Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

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

The Employment Appeal Tribunal case of the week this week is The Carphone Warehouse Ltd v Martin [2013] UKEAT 0371_12_1202. This case concerns a claim for indirect disability discrimination (under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995) and a claim for constructive dismissal.

  1. The facts in The Carphone Warehouse Ltd v Martin
  2. The law relating to constructive dismissal
  3. The Employment Appeal Tribunal’s judgment in The Carphone Warehouse Ltd v Martin
  4. Our specialist employment law solicitors’ thoughts on The Carphone Warehouse Ltd v Martin

The facts in The Carphone Warehouse Ltd v Martin

Mr Martin (“the Claimant”) commenced employment with the Carphone Warehouse (“the Respondent”) in June 2004 as a branch manager. He initially performed well in this post. In April 2008 a new regional manager was appointed. Mr Martin and Mr Scott appear to have personal and professional problems with one another. In October 2009 the Claimant became bankrupt. This had an effect on his ability to work in his position as he needed to have FSA authorisation to do so (and if he became bankrupt then this authorisation could apparently be removed). On 6 November 2009 the Claimant was suspended by Mr Scott for breach of the companies’ trade-in policies (he was apparently retaining mobile phones that were traded in). A disciplinary process ensued and was slightly delayed due to the obtaining of a report from the Claimant’s GP. Due to a mistake of the Respondent’s, the Claimant’s pay was withheld for the month of March 2012. The Claimant complained about this. On 6 April 2010 the Claimant submitted a 14-page grievance relating to Mr Scott’s behaviour and bullying and the fact that he was yet to receive a disciplinary hearing or a suspension letter. He also complained that the process was affecting his mental health. In July 2012 the Respondent again wrongly processed the Claimant’s payslip. The Respondent rectified this in August 2010 but the Claimant complained that these problems were again seriously affecting his mental health. On 9 August 2010 a finding to the disciplinary process was issued, with the Claimant being given a final written warning and demoted. There was a further dispute over the Claimant’s ability to practice (due to FSA regulations) and the Claimant was apparently threatened with further disciplinary action if he did not provide the Respondent with particular information (believed to be his certificate that he had been discharged from bankruptcy). The Claimant submitted his notice of termination on 31 October 2010 and made claims to the Employment Tribunal of direct disability discrimination, unlawful deduction from wages, indirect disability discrimination and constructive dismissal.

The Employment Tribunal found in the Claimant’s favour on both the indirect disability discrimination claim and the claim for constructive dismissal but dismissed the claims for unlawful deduction from wages and direct disability discrimination. The Respondent appealed this. The Claimant cross-appealed on a number of points.

The law relating to constructive dismissal

In order to succeed in a claim for constructive dismissal a Claimant must resign and demonstrate to the Employment Tribunal (on the balance of probabilities) that:

  1. The Respondent had engaged in conduct which could be deemed to be a fundamental breach of contract
  2. The breach of contract was sufficiently serious (both subjectively and objectively) to entitle the Claimant to resign
  3. The Claimant resigned (at least in part) because of the breach and not for any other reason; and
  4. The Claimant did not delay too long in resigning from their employment after the breach took place

The Employment Appeal Tribunal’s judgment in The Carphone Warehouse Ltd v Martin

The Employment Appeal Tribunal upheld the Respondent’s appeal against the finding of indirect disability discrimination but dismissed the Respondent’s appeal against the finding of constructive dismissal. The EAT found that in relation to the indirect disability discrimination claim, the Employment Tribunal had incorrectly deemed the Respondent’s deduction of pay and failure to deal with the disciplinary process to constitute a “practice” (and that a PCP was therefore established). The EAT found that these issues could not in fact constitute a practice and the claim for indirect disability discrimination was therefore dismissed. The EAT further found that the Respondent’s conduct in deducting the Claimant’s pay, failing to deal with the disciplinary process in a timely manner, and threatening further disciplinary action in October 2009 was sufficient to establish a fundamental breach of contract (of the implied term of mutual trust and confidence) and that the Employment Tribunal’s findings in this respect was not perverse (and therefore could not be subject to challenge).

Our specialist employment law solicitors’ thoughts on The Carphone Warehouse Ltd v Martin

Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment law solicitor at Redmans, commented that “this case demonstrates that employers should be extremely careful to carry out disciplinary processes in a timely and efficient manner. A failure to do so may allow the employee to resign from their employment and claim constructive dismissal – even if the employer had perfectly reasonable grounds for disciplining the employee in the first instance”.

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. Redmans have offices in Richmond, Chiswick, Hammersmith, Fulham, Kingston, Wimbledon, Ealing, Kings Cross and Marylebone (meetings strictly by appointment only).

Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

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

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

4.62 Average

39 Reviews

Katelyn

The solicitor communicated well with me and made sure I understood everything. He did everything needed for my settlement agreement and tried to get the wording changed in my favour too.

Posted 3 days ago

Anonymous

Redmans provided excellent services

Posted 3 days ago

Sibel U

Excellent service

Posted 3 days ago

Peter S

I was very happy with the level of advise I received from Caroline Lewis, and a very professional service fron Chris, The advice given really helped me and I was comfortable to sign the settlement agreement following my redundancy. I would be more than happy to recommend your services to others.

Posted 3 days ago

Derek S

I very much appreciated the help provided by Redmans in the settlement agreement agreed with my former employer.

Posted 4 days ago

Waseem M

It was the first ime I used Redmans Solicitors and to be honest, thety were amazing. Rana Tandon and Chris Hadrill were out of this world. They made the process as simply and smooth as can be. Thank you so much for all your support over the last week.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Anonymous

Worked very quickly considering right deadlines - and gave great advice

Posted 2 weeks ago

Anonymous

Redmans provided me with excellent advice at a very stressful time. The calm, confident and extremely professional manner in which my solicitor handled my case made the issue much easier to deal with and I was very impressed with the level of service I received.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Anonymous

Immediate response to my initial enquiry. Very clear throughout the whole process and thorough and great communication which worked really well during quite a stressful time. Chris Hadrill was extremely helpful and made me feel at ease.

Posted 3 months ago

Nick D

I received a very professional service from Chris. The advice given really helped to leave me comfortable to sign the settlement agreement following my redundancy. Would be happy to recommend your services to others.

Posted 3 months ago

Anonymous

Excellent service from initial contact to deliverables.

Posted 4 months ago

Virginia K

Yes, Chris Hadrill answered all my questions and I feel more confident with my current situation

Posted 4 months ago

Anonymous

Chris Hadrill was referred to me my a friend of mine. I found the service to be efficient, quick and like Chris's direct approach to my work. Well done and thank you Chris!

Posted 4 months ago

Andy W

Very prompt & structured service that helped put my mind at rest at a difficult time

Posted 4 months ago

Anonymous

I have found Redmans to be very helpful, diligant and thoroughly professional when dealing with them, plus they gone that extra mile for me !

Posted 4 months ago

Anonymous

Thank you to Chris Hadrill at Redmans for his assistance in settling my case. I contacted him at the very last minute and he was happy to help me and managed to get everything done on time and in a very professional manner. I will definitely be happy to work with him again .

Posted 4 months ago

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 8 months ago

Steven

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

Posted 8 months 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 8 months 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 8 months ago

Anonymous

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

Posted 9 months ago