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

    Testimonials

    4.79 Average

    273 Reviews

    Mark M

    I found Redmans very easy to work with. Mel was very responsive, her advice led to an improved settlement. . Recommended.!

    Posted 1 day ago

    Anonymous

    Fantastic service. I would recommend Redmans to anyone who needed a Solicitor. The communication was second to none and consistent clear guidance was given.

    Posted 3 days ago

    Anonymous

    Everyone I dealt with at Redmans were professional, empathetic & always responded promptly and helped make the transition as smooth & efficient as possible for me. If you need legal advice, don’t hesitate & contact the team.

    Posted 5 days ago

    Anonymous

    Sacha was incredibly helpful and professional. Timely and accurate advice at a time I most needed it. I was extremely impressed and grateful.

    Posted 5 days ago

    Sue W

    The people at Redmans talk to you with respect and make you feel like they take your situation personal. They clearly care and are extremely professional. I have recommended Redmans to many people.

    Posted 3 weeks ago

    Anonymous

    Redmans Solicitors were consistently prompt, efficient and professional from the start of my reaching out to them for support in relation to contentious negotiations of an employment matter that continued for almost two months resulting in a positive settlement agreement. Chris Hadrill was diligent, thorough, empathetic and objective in his advice and guidance, showing deep and broad knowledge of the law and legal processes plus extensive practical experience in handling complex matters, resulting in clear and pragmatic advice in ambiguous circumstances that resulted in a very good outcome. I fully recommend Chris Hadrill and Redmans Solicitors! I have made this review anonymous purely because of the confidentiality obligations in the settlement agreement concluded.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Michelle W

    Redmans solicitors provided legal support and advice for a settlement agreement. Excellent customer service, very professional. The senior associate solicitor kept me updated throughout the process, showed empathy and the agreement was signed-off / completed within the agreed timeline.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Mark W

    Redmans Solicitors were extremely professional and helpful! Chris Hadrill handled my case and was an amazing help! His guidance, advice and understanding to my redundancy settlement were always clear, concise and very helpful and I am very grateful to him, and glad I found Redmans to help with my settlement. I highly recommend them!

    Posted 1 month ago

    Alison M

    Very happy with the advice I received

    Posted 2 months ago

    Margaret A

    I found everything about the company to be extremely professional and efficient. During my initial contact with Chris, he listened well and was reassuring, so I felt confident that my case would be well handled. Caroline was excellent at explaining all the legal points and answering my questions, as well as being very supportive and understanding throughout the process. I would definitely recommend this company.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Sanja K

    Very efficient and professional service.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Anonymous

    I found the advice I was given by Redmans Solicitors to be clear and useful and found the solicitor on my case to be both knowledgeable and approachable.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Karen T

    Great service. Thank you.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Anonymous

    Excellent service from Chris & Mel Chin. The best outcome was achieved from the redundancy process. They were extremely thorough, listened carefully and acted swiftly on my behalf. I highly recommend Redmans Solicitors

    Posted 2 months ago

    Shanine M

    Excellent service, thank you so much!

    Posted 2 months ago

    Anonymous

    I found Caroline and Chris very Helpful and provided excellent service. Caroline especially provided great legal advice and made me feel at ease with the whole process. I would highly recommend them. Thank you!

    Posted 2 months ago

    Gayle B

    Excellent company very professional would definitely recommend

    Posted 2 months ago

    Alex K

    Redmans provided an excellent service, timely and effective. Will definitely recommend.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Anonymous

    Great job done on my employment law

    Posted 2 months ago

    Dominica S

    Caroline & Chris were very prompt and efficient.Very happy with the service and will definitely recommend Redmans Solicitor to everyone !

    Posted 2 months ago

    Sandra K

    If you are looking for a group of solicitors who are Professional, Caring and on point, then look no futher than Redmans. I was literally hand held through out my case. Can not find fault with this company, very happy with the result and the service i received. Would highly recommend Redmans.

    Posted 2 months ago