Mr Judge earned approximately 17,000. In 2001, an employee earning approximately 35,000 was recruited from a sister company to perform a similar role and Judge was told that his pay would be brought roughly into line. At the office Christmas party in 2001, Judge’s manager promised him that within two years he would be on the same pay scale as the new recruit. Judge was awarded significant pay increases, but following a rise in 2003 he resigned as he was still not on the higher rate.
Judge claimed constructive unfair dismissal, but his complaint was rejected at the Employment Tribunal. Judge appealed, saying a contract was formed at the Christmas party and that Crown was, therefore, in breach of its contractual obligation to ensure that he was on the same pay scale as the higher paid employee.
The Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) held that the conversation at the office Christmas party did not amount to an enforceable promise. Therefore, when the ‘promise’ was not kept, Judge had no basis on which to claim constructive unfair dismissal. The EAT found that Crown’s commitment was to move towards parity in earnings and that the time had not come where it could be said that there was a fundamental breach of contract.