Expiry of fixed-term contracts
We look at five recent cases in which employers have been found to have discriminated against employees who were pregnant or on maternity leave.
In Royal Surrey County NHS Foundation Trust v Drzymala, the Employment Appeal Tribunal considered the fairness of an employee's dismissal by her employer's decision not to renew her fixed-term contract, including the effect of the employer's compliance with the Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002.
The employment tribunal in this case concluded that it was open to an NHS trust to decide not to renew a consultant anaesthetist's fixed-term contract because it had recruited a number of permanent anaesthetists to take on the work.
The employment tribunal in this case concluded that it was not unfair for a university to decide against renewing an associate tutor's fixed-term contract because the work that he had been doing was taken over by permanent staff.
In Lancaster University v University and College Union  IRLR 4 EAT, the EAT held that the university failed to comply with its statutory obligations to consult collectively on the expiry of fixed-term contracts. The tribunal was also entitled to make a protective award of 60 days' pay.
The Court of Appeal has held that an employee who was employed under a series of fixed-term contracts and whose contract was terminated could bring a claim of unfair dismissal despite the fact that he was employed to work outside Great Britain. Territorial limitations to unfair dismissal rights should be modified where necessary to enable a right emanating from European law to be enforced.
In Adeneler and others v Ellinikos Organismos Galaktos  IRLR 716 the European Court of Justice has held that the objective reasons justifying the use of successive fixed-term contracts must relate to the particular employment in question.
In ABC News Intercontinental Inc v Gizbert EAT/0160/06, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has held that there was sufficient mutuality of obligation for a contract of employment to exist where an individual had an implied duty to consider in good faith whether to accept or refuse work.
In Webley v Department for Work and Pensions, the Court of Appeal holds that an employer's practice of refusing to renew fixed-term employment contracts once 51 weeks of service had elapsed was not unlawful under the Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002.
In Allen v National Australia Group Europe Ltd, the EAT holds that the tribunal was wrong to decline jurisdiction to hear a claim under the Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002.
Employment law cases: HR and legal information and guidance relating to the expiry of fixed-term contracts.
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