Case watch

Employment reference not negligent

When giving a reference, employers owe a duty of care to the employee and the prospective employer. A reference must be true, accurate and fair, and it must not give an unfair or misleading impression overall. On this basis, an employment reference was not unlawful when it stated that two complaints of sexual harassment had been made, the subject of the reference had been cautioned for both complaints and no further action resulted. Dike v Rickman and another (High Court)

Duty to make adjustments

An employer who made no assessment of how to assist an employee to overcome the effects of his disability was in breach of the duty under disability discrimination legislation to make reasonable adjustments. The employer should have considered devising a new position to allow for the employee’s disability. Southampton City College v Randall (EAT)

Inconsistent treatment did not equate to unfair dismissals

Two employees dismissed for gross misconduct were not unfairly dismissed, even though another employee guilty of similar misconduct in the past had not been dismissed. The employer’s decision was “within the band of reasonable responses”, and so the dismissals were fair. Enterprise Liverpool plc v Bauress (EAT)


Under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998, an employee must be subjected to a detriment “on the grounds that” they have made a protected disclosure. The statute protects disclosure but not other conduct by the employee, even if it is connected in some way to that disclosure. Bolton School v Evans (EAT)

Termination of employment and the role of Acas

Acas officers need not follow their own best practice to satisfy their statutory duty to promote a settlement. The requirements for settlements through Acas are less stringent than the requirements for compromise agreements under section 203(3) of the Employment Rights Act 1996. The employee is expected to take independent legal advice. Clarke & others v Redcar and Cleveland Borough Council and Wilson & others v Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council (EAT).

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