Employment Cases Update

Metroline Travel Ltd v D’Auvergne and others UKEAT/0214/19/DA

Date published: 30/01/2020

Appeal against the ET’s decision that the Respondent had made unlawful deductions from wages by failing to pay meal relief payments to the Claimants. Appeal allowed.

The Claimants are bus drivers whose contracts of employment were transferred to the Respondent. Before the contracts were transferred, the Claimants were entitled to meal relief payments for meal breaks taken at a specific facility; however, the Respondent did not recognise that specific facility as one that was eligible for meal relief payments and, after the Claimants' contracts were transferred, it stated that it would not pay meal relief payments for meal breaks taken there. The Claimants brought a claim in the ET for failure to make the payments, and the ET found that the failure to pay the meal relief payments amounted to an unauthorised deduction from wages. The Respondent appealed on a number of grounds, including that the ET had failed to make sufficient factual findings as to why the Claimants had a contractual right to meal relief payments for meals taken at the specific facility, and that the ET's reasons were inadequate.

The EAT held that the ET had erred in law, by failing to identify what the relevant terms of the contract were and to determine whether or not any recognition of the specific facility involved the implementation or working out of those terms; in the circumstances, it did not give adequate reasons for its conclusion that there was a contractual entitlement to meal relief payments for meal breaks taken at the specific facility. Accordingly, the matter would be remitted to the ET for reconsideration in accordance with the terms of the EAT judgment.

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