Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

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

In the case of Sparks v DB Cleaners and Launderers Ltd (ET/1601082/2019) the Employment Tribunal held that an employee who was given the ultimatum of ‘resign or be dismissed’ had been unfairly dismissed by her employer.

The facts in Sparks v DB Cleaners and Launderers Ltd

Mrs Sparks (the “Claimant”) commenced employment as an administrator from 1 October 2015 with DBS Cleaners and Launderers Ltd (the “Respondent”).  The Respondent company was taken over by another company (the “Priory”) that year.

The Respondent company unilaterally reduced the Claimant’s annual salary by £3,000. She was given compensation of free use of the cleaning facilities by a manager, which she had taken advantage of from 2015 to 2018.  The Respondent later argued the manager had no authority to offer 100% discounted cleaning as this was only a perk given to directors in the company. It was suggested by the Respondent she had dishonestly obtained this free discount. The Employment Tribunal (ET) dismissed this argument as her use of this service had been fully recorded and no objections raised during the relevant period (2015-2018).

The Respondent began disciplinary investigations into the Claimant’s use of the discount but these were abandoned. After the investigations certain responsibilities were taken away from the Claimant and given to other members of staff.

The Claimant was called to a meeting on 14 February 2019 and asked to sign a document headed `without prejudice negotiations’ before providing her with any information.  The Claimant was assured there was no risk to her job in signing the document.  She was asked how much she would be prepared to accept in order to leave her job. The Claimant insisted on a Google search to clarify what she would be entitled to in terms of payment for statutory redundancy which resulted in a calculation of £3,800. The Respondent’s representative offered less that half this amount (£1,500) plus her wages (later increased to £2,000) but she was not prepared to accept this amount and wished to remain in her job.  She was then told if she did not accept the offer she would leave with nothing.

The Claimant left after accepting the slightly increased offer of £2,000.  However, six weeks later she wrote to the Respondent to raise a grievance against what she described as her `dismissal’. This was rejected by the Respondent.  The Claimant lodged a claim at the ET for unfair dismissal.

The decision of the Employment Tribunal

The ET found that the Claimant had been unfairly dismissed. She had been given an ultimatum to either resign or be dismissed.  This was not a fair choice aimed at avoiding paying the Claimant a statutory redundancy payment.  The decision to  dismiss was procedurally unfair as no prior consultation had been entered into with the Claimant who had been misled as to nature of the discussions with the Respondent.  The Claimant was awarded £12,897.95 in total, comprised of

  • Basic Award: £3,894.21
  • Compensatory Award: £14,010.75
  • Pension Loss: £246.96
  • Loss of statutory rights: £400.00
  • 10% reduction: £1,465.77

Less sums received (£4,188.20)

Our solicitors’ comments on Sparks v DB Cleaners and Launderers Ltd

Chris Hadrill, a specialist employment solicitor at Redmans, commented on the case: “Employers should be aware that, if an employee is given an ultimatum of ‘resign or be dismissed’, there is a good chance that they will be dismissing the employee unfairly. Equally, employers should be careful – if they wish to enter into settlement negotiations – to ensure that they follow the correct process.”

The decision of the Employment Tribunal in Sparks v DB Cleaners and Launderers Ltd (ET/1601082/2019) can be found here.

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).

Tagged with →  

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

    4.81 Average

    324 Reviews

    Mark Q

    Five Stars I was most impressed by the attention, courtesy, speed and above all, professionalism in dealing with my Settlement Agreement. I would certainly have no problem in recommending this firm to anyone in need of their services.

    Posted 1 day ago

    Ade A

    I was surprisingly impressed by how Redmans Solicitors handle my case. From the moment I call them to the absolute end of my case, they always look after my best interest.

    Posted 3 days ago

    Malcolm P

    they were there when others were not

    Posted 1 week ago

    Anonymous

    Excellent service all the way through from start to finish. Really great support and guidance from the team, they secured the offer that I wanted. I can't recommend Redmans highly enough and will be sure to use their services again should the need arise.

    Posted 1 week ago

    Anonymous

    Efficient and quick service!

    Posted 3 weeks ago

    Karen B

    Quick response very helpful Issue raised dealt with very quickly

    Posted 3 weeks ago

    Carmen T

    Redmans give Great service and advice on reading contracts. They can explain all the solicitors jargon into words that you can understand. I received excellent service an I will use them again and again.

    Posted 3 weeks ago

    Anonymous

    Very grateful for Mel’s efforts in handling my case from start to finish which I would have found very stressful without it. She was very professional, friendly and we had a positive outcome. Highly recommend.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Nalin W

    Mel Chin was my Legal Executive when I engaged the services of Redmans Solicitors to help with a redundancy matter. She was incredibly approachable and professional from start to finish. Specially I have to mention regarding prompt reply to all my email queries, It was super quick. I would thoroughly recommend Mel Chin. Many Thanks

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    I'd highly recommend Redmans Solicitors. Mel was very helpful and assisted me throughout my case.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Anonymous

    Sacha was very thorough and very helpful, with great advice on when to act and when to wait on my case.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Anonymous

    I have been very pleased with the support I got from Redmans Solicitors on my case with my employer. Caroline has always helped me to put things in perspective and showed me different scenarios ultimately to help me taking the right decision. She was very professional and always available when I needed, and at the same time also emphatic which I found also really important to establish a strong relationship. Will definitely recommend!

    Posted 2 months ago

    Anonymous

    Prompt and efficient response to my enquiries. Excellent negotiating skills with my employer which considerably improved the terms of my settlement agreement.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Anonymous

    Very quick and professional service , Rana was very helpful

    Posted 2 months ago

    James G

    Very professional, knowledgeable and kept me informed at every stage of my case. I would highly recommend Redmans.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Pravina P

    Chris was really good and help solve my issues with current company. I would recommend him to anyone.

    Posted 2 months ago

    Paul L

    Sacha was extremely helpful in my matter. I would not hesitate you use Sacha or Redmonds again. Everyone was very helpful.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Monique N

    I had Mel Chin helping me with a settlement and she was very professional and reliable throughout my case. Mel provided me with a good understanding of what was happening and gave suggestions on routes I could take. My case was resolved and closed promptly although the opposing side were very difficult to deal with. A very big thank you to Mel and Chris.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Jackie C

    My first ever experience needing the services of a solicitor; cannot speak highly enough of Mel and Chris’s personable, reassuring and straight to the point advice in dealing with my settlement agreement. They put me at ease during an extremely stressful time. I am equally as happy with the outcome, as l am their professional services.

    Posted 3 months ago

    ""

    Really happy with the service. All very efficient. Mel rattled through things very fast, however was great whenever I needed to stop and ask a question! Would definitely return to Redmans if I ever needed Legal advice.

    Posted 3 months ago

    Peter F

    Very helpful and clear advice, would highly recommend.

    Posted 3 months ago