Richard Oulton acts for the Appellant in a General Vending Services Ltd v Schofield

Richard Oulton appeared for the successful Respondent / Appellant in this claim concerning the Claimant’s refusal to accept a variation in his employment contract following a TUPE transfer.

The claimant was one of a number of employees transferred under TUPE to a new employer, GVS. He was dismissed two years later when he refused to accept changes to his terms and conditions which GVS sought to introduce, including a reduction in salary of over £5,000 per annum. The tribunal held that he had been unfairly dismissed.

The EAT allowed an appeal on the basis that the tribunal did not properly apply the statutory test in s.98(4). When considering whether GVS had acted reasonably in dismissing the claimant, the tribunal should have looked at the matter in the round, and taken into account the fact that many other employees, who were also facing cuts in pay, had accepted the proposed terms and conditions. The tribunal had also erred by substituting its own opinion as to what was important to the claimant (reduction in holiday and sick pay).

This is a helpful case from an employer’s perspective. Even though the claimant had over 24 years of service, and was facing a very considerable cut to his pay, the EAT held that the tribunal should have considered GVS’s actions as a whole, taking into account what the other employees (and not just the claimant) thought of the proposals.

The full text of the judgment can be read here.

Richard has considerable expertise in all areas of employment law. He is the co-author of Disability Discrimination in Employment (OUP; 2009).