Case roundup

This
week’s case roundup

Changes
to attendance allowance unlawful
Bellfield & others v Aviation and Airport Services, unreported,
March 2001, EAT

Bellfield
and his colleagues were employed by A&S to provide services for disabled people
at Manchester Airport. Their remuneration was made up of a basic salary and
various allowances, including an attendance allowance which was paid subject to
full attendance each week. The remuneration fell short of the requirements of
the National Minimum Wage Act. A&S tried to negotiate a variation to the
contracts in order to comply with the Act but when the negotiations failed it
imposed unilateral changes to the attendance allowance. Bellfield brought a
successful tribunal claim for unlawful deduction of wages.

Dismissing
the appeal, the EAT found that the attendance allowance was a contractual right
and had to be paid if the condition of full attendance was met. It was not
payable merely at A&S’ discretion. Further, it was an “allowance” forming part
of Bellfield’s “remuneration” for the purposes of the Act. Consequently,
A&S’s unilateral variation of the attendance allowance amounted to a breach
of contract and constituted an unlawful deduction.

How
to find appropriate probationer comparator
Chief Constable of Yorkshire v Vento, EOR Digest no 47, EAT

Vento
brought a successful sex discrimination claim when, after completing her
probationary period she was not confirmed in post as a police constable. One of
the reasons for her non-appointment was that she had failed to follow
instructions during a particular incident and then misrepresented her account
of that incident. The tribunal found that there was no actual male comparator
but after considering how four other police constables had been treated in
comparable circumstances, it held that a hypothetical male probationer in the
same position would have been offered a permanent post.

West
Yorkshire Police appealed, arguing that the circumstances of those four police
constables were materially different from Vento’s and none could be considered
a true comparator. The EAT dismissed the appeal. It was not essential that an
exact, actual comparator had to be found. The tribunal had proceeded quite
properly when it took into account how similar cases had been treated in the
past and relied on those cases as evidence of how a hypothetical male
probationer would have been treated.

By
Eversheds

Comments are closed.