Crossley v Faithful and Gould Holdings Limited, CA, 16 March 2004

Workers’ economic well-being: Following a nervous breakdown, Crossley went on sick leave and never returned to work. He was entitled to full salary for up to six months absence. Pay thereafter was at the company’s discretion. He was also a member of the employer’s long-term disability insurance scheme, entitling him to certain benefits while he remained in the company’s employment.

He informed the company that he wished to apply for early retirement on health grounds. The company requested a resignation letter stating that he would retire with effect from 6 June 1997. Crossley sent this letter in July, but backdated it to May. He ceased being entitled to disability scheme benefits.  The insurers continued to pay benefits for a further year, but refused to continue after that date.

Crossley sued for breach of an implied term of the employment contract requiring it to take reasonable care for his economic well-being, by asking him to submit a resignation letter knowing that this would seriously prejudice his entitlement to benefits under the scheme, and by failing to warn him of the effect his resignation would have on his entitlement to benefits.

His claim and appeal were dismissed.  There was no duty to give staff financial advice on their benefits, or to generally safeguard their economic well-being.

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