Case round-up by Eversheds 020 7919 4500
That's settled then… or is it?
Whiley v Christopher Clarke Workshops Limited, EAT, [11 March 2003]
Informal agreements can often be difficult to prove and, therefore, equally difficult to enforce.
Mr Whiley sustained a back injury and was eventually signed off work by his GP. After he had been absent for approximately two months, his manager spoke to his GP. The manager updated the company's managing director of that conversation. However, instead of referring to a likely three-month absence, the manager misleadingly informed him that Whiley would be off work for months and might not work again. As a result, Whiley was dismissed with immediate effect. He brought complaints of unfair dismissal and disability discrimination.
The tribunal found that the company's failure to follow any proper procedure was unfair. However, the claim for disability discrimination was dismissed on the basis the company could not have known that Whiley was "disabled". Having delivered its decision, the tribunal invited the parties to discuss a settlement, and the sum of £2,000 was agreed by handshake.
Nevertheless, Whiley still sought to appeal the tribunal's finding that there had been no discrimination.
Despite the company's protestations that the appeal should not be heard as the case had been compromised by the settlement, the EAT upheld the appeal. It found that the terms of the settlement had not been recorded or signed by the representatives. It also concluded that the agreed sum only related to the tribunal's finding that Whiley had been unfairly dismissed and was not "in full and final settlement". As such, he was not barred from pursuing his appeal and, having done so successfully, was entitled to further compensation.
No time for part-time?
Sibley v The Girls' Day School Trust, Norwich High School for Girls, EAT, [20 May 2003]
In recent months, even prior to the new flexible working rights, there have been many successful cases against employers who have refused part-time work. As this case demonstrates, however, while employers must give all such requests serious consideration, not every job is suited to that arrangement.
Ms Sibley was a teacher. Following a period of maternity leave, she asked to return to work part-time. While the school agreed to grant her req