Employment Cases Update

Smith v Pimlico Plumbers Ltd UKEAT/0003/20/DA

Date published: 30/03/2021

Appeal against the ET’s decision that the Claimant had not been constructively dismissed amounting to disability discrimination. Appeal dismissed.

The Claimant, a plumbing and heating engineer, worked for the Respondent from 2005 until 2011 (see Smith v Pimlico Plumbers Ltd UKEAT/0211/19/DA). It was accepted that he had a disability by reason of a heart condition and, in 2011, he requested permission to work a three-day week for health reasons. When the Respondent suspended the Claimant, and required him to return equipment and a van, the Claimant regarded this as a fundamental breach entitling him to terminate the contract. The Claimant brought a claim for disability discrimination in relation to his alleged dismissal, but the ET concluded that the Claimant had not been constructively dismissed. The Claimant appealed on the grounds that the ET had erred (1) by treating the termination of employment as an unfair constructive dismissal pursuant to section 95(1)(c) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 rather than a discriminatory dismissal pursuant to section 39(7)(b) of the Equality Act 2010, (2) by failing to consider whether the Claimant was entitled to terminate the employment because of the Respondent's conduct, and (3) in its analysis on the application of justification; at the EAT hearing itself, the grounds were amended.

The EAT refused permission to amend the grounds of appeal; whilst the Claimant lost the right to pursue his appeal, it was a right lost in respect of an entirely different appeal from that for which he had obtained permission. Accordingly, the appeal against the dismissal of the disability discrimination claim would be dismissed.

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