Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

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

redmans-blog-analysisIn the case of Edwards v Bramble Foods Ltd ET/20601556/2015 the Employment Tribunal held that an employer had fairly dismissed an employee when she consistently refused to work overtime on Saturday mornings and became disruptive.

Mrs Edwards worked for Bramble Foods Ltd (“Brambles”), a premium British food manufacturer and wholesaler. It employs about 75 people.

The ‘Christmas period’ from mid-September to late December is Brambles’ busiest period in the year, when it produces, packs and sells goods and hampers for Christmas. All of its employees are expected to work extra hours in order to ensure that all orders are fulfilled on time, with the employees’ contracts of employment containing a clause stipulating that Brambles could on occasion ask them to work such further hours as may be reasonably required.

Prior to 2014 the working of overtime was voluntary. From 2014 onwards the employer changed its practices and formalised overtime, requiring employees to specify which Saturday mornings they could work in September and October. Mrs Edwards refused to work any overtime in 2014, arguing that she had care commitments.

In June 2015 Brambles provided its staff with a form and asked them to indicate their availability to work between four and eight Saturday mornings in September and October (2015). Only Mrs Edwards and one other employee refused to work any overtime, but the other employee subsequently agreed to work overtime.

Mrs Edwards continued to refuse to work overtime, despite a number of informal discussions with management about the issue. It was explained to her that it was necessary for employees to undertake overtime due to the workload and that it was unfair for her to expect other employees to take up this burden but not her. Mrs Edwards stated that she would not work overtime on Saturday mornings as this was when she spent time with her husband.

On 3 August 2015 matters came to a head when Mrs Edwards reacted angrily following an informal meeting, banging her fist on a desk, shouting and swearing. A number of her colleagues complained about her behaviour, and a couple asked to be moved away from Mrs Edwards due to the fact that she was swearing and continually complaining about Saturdays. Mrs Edwards was sent home for three days on 5 August 2015 and asked to come back to work with a better attitude.

A further meeting was held on 1 September 2015 but Mrs Edwards still refused to work Saturdays. On 14 September 2015 a colleague raised a formal grievance regarding Mrs Edwards’ behaviour at work, alleging that Mrs Edwards was mocking those employees who had agreed to work Saturdays and that she was ‘boasting’ about being able to have a lie-in on Saturdays.

On 29 September 2015 Mrs Edwards was invited to a disciplinary hearing to address allegations that she had refused reasonable management instructions and that she had engaged in inappropriate and unacceptable conduct towards a fellow employee. A disciplinary hearing took place on 7 October 2015, at which the allegations were covered and Mrs Edwards continued to refuse to work Saturdays.

On 13 October 2015 Mrs Edwards was dismissed for gross misconduct.

Mrs Edwards brought a claim to the Employment Tribunal for unfair dismissal.

The Employment Tribunal held that Brambles’ dismissal of Mrs Edwards was fair, notwithstanding some minor procedural flaws in the disciplinary process.  The Tribunal held that it was reasonable for Brambles’ management to expect Mrs Edwards to share some of the overtime burden, as required by her contract of employment, and that she had no legitimate reason for doing so. The Tribunal also held that Mrs Edwards had become disruptive to her colleagues and that there could have been serious consequences if Brambles had not dismissed her.

Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “The Tribunal praised the employer in this case for the patience with which it dealt with the disaffected employee – a lesson from this case is that employers should make some attempts to resolve disputes in the workplace but that, should the employer then take further steps to dismiss an employee because of a dispute, employers have a fairly free rein to take steps which are beneficial for their businesses.”

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

    262 Reviews

    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 1 day ago

    Karen T

    Great service. Thank you.

    Posted 2 days 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 3 days ago

    Shanine M

    Excellent service, thank you so much!

    Posted 4 days 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 5 days ago

    Gayle B

    Excellent company very professional would definitely recommend

    Posted 6 days ago

    Alex K

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

    Posted 6 days ago

    Anonymous

    Great job done on my employment law

    Posted 6 days ago

    Dominica S

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

    Posted 1 week 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 1 week ago

    Anonymous

    I found dealing with Redmans a pleasure. I got to speak to someone quickly, the advice was profferred promplty and the service was not 'pushy'. In addition, the administration was excellent. What more could you ask for?

    Posted 1 week ago

    ALISDAIR L

    Redmans did a brilliant job regarding my redundancy agreement. I miss read an extra charge which wasnt the case so doing a new review to clarify. I would recommend Redmans for any employment law issues you may have.

    Posted 1 week ago

    Christos G

    Great legal advice and quick correspondence. Very supportive and helpful through the entire process. Thank you Redmans!

    Posted 1 week ago

    Anonymous

    Chris Hadrill advised me on a redundancy settlement agreement. He was very responsive, easy to deal with and gave me good advice at a stressful time.

    Posted 1 week ago

    Zara M

    Rana at Redmans gave me support and confidence I needed to ensure a wrong, was put right. I couldn’t recommend enough.

    Posted 1 week ago

    Stuart T

    Chris provided an excellent service, he was efficient and friendly and I had no doubt when recommending him to my colleagues

    Posted 1 week ago

    Anonymous

    Excellent service, prompt responses. Chris Hadrill provided excellent and efficient service.

    Posted 1 week ago

    Jane M

    Wonderful solicitors who really listen to you and who are there to offer expert legal advice but they also have a personal touch and you really feel supported both from a legal aspect but also from a personal aspect. They really listen .

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Anonymous

    They dealt with my case professional and swiftly. The advise was helpful and enabled me to make the right decisions in my case.

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Anonymous

    I have received a great legal advice from Redmans on a very short notice. I’d highly recommend them.

    Posted 2 weeks ago

    Michael D

    Excellent, efficient advice - the whole matter was concluded with minimum fuss and an excellent outcome.

    Posted 2 weeks ago