Home > Cases > Secretary of State for Justice v Slee [2007] UKEAT 0349

The appellant former employer (J) appealed against a decision of an employment tribunal that the respondent former employee (S) had proved her claims of unfair dismissal, redundancy under the Maternity and Parental Leave etc. Regulations 1999 and sexual discrimination. S had been employed by J as a training manager at a magistrates’ court with additional duties as a court clerk. A restructuring of the magistrate’s court authority significantly reduced the number of regional justices’ clerks and a new post of branch legal manager was created to head up each magistrates’ court team. S unsuccessfully applied for the position of branch legal manager. S was then away from work on sick leave and later on maternity leave. Although there were discussions about other possible positions for her, S believed that the positions being made available to her were not suitable and did not accept them. S tended her resignation and alleged that J had breached her contract of employment. The tribunal held that (i) J had unfairly constructively dismissed S from her employment; (ii) J had failed to offer S a suitable and available vacancy following the redundancy of her existing post contrary to reg.10 of the Regulations; (iii) S suffered a detriment for the reason that she took ordinary maternity leave and additional maternity leave contrary to reg.19 of the Regulations; (iv) J unlawfully discriminated against S on grounds of her sex. S contended that the tribunal had reached perverse findings.

HELD: (1) The tribunal was entitled to hold that J had committed a fundamental breach of the implied terms of mutual trust and confidence and had constructively dismissed S. J had failed to adequately inform S as to when her post ceased to exist during the organisational and legal changes made by J, or to adequately deal with her concerns.

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