Employment Cases Update

Sinclair v Trackwork Ltd UKEAT/0129/20/OO

Date published: 17/05/2021

Appeal against the ET’s decision dismissing the Claimant’s claim for automatically unfair dismissal. Appeal allowed.

The Claimant was instructed by the Respondent to implement a health and safety procedure, but the other employees were not informed of the Claimant's work. When the Respondent's workforce raised their concerns with management about what the Claimant was doing, the Respondent dismissed the Claimant because of the upset and friction caused, and the Claimant brought proceedings in the ET for automatically unfair dismissal. The ET rejected the Claimant's contention that he was designated by the Respondent to "carry out activities in connection with … health and safety at work" under section 100(1) of the Employment Rights Act 1996 and was dismissed for carrying out such activities, and it found that the principal reason for dismissal was the upset caused to the Respondent's workforce by the Respondent's approach to the new procedure (through the agency of the Claimant). The Claimant appealed on the ground that the ET erred in law in concluding that the principal reason for his dismissal was not that he was carrying out health and safety activities.

The EAT held that the ET had erred in law in reaching its conclusions as it relied on a matter (namely the upset caused to the workforce) that was not separable from the carrying out of the activities, and its conclusion that the dismissal was other than for the carrying out of health and safety activities was not a permissible option. Accordingly, the EAT substituted a finding that the reason for dismissal was the carrying out of health and safety activities, and the matter would be remitted to the ET to consider remedy.

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