Employment Cases Update

Chemcem Scotland Ltd v Ure UKEATS/0036/19/SS

Date published: 04/11/2020

Appeal against the ET’s decision upholding the Claimant’s claim of constructive unfair dismissal. Appeal dismissed.

The Claimant, who was the daughter of the majority shareholder in the Respondent company, went on maternity leave and was paid SMP. During her maternity leave, there was correspondence between the Claimant and her father about matters affecting her employment; and, at the end of her maternity leave, the Claimant brought a claim in the ET for constructive dismissal, arguing that the Respondent had committed a variety of breaches of contract which had transgressed the obligation of mutual trust and confidence between the parties, and that she was entitled to regard these acts as repudiatory. The ET considered that the issues that led to the Claimant's decision not to return occurred over an extended period, and that the Respondent's acts were repudiatory in nature and entitled the Claimant to resign. The Respondent appealed on the grounds that (1) emails from the Claimant made it clear that she had not returned to work because the Respondent had stopped paying SMP at the end of her maternity leave, which it was entitled to do, and (2) the Claimant had failed to communicate her acceptance of the Respondent's repudiatory acts.

The EAT held that (1) the ET had correctly identified a number of repudiatory acts over an extended period that had entitled the Claimant to end her employment, thereby making the first ground of appeal irrelevant, and (2) the circumstances of this case, surrounding the Claimant's failure to return to work after her maternity leave, meant that she did not need to communicate with the Respondent.

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