed to be brought within a period of six months beginning with the day on which the stable working relationship ended, for the purposes of sections 129 and 130 Equality Act 2010. The Claimant appealed, contending that the relationship did not cease to be stable where the employment had not only continued but had been affirmed by a series of promotions.

The EAT held that the ET had erred in its approach, in elevating a difference in job content (achieved through a promotion within an internal structure) into a determining factor, thereby failing to give any weight to the stability of the relationship between employer and employee. Accordingly, the appeal would be allowed, the ET's decision would be set aside and a finding substituted that there was no end in the stable working relationship on the Claimant's move to the position of Office Manager.

Read the full text of the judgment on BAILII or download the file by clicking the link below.