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. 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 first name (required)

    Your last name (required)

    Your email (required)

    Your telephone number (required)

    Brief details of your enquiry

    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

    4.78 Average

    214 Reviews

    Rebecca A

    I had a wonderful solicitor called Caroline who was so helpful and gave me all the information I need and explained everything in detail so I was crystal clear. Would highly recommend if you are in need of a solicitor!

    Posted 20 hours ago

    Gareth J

    Very efficient, helpful and pragmatic support from Caroline. Happy to work with my requirements / suggestions but also made some very good points which helped to achieve a higher settlement amount. Would highly recommend Caroline and Chris.

    Posted 1 day ago

    Ellen S

    Excellent, professional, timely. Friendly when I needed it most. Would recommend to anyone.

    Posted 1 day ago

    Ellen S

    Excellent, professional, timely. Friendly when I needed it most. Would recommend to anyone.

    Posted 1 day ago

    Cristina G

    Very professional and reliable. Timely answers, clear and to the point. Always looking for the best for their customers.

    Posted 2 days ago

    Rob T

    Very professional and on target - highly recommended.

    Posted 5 days ago

    Anonymous

    Very efficient service and knowledgeable solicitors.

    Posted 5 days ago

    Anonymous

    Excellent response time from first contact. Quick and easy completion of documents required. Fast response to any queries I made.

    Posted 5 days ago

    Anonymous

    Redmans Solicitors did a great job and were very professional at all times. Would definitely recommend.

    Posted 3 weeks ago

    Gary P

    All good advice, prompt and efficient

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Excellent advice and customer service.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Aneet G

    I would definitely recommend Redmans. Very impressed with service provided. They were extremely proactive in handling my case which made things easier for me. Provided sound advice and resolution. Special credit for this goes to Chris who dealt with my case with great determination and consideration.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Fern M

    Very efficient and friendly

    Posted 3 months ago

    Neville S

    A professional and friendly service, which I would highly recommend.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Daniel T

    Extremely helpful and made a bad situation much more manageable. Where other solicitors seemed disinterested in my situation Redmans immediately made me feel like it was a team effort to achieve a more favourable outcome

    Posted 3 months ago

    Paul T

    Excellent, quick and informative. Chris was a real star and gave me confidence during the uncertainty if a redundancy settlement.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Marina E

    Felt in very capable hands was listened to and given excellent advice. Would not hesitate to recomend and use again if needed.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Rosa B

    Fabulous service all round.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Anonymous

    Redmans were quick to respond to my enquiry and dealt with my case professionally and personably. I received sound advice and was put at ease by Chris Hadrill, Partner.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Alkhas K

    Excellent service.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Mathias G

    Contacted them regarding my end of employment agreement. Chris Hadrill dealt with it and was done and handed back to employer same day more than happy with there service.

    Posted 4 months ago