Lovingangels Care Ltd v Mhindurwa [2023] EAT 65

Appeal by respondent against decision they had unfairly dismissed the claimant during the pandemic and raising the question of whether that event should alter the legal analysis to be applied.

The claimant was a live-in carer. The person for whom she cared went into hospital and the respondent could not find another patient for the claimant because the difficulties caused by pandemic. She was therefore dismissed as redundant. The employment tribunal held that her dismissal was unfair because the respondent did not consider the possibility of putting the claimant on furlough for a period to allow time to see how the situation would change.

In this judgment HHJ Tayler dismisses the appeal stating at [2]

"While most people were, to a greater or lesser extent, affected by the Coronavirus pandemic, employment tribunals have over the years had to consider claims of unfair dismissal in circumstances that were extraordinary for a particular employer and its employees. A place of work burning down, or the loss of a key customer are exceptional circumstances of the type that the law of unfair dismissal has had to grapple with since its inception, and in respect of which general guidance is not of great assistance. Even in the case of an event such as the Coronavirus pandemic that has very significant and widespread effects, the circumstances of individual employers will be varied, and must be considered when determining claims of unfair dismissal."

In this case the employment tribunal had properly applied the law partly as "the whole purpose of the furlough scheme was to avoid lay off of employees because of the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic"


Published: 15/06/2023 14:40

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