Contract Breach. The claimant companies brought proceedings against the defendant, a former employee of the first claimant, seeking damages for breach of contract and database rights, delivery up of confidential information and injunctive relief. The Mercantile Court held that the defendant had not been constructively dismissed, and had acted in breach of contract and in breach of confidence. He had further breached his fiduciary duties. An award of damages was made against him in the sum of 290,009.
Practice Pre-trial or post-judgment relief. The first defendant resigned from his employment with the claimant and the claimant sought to enforce the terms of certain contractual post-termination restrictive covenants and covenants relating to confidential information. The claimant had previously obtained an interim injunction in relation to the first defendant's activities and applied to continue the injunction. The principal issue in the action was whether the first defendant had signed or had otherwise agreed to be bound by the written contract on which the claimant relied. The Queen's Bench Division, on established principle, continued the injunction and ordered a speedy trial.
Restraint of trade by agreement Employer and employee. The claimant company worked in the recycling of glass. The first defendant left the employment of the claimant to set up the second defendant company, which acted in competition to the claimant. The claimant brought proceedings for, among other things breach of confidential and fiduciary duties. The Queen's Bench Division held that, on the evidence, the substantitive claims against the defendants succeeded.
Unfair dismissal Redundancy. The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), in dismissing the employee's appeal against the employment tribunal's finding that the employee had been unfairly dismissed, ruled that it had been wrong for the employment tribunal to substitute its own view for that of the employer in relation to the redundancy pool issue. However, it found that the tribunal had gone on to made further findings as to the selection process, which had supported its conclusions that: (1) the dismissal had been unfair; and (2) for the purpose of the complaints of race discrimination, the burden of proof had shifted and the employer had not discharged that burden. Accordingly, the EAT affirmed the tribunal's findings notwithstanding its conclusion on the redundancy pool issue.
Employment Disability. The claimant, who was disabled, was dismissed for redundancy. The criterion for selection was sickness absence. Account was taken of disability related absences, to the extent that a 50% reduction was applied. The employment tribunal rejected the employee's claims of disability discrimination, but upheld a claim for unfair dismissal. The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT), in dismissing the employee's appeal, held that the tribunal had reached decisions open to it on the facts. In allowing the employer's cross-appeal, the EAT held that the tribunal had substituted its own view as to the correct method of making the 50% reduction, which had not been its function.
Restraint of trade by agreement Employer and employee. The claimant sought to invoke a restrictive covenant in the defendant's employment contract following the defendant's resignation to work for another company. The judge, in considering the restrictive covenant had added correcting words and granted the claimant an injunction. The Court of Appeal, Civil Division, discharged the injunction and held that the wording of the restrictive covenant had been clear and had not required additional words to be read in by the judge.
Restraint of trade by agreement Employer and employee. The claimant company provided care services. It allowed the defendants to operate a franchise, which became successful. A dispute arose, following the defendants operating a separate company with overlapping functions to the franchise. The Chancery Division held that there had been no repudiatory breach on the part of the claimants, and that four covenants, which the claimant alleged that the defendants had breached, were valid and enforceable.
Employment 'Worker'. The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills appealed to the Employment Appeal Tribunal against a finding of the employment tribunal that the claimant had been an employee of an insolvent company, for which she had been the sole-owner, prior to it becoming insolvent and therefore entitled to a redundancy payment pursuant to of the Employment Rights Act 1996. The Employment Appeal Tribunal held that, despite the claimant not having enforced her contractual right to the payment of a salary in the two years prior to insolvency, the tribunal had been entitled, on the facts, to find that the claimant had been an employee at the material time.
Redundancy Payment. The Employment Appeal Tribunal (the EAT) dismissed the appeal by Peacock Stores (Peacock) against a decision of the employment tribunal which had rejected Peacock's argument that the employees concerned had not been entitled to enhanced redundancy payments (on statutory terms, without a cap). The EAT decided that the tribunal had correctly determined that based on Peacock's consistent past practice of making redundancy payments based on statutory terms but without a cap on either years of service or the amount of a weekly wage, a contractual term to that effect could be inferred.
Unfair dismissal Determination whether dismissal fair or unfair. The Employment Appeal Tribunal (the EAT) dismissed the employer local authority's appeal against the employment tribunal's finding that its redundancy dismissals in respect of the employees had been unfair. The EAT decided that there had been no procedural unfairness or impermissible substitution of view as alleged by the authority.