Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

hmctsA former aircraft engineer has won a five-figure sum from his former employer after he resigned in 2014 as a result of his employer threatening to demote him.

British Airways were ordered to pay almost £25,000 to Mr John Higgins after he was sacked from his post and then told that he could re-join the company if he would be willing to be demoted to a much junior position.

Mr Higgins, who had 27 years’ service with British Airways Maintenance Glasgow (“BAMG”) prior to being dismissed in 2014, was sacked in March 2014 after it was found that he had installed the wrong part on a plane.

After being sacked from his role Mr Higgins appealed his dismissal on the basis that he was under extreme pressure at the time of the mistake, that he had an excessive workload, that he was being asked to complete tasks in unreasonable timescales, and that the error “did not compromise the safe operation of the aircraft”.

At the appeal stage BAMG offered Mr Higgins that opportunity to return to the business in a demoted post. However, this role was three grades below his position as aircraft maintenance supervisor and attracted half the salary and he therefore rejected it and resigned.

Mr Higgins subsequently pursued claims for constructive unfair dismissal and ‘whistleblowing’ in the Employment Tribunal. The claim came to the Employment Tribunal earlier this year, with Mr Higgins giving evidence in his favour. In his evidence Mr Higgins stated that he was overseeing work on an Airbus A321 on 1 and 2 March last year, at a time when BAMG was short-staffed. He further stated that one of the contractors damaged a wire on the aircraft and Mr Higgins repaired this with a splice, although it turned out to be the wrong splice.

In April 2015 the Employment Tribunal found in Mr Higgins’ favour in respect of his claim for constructive unfair dismissal but rejected his claim for ‘whistleblowing’.

Employment Judge Walker stated in the judgment: “The Tribunal had little difficulty in concluding that demotion of three grades with the associated drop in pay and responsibility was likely to seriously damage the relationship of trust and confidence between the parties. It would be humiliating for the claimant with his length of service and experience to go back to this relatively junior grade and have his supervisory responsibilities removed from him.”

The Employment Tribunal decided that Mr Higgins’ award should be reduced by 50% as a result of his contributory conduct and that he should be awarded £25,000 for his basic and compensatory awards.

Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “Employers should act in a reasonable manner when deciding what disciplinary sanctions to impose on employees – if they go ‘too far’ then (as in this case) they risk the employee resigning and making a claim for constructive unfair dismissal in the Employment Tribunal. This can result not only in a potentially costly Employment Tribunal award but also – as again in this case – negative publicity.

About

Redmans Employment Team deal with employment matters for both employers and employees, including drafting employment contracts and policies, advising employers and employees on compromise agreements, handling day-to-day HR issues, advising on restructures, and handling Employment Tribunal cases for both employers and employees

Call 020 3397 3603 to speak to one of the members of our employment team or email us on enquiries@redmans.co.uk.

Share →

Our awards

Request a callback

Your name

Your email

Your telephone number

Contact us

Please feel free to discuss your own position and concerns. Contact your nearest office on:

T: 020 3397 3603
E: enquiries@redmans.co.uk
W: www.redmans.co.uk

Testimonials

4.52 Average

21 Reviews

Redman's provided excellent legal employment advice for me during a difficult time in my employment. Chris was my lawyer, super efficient, quick, reliable and clearly very experienced in the matter. Could not ask for a better law firm to deal with your query if you are in need of some help. Would definitely use them again in the future. Highly recommending Chris.

Posted 1 month ago

Steven

Chris Hadrill was very professional and responsive. I would highly recommend him

Posted 1 month ago

Dinah

Very Efficient, with very quick email reply’s. I had a matter that needed resolving within a very short space of time and Redmans Solicitors were great with dealing with my matter quickly.

Posted 1 month ago

Ankar

At Redmans the solicitor that was dealing with me was Chris. He dealt with my situation smoothly with clear guidance and explanation

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

Clear, concise advice and guidance delivered by an experienced and very capable solicitor, within the timelines required

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Very efficient service. I never had to wIt for more than a day for a reply to any of my queries and the matter was dealt with swiftly.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Very timely, thorough and helpful advice. Friendly and considerate of the needs of the client

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Very prompt and attention to detail. Thank you for the service

Posted 2 months ago

Chris

Couldn’t be happier with how Redmans successfully handled our seemingly tricky case. By being clear and detailed every step of the way, with the utmost professionalism and courtesy, they made it an informative and eye-opening process, taking the stress out of the situation and ultimately delivered what you would want from such a service. I fully appreciate everything they have done, and if I am ever in need of such services in the future, they will be the first number I contact. Excellent.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Excellent work delivered with great quality

Posted 2 months ago

Dominic

Chris Hadrill was a great help both in terms of his advice and his expertise. He explained my options to me clearly and concisely enabling me to quickly make the right decision for me in the circumstance. I would not hesitate to recommend Chris or Redmans to friends or colleagues, and would certainly make Redmans my first port of call should I require a similar service in the future.

Posted 2 months ago

Kurt

Redmans gave excellent advice and helped me understand everything in clear concepts. Thank you!

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Resolved my issues

Posted 2 months ago

Keith

Quick fast professional service.

Posted 2 months ago

Michael

"Prompt, efficient and practical advice that resulted in me getting some additional money tax free."

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Patient and thorough advice given to me around my Settlement Agreement

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

"Excellent service, getting back to you promptly giving you very good advice."

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

I found Chris Hadrill to be an excellent help, he is very knowledgeable and gives good ,concise ,strategic advice .He makes himself readily accessible when you need him.I would personally highly recommend him.

Posted 2 months ago

Christine

Professional, efficient and reliable service provided. I strongly recommend them and I would use this service again.

Posted 2 months ago