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 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

4.78 Average

143 Reviews

Liz P

An excellent professional service was provided by Chris Hadrill and Mel Chin. Efficient and trustworthy - would highly recommend this company.

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

Redmans Solicitors were great. They were able to advice me quickly and efficiently! I would recommend them, as a good solicitors to use.

Posted 1 week ago

Anonymous

Extremely efficient. Mel made a difficult situation bearable and gave good clear guidance thoughout.

Posted 2 weeks ago

Anonymous

Thanks Chris and Sacha I was reassured throughout the process and a happy outcome

Posted 2 weeks ago

Edward F

Good and clear employment advice

Posted 2 weeks ago

Richard O

Chris at Redmans is my go-to legal expert when it comes to employee-related matters. His depth of knowledge, experience and considered approach to problems and their solutions is highly valuable. I cannot recommend Redmans highly enough.

Posted 4 weeks ago

Rory Y

They provide me with timely and clear advice!

Posted 1 month ago

Steven C

Redmans handled my settlement with my employer quickly, decisively and to a standard that I was very happy with. I would in similar circumstances contract them again

Posted 1 month ago

Deepthi K

Transparent. Clear communication. Prompt reply’s. Saves lot of time. Very satisfied.

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

Chris and Sacha did a fantastic job and negotiated a significant better settlement agreement

Posted 1 month ago

Dino D

I did get a very swift and god service from Redmans

Posted 1 month ago

Stephanie H

Clear, prompt, effective support from Chris which has been very much appreciated. Thank you again.

Posted 1 month ago

Anonymous

I would highly recommend Redmans Solicitors, the team were very friendly and my case was dealt with professionally and efficiently. Thank you!

Posted 2 months ago

Shane M

Very professional, welcome advice at a crucial time. Always available and reasonable cost.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

My case was relatively straight-forward. But even so, working with Redmans was easy, quick, professional & clear. Many thanks

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

The team were very helpful and answered all my questions regarding my redundancy. Initially I had a call with one of the representatives who escalated my request to a suitable employment solicitor. We arranged a call to discuss the settlement and she helped answer all my questions. We then mainly contacted through email which helped resolve the settlement quickly and convently. Thanks for all the help.

Posted 2 months ago

Djaouida T

You have good communication.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Fast and professional. A highly recommended company for employment related issues.

Posted 2 months ago

Anonymous

Very professional service.

Posted 2 months ago

Brittany

I was very grateful for Redmans to treat my case with respect and discretion. At the time, I was very new to London and it was meaningful to have someone on my side and win the case for me. Without any doubt, I would definitely recommend Redmans Solicitors to anyone who is in need of it.

Posted 10 months ago

Jake L

Chris is very professional and calm. Very attentive and patient, been a positive experience having Chris represent me, and would recommend him.

Posted 11 months ago